Monday, 5 December 2005

Broken Branch Locator

I am currently filling out a direct debit form. In the form, like in all direct debit forms, they require the full address of my branch, information that I never have with me because HSBC claim that everything can be done from any branch and the only place where I have this full address is on my cheque book that I never, ever use. So, seeing that we are in the age of the Internet and that everything can supposedly be done online, I go to HSBC's web site to check the address of my branch. Once there, I need about 10 minutes to find the branch locator application which is reachable by going through the Contact us section and clicking through a couple of vaguely related links. So far so good. I'm only mildly annoyed because I seem to remember a direct obvious link from the home page. Then I click on the nice map of the UK until I narrow it down to OL postcodes and there at the top of the list is Ashton-under-Lyne, the branch I'm looking for. I click and I get:

There is no HSBC branch in Ashton-under-Lyne.

How did that happen? And when? Were they all abducted by aliens while I was sleeping? Did they close the branch recently but only half updated their branch locator? The most likely explanation is that their branch locator is simply broken. By that time I am quite annoyed as I've been trawling through their web site for a good 15 minutes in search of information that should be easy to find. Luckily, I went through the Contact us section before so I click on the Feedback section and explain my problem:

I have had an account with your Ashton-under-Lyne branch for 11 years so I am quite sure of its existence. However, when I went to the HSBC site to check the address of the branch, your branch locator claimed there was no branch in Ashton-under-Lyne. Note that this was after I had to navigate your web site in inventive ways as there is no obvious link to the branch locator from the front page. I do understand that in this day and age, when everything can be done through the internet, less and less people need the details of their branch but it would still be a nice service to offer your customers.

Yours sincerely,

That won't help me fill in my direct debit form but it has vented the frustration and it might potentially get them to solve the problem. Or confirm to me that their branch doesn't exist anymore because they've all been abducted by aliens.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I just had the same problem. (Yes I'm also with Ashton branch) For such a big international bank they really do have a crappy website. I had to find the branch locator through Google for god's sake and once I found that, I discover that my branch doesn't exist... Guess I'll just have to trawl through my statements and cheque books instead. :(