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Top Security Tips for Calling Your Bank Customer Service Centre

Updated on June 14, 2011

Pain free calls to your bank

Top Tips for Calling Your Bank & Insurance Company - In this day and age, we all have to at sometime call your bank or you insurance company for advice, pay a bill or open or close an account. The very mention of call centre puts people on the wrong foot even before they have called. People just don’t like call centres as they expect bad customer service from what they have heard or previous encounters. Yet, the people on the other end of the phone are human too.

They are there to help you. They are not looking to get into an argument with you. They just want pleasant day at work the same as you and me. However, with a little of preparation before you next call a financial institution, will ensure that both you and the client support specialist on the other end of the phone have a great call.

The Identification Process is Key :

Unlike calling your satellite company or online store, financial institution have to be extremely careful who they talk to and how much information they give out. They hold our money, our savings and pensions. You may only have few dollars/pounds or millions in your bank account, but the call centre staff treat you all the same. They need to identify you before they can talk to you. Many people get extremely frustrated with this, but they are protecting your money and savings. How would you like the information given out to every fraudster that ring up, or perhaps to one of your relations you don’t like? The identification process is key, but if you are prepared in advance it will be easy.

Your Mother’s Maiden Name :

The call centre staff don’t know you, and if they do, they still have to take you though the security checks in any case. They will ask you a series of questions design to ascertain who you are. They may range from a couple of questions to several. The usual well known ones are your date of birth, address, telephone numbers and your mother’s maiden name. However, as the fraudster get more clever, the financial institution have to ask more complex questions such as: when did you open the bank account, previous addresses, who are the life assureds on your insurance, and how much did you invest or recent withdrawals from the account.

Can You Remember You Date of Birth? :

You need to be prepared for these questions. Have all your details right in front of you ready before you call. This way what ever questions they ask, you will have the answers ready. But remember, one wrong answer and you are out - no second chance. It’s nothing personal, they are just protecting your interests. You can beg as much as you like, but they will have to finish the call. You will be surprised how many people forget even simple details like date of birth or postcode. Have them ready in front of you.

Call Centre Six-Sense :

Now, call centre staff develop a six-sense for who is on the other end of the line, even after a few seconds. They get a feel for a caller and more often or not tell if they are the genuine client or not. If they get suspicious, they will start asking you further details about your bank account, investment or life assurance policy. Again, its nothing personal, it’s to protecting your money. Many people try and call on behalf of their parents or sick relation. Your bank or you insurance company can not give out information to a third party, even if it is your mother, to another person regardless of the connection to that person. You are wasting time and money asking, the information will not be provided under data protection laws.

Have You Got a Power of Attorney? :

If you hold a power of attorney over that person, and the financial institution has a copy, then you will get the information you require. A lot of call centres will talk to you providing they have identified the bank account owner or policyholder over the phone first, and that person has given verbal permission for you to talk to their bank etc. Remember, nearly all call centres have recorded lines as proof.

Don't Vent Your Anger over the Phone

Mr Angry on the Line :

Call centre staff have the right to terminate the call if you get too aggressive and start swearing. They will give you a warning that they are going to terminate the call. Don’t call back straight away after having your call terminated, as they will be expecting you, and will be ready for you. The word gets around quick that there has been an angry caller on the line. You can ask to speak to the supervisor or manager, but they will only tell you exactly the same thing as the call centre staff, and you could get told off for the way you spoke to another human being too. If you do have a grievance, and need to speak/shout at somebody, it is probably better to ask for the Customer Relations department as they can deal with you problem easier.

Away From Their Desks :

Often you will call want to speak to a certain person in the bank or insurance company, and you will be told that person is either, away from their desks, on another call or training or in a meeting. This is usually not a ploy to put you off, this person you wish to speak with is on training, on the phone already, or simply taking a comfort break - we all have to go. Don’t get angry if you can’t speak to that person, and often or not, the call centre staff can answer your enquiry.

Service Standards Blues :

Another area that causes frustration is the amount of time the bank or insurance company takes to process your enquiry or claim. They have set service standards that they have to work to. Remember, your enquiry is one of hundreds that have to be answered in order as this makes it fair for everybody.

The fax and e-mail is fantastic method of almost instant communication. However, the sender now expects an instant reply too. Many callers ring up just after sending an e-mail and expect a reply there and then. The call centre staff can advise you on how long it will take to for your enquiry to be actioned. When there has been bad weather or industrial strikes always factor in a couple of days extra for your letter to get through the post before you call and start to shout.

Next time you call a Financial Call Centre, remember it’s another human on the other end of the phone. The nicer you are to them, the better the customer service you will receive. You need to give, to receive..

Dos & Don’ts of Financial Call Centre :

Do remember you are talking to another human being

Do remember to have all you details in front of you before calling

Do send a letter of complaint instead of being angry down the phone

Do remember that people do take comfort breaks and will be away from their desks

Don’t call when you are really angry - your call can be terminated

Don’t get annoyed if you fail the identification process - they are there to protect your money

Don’t call on behalf of a family member - data protection means that they cannot give out information to a third party

Don’t expect an instant answer from a fax or e-mail that you sent five minutes ago.

Thank you for reading this, and enjoy the rest of your day….

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    • Simone Smith profile image

      Simone Haruko Smith 7 years ago from San Francisco

      Hahaa, I never thought about it before, but financial call centers are a HUGE part of dealing with finances! This is a fabulous issue to address and I am glad you've provided such helpful tips!