The other day I walked into our bank to add me as a signer to our business account. I made sure to call in advance and ask their small business representative what I would need to do this. They told me I would need to have one authorized signer present, and two pieces of identification. I asked twice to make sure and both times they re-assured me and said this was all I needed.
We sat down in the small business banker’s office and he asked how he could help. I explained. He got on his computer and started asking us questions about the account, for my business partners debit card and I also handed him my two pieces of identification. He asked if I had a personal account at the same bank and I said I did not. He then asked where I banked and I told him. Then he got that look on his face. That same look customer service people the world over get when staring into a computer screen that has just told that something is not possible. The look where you can see and feel the little wheels in their brain stop working, and the artificial intelligence, staring them in the screen, start to take over their mind, body and soul…
He looked at me and said, “There seem to be two other signers on this account?” We affirmed that the business had two other owners. He proceeded to ask if we had any paperwork to show that I was indeed one of the new owners. I said I did not. He then asked if we could have the other two signers present to authorize this. One is in Seattle and the other in California; so naturally we said that this would not be possible now or in the near future. He started to mumble and begin stating the bank’s policy clearly being dictated by his computer screen; and I started to see red.
I turned to my business partner and said loudly that this was my greatest frustration with this bank – that every person I spoke to seemed to give me a different answer; and this was not the first time.
At this moment he got that conquering look in his eye, one that customer service people get when they have resolved a major customer issue; and he asked me “whom did you speak with, sir.”
First, I thought he was joking. Realizing he was not I politely explained that the name, title and employee number of the person I spoke with was irrelevant because no matter whom I speak to, the bank’s policy should remain consistent. Rather than cutting his losses and apologizing he proceeded to dig himself further down the customer-service rat hole by saying that I must have spoken to the wrong department (still the bank’s mistake for misdirecting my call or for answering a question they were not equipped to).When I informed him that I had actually spoken with a small business representative, once again rather than apologizing he proceeded with even greater enthusiasm down the same rat hole.
Rather triumphantly, he explained that the issue was one of miscommunication; that the problem seemed to clearly lie in how I must have asked the question…!!!
I know this bank wants its brand to be valued and to command the same loyalty, from customers, that Apple and American Express do. I also now know why they do not.