Friday, February 12, 2010

Guest Post from the 'Crazy Customer on Phone'

It never ceases to amaze me how stupid people in positions of authority can be when it comes to email and customer service. Personally, I like to correspond with both my own customers, and my vendors, via email where possible. Every business talks about its great service, but usually email isn’t the venue where it occurs.

When it comes to banks, this holds true as well. I went through 6 people last Friday when calling about a $148 overdraft fee I didn’t deserve (My corporate account was not negative at any point). If you’ve ever tried to fight a bank over an overdraft fee, you know how unpleasant the whole thing is. I finally ended up speaking to a branch manager at the next branch over, who assured me things would be resolved and he’d get back to me via email. He didn’t. So I called him and got his voicemail. Yesterday morning, I received the email from the attached screenshot. I’ve redacted the bank name and details, but this was a superregional bank, with no branches here in MA. So, I responded asking about the $400 that had since accrued to my account as a result of the first $148.

I got no response so I called the manager this morning at 9am. He claimed to know nothing about calling me crazy, so I told him to check his email. While he was doing that he asked me, “Exactly, what is it that you want?” An intelligent manager apparently…what did he think I wanted? So I told him I wanted my money back. He must’ve found the email at this point because his whole tone changed and he apologized profusely for calling me crazy, and then came up with this thing about submitting my account to customer service to be reviewed. Within 30 seconds of hanging up the phone with him, I checked my account online and every single fee was reversed. Imagine that!

While we all know that customers are not always right (even though I was in this case), we do know that they are the customer and should be treated with respect, no matter how badly they may be treating you. And you never, EVER, write anything negative about them, especially in an email! The manager who sent the email to me was clearly not the person it originated with, nor was the person before him. I suspect it may have come from the customer service manager at the branch who I had spoken with, but I have no proof. Even with the entire contents of the email chain being erased, all it takes is one negative subject line, or a careless “forward” to the client, and a major situation has occurred. And to make matters worse, this was my corporate checking account.

So, for any marketers and executives reading this:
1) Proofread your emails before you send them, and
2) Don’t write negatively about your customers, EVER!

Ed. Note: Some stories just need to be told, so I asked Rob Torte to tell this one. We've taken out the names to protect the guilty, but that doesn't blunt his point. Treat your customers with respect! Or pay the price in poor customer experience!! Thanks for sharing this with us, Rob.

1 comment:

Welcomed Reality said...

HAHA! That is priceless. It never ceases to amaze me how blatantly dumb banks can be. How about BOA recently adding fees for customers who transfer any amount of money out of their BOA accounts? That sounds like a GREAT way to retain business....*sarcasm added*