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“Your call is important to us”


One of these days someone will produce a statistic on how much of our lives we spend being on hold in a telephone queue, a bit like those ones telling us how much of our lives we spend brushing our teeth or reading the paper. Judging by my own experiences this week, it's probably several years.

First up was a call to an insurance company with a routine policy query. Usual stuff, first selection of buttons to press, then second selection, then music followed by regular messages telling me how important I am to them and my call will be answered as soon as possible. Well if I'm that important to you, how come no-one is picking up the phone? After about 10 minutes I gave up.

Later after work I rang my credit card company, same procedure. After a while I started wondering if there was really anyone there taking calls or if they had all gone home and left the message on just to annoy people, so I gave up.

Next up was a call to my phone company, same procedure, I really should start learning what to expect. It got me thinking, though, surely SIPP providers don't go in for this sort of thing? I mean SIPPS are service based contracts - so without a decent service well they're a bit of a waste of time really? I decided to put this to the test and place a call to a big insurance company SIPP provider, using the contact number from the website. Same procedure to start with, 2 selections of buttons to press, then music and messages apologising for the delay and telling me the website can provide lots of help. Well I'm sure it can, but if I'm an IFA with a technical query about the new contribution limits then I probably need a human being to speak to.

After 11 minutes and 8 seconds the call did actually get answered and in the time-honoured tradition of the tabloids I "made my excuses and left". What surprises me is how this sort of thing has become an accepted part of life, with many companies you don't get much choice but it's an area where bespoke providers have the edge. At Curtis Banks we can't guarantee the phone will be answered first ring and worst case scenario you may get a voicemail - but with direct dial access to actual human beings at the other end, we'll never make you waste 10 minutes of your life waiting in a queue.       



This communication provides general guidance to financial advisers. It is not a full description of our products and services and more information is available on our website at or by contacting us on (0117) 9107910. It is not intended to be read by clients or potential clients and any such persons should take independent financial advice before taking any action on their pension arrangements.

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