Why not to start a business…

October 19th, 2021 | Rebecca's Spotlight

Here is my very brief intro to this journal. A bank’s safeguarding department lost some paperwork. Apparently, this is my fault, so they locked down our account for a few weeks. To make things a bit more complicated, they also decided to cancel all our direct debits and standing orders. If it wasn’t bad enough dealing with a safeguarding department, try explaining to every business supplier that you haven’t cancelled payments, that you still want to pay them and then attempt to set up every single direct debit again!

Today, Tuesday 19 October, a certain blue bank rang the office six times. My colleague keeps saying to them Rebecca is busy she will call you later. On entering the office this morning, she says the bank is ringing again I am sure it’s a con; it’s a noisy line with all kinds of sounds in the background, and I can hardly understand them. Why do they keep ringing when I have said you will call back? On the last call, she advised them to stop calling as we keep getting calls and said again Rebecca is busy, she will call you back. They ring again. Of course, they do.

I tell her I spoke to someone from the blue bank last week, and all I could hear was buses beeping in the background and shouting and talking. It gave me no confidence that my details were secure in that environment.

To stop the calls, I pause my work and get my invoice file. I find an invoice and call the number on the invoice. A recorded voice tells me to hang up and ring their new 0800 number to save money. I call the number and speak to a nice and helpful lady. It’s a quiet line and sounds professional. It takes me a long time to get through security. Please tell me your name, full name, then the numbers from the postal code, then the first digit from the sort code, then the last digit from the sort code, now the first digit from the account number, the third digit from the account number, now the final digit of the account number. Hooray, I have passed security. I explain about all the calls and how our bank cancelled the direct debit, not me. I ask if they have received my signed direct debit, which I have emailed twice and posted. She says no. She speaks rather quickly giving me another email address I was meant to send it to and advises me to call another blue bank department who will help.

I call another department. It’s not a quiet line. It doesn’t sound professional, but at least I am through to someone. I am told by the man on the phone my name isn’t on the account. I become frustrated, having just hung up to another one of their departments where my name was down, and I passed security. In a rather frustrated tone, I tell the man that there appears to be an error as I am the person who signed up for the blue bank, I am authorised to sign for the business, and I am the only person they will ever reach here. I explain we have been hassled by calls all day. He says they will call back tomorrow. I point out that they will get me on the phone if they call back, and he informs me that they then won’t speak to me. I suggest them calling would therefore appear to be rather pointless and lacks common sense. By this point, my colleague is staring at me in disbelieve listening to this phone call. My head is in my hands.

I explain that apparently, my signed direct debit form has not been received. He will not confirm or deny this because my name isn’t down. I understand. I explain that apparently, we owe them money, although no invoice has been received from them via email but I want to pay what we owe. He says he can take payment. I then point out it’s interesting that my name isn’t down, that he can’t discuss the account, but he can take card details. I don’t give our card details to him.

As my email address is on their system, I suggest he asks someone to email me with what I owe them so I can see what it’s for and then make a bank payment.

I told him that someone has clearly deleted my name from the account for our business record even though the other blue bank department has my details down. I said it is their error to resolve, not mine. I think I also said they should have one record with everything on for each client. I also said they could ring every day, and the only person they will ever get is me, so they need to find a way to resolve things.

The call ends. A couple of hours later and no email has been received.

Nothing is resolved and around one hour, maybe an hour and a half of my working day is wasted.

I ring Marten to talk about my latest rant. He suggests I document it all as it’s unbelievable and would be interesting for some people. I told Marten last week that my advice to my children is not to start a business nowadays as the world has gone mad. Companies have got too big. The departments don’t speak to each other. Even though we are paying companies to supply us with services, it feels as though they think they are doing us a favour sometimes.

I have a straightforward solution in my business. Each client has a file. In that file is every order and payment they have made, and more importantly, they have a com log. In this com log, I record emails, phone calls, text messages and letters. When a client gets in touch, any team member can look in the com log and get an idea of what is happening.

Also, another simple solution is we can find a client by their name, email address, phone number or any part of their address.

Last week another bank, I will call it Midland in this blog, told me they can’t search for our business record by my email address. They can only search on a company name or postal address. I told them that our company name, address and phone number is on nearly every email I send to them but apparently, that doesn’t help.

Why do things have to be so hard? Why are big businesses wasting so much money being so inefficient? It all comes down to communication.

Simple – clear – communication.