My pension from defense service gets credited to a nationalised bank a kilometer away from home, whose staff members have been very friendly. Helpful? Yes. At times they create situations forcing me to seek their help.
Using net banking, on 1st April 2011 I saw that the previous day the bank had deducted tax at source for my pension income. This was the first time they did so in 15 years. I had orally told the bank that I would pay advance taxes, which they had accepted and had not asked for any written declaration. Also, I had paid the advance taxes through the same branch, which the friendly staff knows.
Though the bank was closed for transactions on 1st April, the staff happily entertained me. They apologised for the inconvenience and asked me to give photo copies of bank challan receipts to prove that I had paid the advance taxes. I think that they would have the records of payments made through them. Entries in my passbook also show the amount paid as tax. However, I furnished the copies of receipts and they promptly reverted the tax deducted at source.
A postcard from the bank dated 31 March reached me after 5 days – asking me to contact them immediately regarding deduction of income tax at source, to be effected on 31 March! Politically correct.
Today’s friendly incidence:
On 26 April 2011 I gave a letter requesting to restore my commuted pension, by hand at the bank. Today, after more than a month, I asked about the status of the request. The officer who had taken my request remembers the request.
“If you have given an application, we would have forwarded it to our pension cell at Malleshwaram,” said the person on pension desk.
I asked, “Can you find the reference so that we can check the status?”
“We have references for the letters we send. But, we cannot find one for your request. Possibly you gave only one copy of the request and we had no office copy to retain. However, if you have given a request, we would have sent it.”
I move to the friendly manager asking “can you help?”
“Of course, we should have had the reference. As we do not have one, please give us another request, which we can forward again.”
I returned home, made fresh prints of the month-old request in duplicate and submitted to the bank. The process took me a little more than one non-productive hour.
At the bank, I like the warmth of the people and smile on their face. They have been trained to be customer friendly. I shall continue banking with them.
As the bank is customer-friendly, I wanted to be a friendly customer, and a helpful customer.
I told the manager, “Casually observing the way your people use the banking software, I have identified a few operations to simplify. If I observe closely and methodically, I could find more of such opportunities. I offer my help to simplify some of your operations after observing the workflow in detail.”
“I shall check with my staff if they need such help.”
“I can suggest improvement to the software that would simplify some operations and improve productivity of your staff. A software can improve with user involvement and feedback based on experience.”
“But, we do not make changes to the software.”
“I understand. You could suggest changes that you consider helpful in your operations.”
“Let me first ask the HO if they need such suggestions from me.”
Are Private Sectors Better?
In September 2009 I taught a course on Software Engineering related topics to participants from an international company. It was well received. In December 2010 the company asked me to conduct another course at their Delhi office on related topics in Jan 2011. The course was postponed twice and finally conducted in early May 2011. The participants were excellent, warm, and cordial. Arrangements for my travel, stay and food were done with great courtesy. I returned with very good feelings personally and professionally.
During my visit, I had given to the training coordinator a photocopy of my PAN card and a cancelled cheque that they needed for vendor qualification. A mail followed asking a statement on my letterhead giving all details of the bank, which is available on or can be extracted from the cheque leaf. The coordinator also had difficulty in qualifying as a trainer because my cheque leaf did not have my name printed on it. Then I sent a signed statement with the details of the bank and another cancelled cheque where I wrote my name and signed – as requested. I trust Indian Post and sent the copies through them. After ten days I get a mail asking for the documents urgently. I suspect that the company does not have a system to handle in-mail received by post as they are used with courier that gets delivered to the people directly.
I have now couriered another copy of the document with bank details and another cancelled cheque. It has been delivered. However, I do not have a letterhead and hope that I do not have to print one to satisfy the processes of one company.
Questions that arise –
- As I have taught there earlier, why verify my credentials again?
- If verification is still needed, why could they not do it from Dec 2010 till May 2011?
- Signed declaration of bank details that are available, expecting printed name on cheque leaf, etc. are tasks that do not add value.
Ironically a friendly, well meaning, brilliant person with doctorate in computer science coordinated this training. Think of the non-productive hours he would have spent on this.
What is process without purpose doing to us? What use is a process without spirit?