Editorial: Customer Disservice

Sunday, September 15th, 2013

In the last month Belize Bank and Scotiabank both announced that they will no longer be open on Saturdays for customer service. Based on my unofficial survey this means that Atlantic Bank is the only bank (out of five on the island) that is open for a half day on Saturdays.

So can someone please tell me when are we working folks supposed to run our errands and take care of our banking? We ALL know how horrendous the lines are at the banks, and often an hour lunch break is not enough time to get there AND wait through the snail-paced line, let alone actually EATING lunch! And forget cashing your paycheck after work, most of the banks close as early as 3PM in the afternoon! Now that Saturday banking is out of the question just exactly when do we take care of our banking?

Not-So-Sorry-We-Are-ClosedAt least the banks had the decency to publicize the change in their hours by running ads in The San Pedro Sun, unlike others who just inconsiderately surprised their customers like Bowen & Bowen/Crystal Water did several weeks ago. After loading my golf cart up on a Saturday morning for my monthly run to purchase water, beer and soda I met several like-minded folks at a locked warehouse where the poor security guard had the unpleasant task of telling irate customers that the distribution center was no longer open on Saturdays. I don’t know what made me madder, the fact that I had single-handedly loaded and bungee-corded several heavy cases of empty bottles and water jugs on to my cart just to take them for a Saturday morning ride or the fact that this business, who EVERYONE on the island from merchants to individuals depend on, thought so little of informing (and serving) their customers. For someone who works full time Monday through Friday, just when are they supposed to stock up on beverages? Especially when arranging for home deliveries means requiring someone to be there during those same businesses hours?

Of course running errands is not just limited to mere banking and buying water. For those who have a lunch hour each day at the standard noon till 1PM time, they can forget paying their electric bill, their water bill, their cable bill or taking care of business at BTL….because those offices are CLOSED from noon till 1PM. (Spare the lecture about online banking and mobile banking – not everyone has internet or can afford a smartphone to do so.)

I have to ask…whatever happened to customer service? Is it really so hard to alternate lunch schedules in order to keep an office open during the lunch hour? Do you think that since a bank doesn’t offer weekend hours they could MAYBE accommodate their customers by staying open even one hour later than 3PM?

It seems to me that customers are the LAST people considered when looking at a way to save a buck. I find it hard to believe that bank lobbies are sitting empty on Saturday mornings, and I find it hard to believe that I am the only person who would like to pay my utility bills over the lunch hour. Isn’t it just a tad insulting that these businesses can’t be bothered with accommodating us when all we are trying to do is give them money?

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