The Invisible Gandhian and the Hyper AGM!
One particular day during January 1992 BGR was quite busy attending several VIP customers in his cabin. Suddenly his telephone started ringing. He took the phone and came to know that it was from the AGM of RO. The following was the conversation:
AGM: I want to know the name of the clerk who asked a depositor to go to Post Office and bring a 10 paise revenue stamp to affix on the fixed deposit receipt for encashment.
BGR: Let me enquire, Sir.
AGM: I want to know the name of the person right now. I want to suspend him immediately!
BGR: I will check up and let you know, Sir.
AGM: I am giving you ten minutes time. If you do not let me know his name by then, I would place you under suspension! (Hangs up)
BGR had never heard such threatening expression from his superiors in his entire service. He was totally in shock. Then he realised that the AGM was well known for such brazen behavior, habits and biased nature. He consoled himself and kept his cool. He disposed of the VIP clients urgently and summoned the Accountant (lady) to his cabin. She was surprised to hear the allegation and told him that they have been trying to extend their best services and it was a pity that a complaint had been made about 10 paise revenue stamp. However, she could not remember any such instance.
BGR then told her to check up with the clerk Smt.Nanda. Nanda could recollect that about two months back a lady customer had come with her aged mother on a busy working day. She wanted to encash a fixed deposit (FD) for a small amount for which revenue stamp was needed. Normally FD Section itself used to keep stock of revenue stamps for such occasions. It had been exhausted on that day. Nanda then made enquiries with other departments in the branch but unfortunately they also had no stock. The lady customer saw her searching for something and came to know that the required revenue stamp was not available at the branch. She then asked her where else it would be available and was told that it was available in the nearby Post Office. Then the lady asked her mother to sit in the branch, went to the Post Office, got the revenue stamp and encashed the FD and left the branch along with her mother. There was neither a complaint nor any dissatisfaction expressed by the depositor.
Nanda was an efficient clerk and was excellent in customer service. A married lady, she had a very pleasing personality. Even during rush hours, she would keep her cool and would not give any scope for complaints. Even on a first impression one could form that opinion on her.
BGR then asked the Accountant to find out urgently the date of transaction and also the name in which the deposit was held. She found out that the depositor was the mother of one Mrs.Devaiah who was working at Canara Bank Relief and Welfare Society in Banashankari. BGR telephoned to AGM and told him that according to the Section such a situation had happened some two months back and he would get the full information and get back to him at the earliest. The AGM was angry and told BGR to give the feedback without loss of much time. Immediately after business hours in the morning, BGR along with the Accountant and clerk Nanda went to CBR & Welfare Society and met Mrs.Devaiah. BGR told her that the bank seems to have received a complaint that when she visited the branch some two months ago, she was asked to go to Post Office and get the revenue stamp. She recollected the incident. But she could not understand why they had come to her now even though she had not given any complaint! She told BGR that both the Accountant and Nanda were very helpful and gave her the best service considering the fact that her mother was old.
BGR and others then started wondering how the complaint could have originated without the knowledge of the supposed to be ‘complainant’! In fact it had gone to a level where the AGM who had sat on a proposal for sanction of Rs9,500/ car repair expenses for over five months to become hyperactive! So much so that he wanted to suspend the clerk or the Senior Manager within ten minutes!
All of a sudden Mrs.Devaiah recollected that during one of the meetings in the Canara Bank Relief and Welfare Society, while discussing customer service in the bank, she had casually mentioned that on one occasion when she had gone to JSC branch they had no revenue stamps and she went to Post office and got the same. She told that she never meant the expression as a complaint. She also remembered that S R Prabhu, the retired GM (the Gandhian), was also present at the meeting.
The things started falling in place the moment the name of the Gandhian came into the picture. Obviously the Gandhian had picked up the thread from there and rushed to the Head Office to meet the top executives. He told them that it was a shame that the branch had not kept the stock of revenue stamp and had asked the depositor to go to Post Office. He asked the Executives to investigate and punish the guilty. So the complaint had originated from an unconnected person even though the depositor never wanted to complain in the first place!
BGR then requested Mrs.Devaiah to speak to the DGM at CO over phone and tell him that she had no complaint. She said that she knew the DGM quite well and wouldn’t mind talking to him. She then and there spoke to the DGM over phone and convinced him that she had no complaint. She told him that she had made only a casual mention in the meeting and both the Accountant and the clerk had given good service on that day.
BGR and the other two felt much relieved and came back to the branch. BGR rang up the AGM and tried to brief him about the incident in detail. He also told him that Mrs.Devaiah had told the DGM that she doesn’t have any complaint. But the AGM was not ready to hear him and told him that he would visit the branch on the next day. All the while the Chief Manager was a silent spectator to the developments and was behaving as if nothing had happened! He was as cool as a cucumber!
Next day morning the AGM came to BGR’s cabin along with CM with a furious look. On that day also there was a heavy rush in the branch. BGR again told him that the clerk Nanda was an excellent hand and she should not be treated with suspicion. With anger AGM told BGR that he always supported the staff as he was a Union man. BGR told him that he always tried to be fair. At that stage somehow it struck to BGR that he should take the AGM to the Deposit Section and ask him to personally see the services rendered (by both ladies). The AGM agreed to BGR’s suggestion. But he was still angry. BGR took him there and first introduced Nanda and the Accountant. The moment AGM saw Nanda all his anger vanished and he started enquiring about her, her husband and her young son in a very pleasant and attractive manner! At the end, he advised her to keep up her good work and seek any help from him in case of any difficulty! He left the branch thereafter as if nothing had happened!
Next day morning the DGM visited the branch and came to BGR’s cabin along with CM to enquire about the complaint with not so much anger as the AGM. Again BGR played the same tactics. The DGM also visited the Deposit Section and started talking to Nanda. At the end he commented that because of the good staff like Nanda, the bank was flourishing and progressing! He went away fully satisfied! The ‘Flop Show’ had come to an end!
------- (To be continued)
A V Krishnamurthy
15th November 2012