BNY Mellon : A baffling contact mechanism

The investment bank’s site features a contact service that is simultaneously sophisticated and crude.

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The feature

The BNY Mellon site has a contact link in the top menu of each page . This leads to a page with two dropdown menus under the question ‘Which topic would you like to discuss?’ The left menu includes broad areas - most are for customers, such as Asset Servicing or Foreign Exchange, but they also include Careers and Investor Relations. The other menu gives sub-categories that vary; Foreign Exchange has six, while Investor Relations has four. There is always an ‘other’ option.
Further down the page - out of sight with scrolling - are headquarters details, a link to global locations, and links to corporate contacts including investor relations and media.
Having made a selection in the menus and clicked to the next page, a field appears into which a question can be typed. Below this is a set of FAQs. These have headlines that change according to the choice made, eg ‘BNY Mellon Trust Services FAQs’. However the FAQs  are always the same: five are aimed at retail shareholders (eg ‘What is the Dividend Payment Schedule?'), while one is for jobseekers. 
Having filled in a question, visitors are told ‘If you want Sales to contact you, please enter your phone number’.  This appears regardless of the category chosen (jobseekers and shareholders get the message, as well as customers).

The takeaway

BNY Mellon is not the first company to leave common sense at home when building a piece of functionality, applying a boilerplate approach where it is clearly inappropriate.
What is baffling is that the mechanism here is almost certainly underpinned by a sophisticated routing system - a question will likely go to one of many departments, so has a good chance of getting a useful reply. Yet at the same time the site provides dumbly inappropriate responses, and fails to point clearly to the useful numbers on the first page. What is going on, in a site that is otherwise often great (try Legacy)?  Humans, it seems, are letting computers do too much of the work . Knowing when to let them free, and when to keep them in control, is surely part of any sensible management system.
First published 24 September, 2019
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