Questions are an essential part of a tester’s job. I have had a recent experience which had a bitter part and a better part. I learnt from both of them. I learnt how important it is to ask the right questions. I realised how important it is to plan before asking questions.

I had opted for a fixed deposit option with one of the most reputed banks. Following the same, I shifted from Hyderabad to Bangalore. It totally slipped from my mind, that I never got the proof of fixed deposit from the bank.

Some months later, due to some urgent need for money, I approached the bank for closure of the fixed deposit and the story began. I was asked to show the proof. I wasn’t prepared for the same.  I told I haven’t got it and asked “What should I do to get my money?”. This was a wrong question, asked from a wrong person, at wrong time. This is what I realized later. As bad as the question, the answer that I got was – “Please give it to us on a stamp paper, notorized, that you have lost the receipt.”. I asked, “Where can I get the same?”. “It’s available at only net bank in first half.”

I asked “Can you check in your records, whether the receipt is lying with the bank?”. He took a couple of minutes and told – “No. It isn’t”. Now, this was a valid question, but was asked after asking a couple of wrong questions, so lost its value. As you read further, you will see how this question gave the results.

A day later, I found myself inquiring about the process of notorizing, and standing in the queue of about 70 people for the stamp paper. The queue was moving real slow. And that was the first time I spent time on thinking what I was doing. I had taken a leave from my office to stand in the queue to get a stamp paper to declare that I had lost the receipt which I had never got!! I had almost reached the counter, but I chose to move out of the queue.

I went back home, without buying the stamp paper and started thinking about what I should be doing. An hour later I called up the bank’s customer care number and here goes the conversation:

Me: “Where’s my fixed deposit receipt?” (I purposefully kept it short and strict.)

Other side: “Can you please elaborate?”

Me: “Doesn’t your bank send a receipt for fixed deposits?”

Other side: “Yes, we do, but what’s the matter?Didn’t you get it?”

Me: “No.”

Other side: “We are sorry sir? Just let me check the records.”

(A minute later…)

Other side: “We apologize for the confusion. Our courier guy went to deliver it, but you weren’t available. It’s lying with our bank. Can you please confirm the address, so that we can send it again”

I never talked about the closure of fixed deposit. First things first. I thought I should first get the receipt.

I was amazed with the results. No stamp paper. No big formalities. No unnecessary wrong declarations (Could I approach the bank later and say that it never sent me the receipt, that too after decalring on a stam paper that I lost it?) Just address update was required. In next four days, I had got the receipt, I submitted the same to the bank and the money was credited.

One last note. I said that the first question was asked from a wrong person. I said this because he didn’t understand his job. We should be careful with such people.

4 Responses to “The Importance of Right Questions”

  1. Inder P Singh

    This is a great story that reveals the importance of asking the right questions.

    I think that it is sometimes prudent to ask questions to yourself/ known people first. This could help in clarifying the problem and framing the right questions to ask others.

    Of course, there could be other times when we just have to jump into the problem and learn by bitter experience.

  2. Rahul Verma

    Hi Inder,

    Happy New Year!

    I agree to your thoughts.

    It’s better to plan beforehand and decide on the questions. If that’s not the option, the conversation / experience will bring it’s own learning.


  3. Cem Kaner

    I think that one of the most important decisions you made was to choose to not get a notarized stamp.

    Instead, you stopped yourself and asked, “How can I approach this in a way that fully preserves my integrity, and thus fully preserves my credibility?” From there, you found a path to a working answer.

    — cem

  4. Rahul Verma

    Hi Cem,

    It’s an honor to have you visiting and commenting on this post.

    Yes, I agree to the point made by you. Standing in the queue for no good reason really hurt me and it led me to success in this story. I am happy that I got the results and more importantly that I got them the right way

    Rahul Verma

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