||[Feb. 25th, 2008|11:48 am]
I've got accounts at two banks right now -- Chevy Chase, where I've been for years, mostly because I'm an ATM-whore and it's true, their ATMs are everywhere -- or at least they were always where I was; I don't find that as true, now that I have different stomping grounds. But that's still where the joint account is, and until the grand whirlwind of post-marital paperwork is resolved, I'm still a customer. Although I HATE them. HATE. The coin counting machine is their only merit. A couple of years ago, I noticed that they were advertising how their checking accounts were free. But mine was not. So, I go in and ask them why not...|
Oh, it's only free if you have $XXXX dollars or more in your various accounts. Well, hon, my IRA alone exceeds that amount, plus there's the savings account, the business account and our personal checking account. So, why am I paying a service charge on damn near every account.
Oh, they'll all be free, but you have to LINK them. And how do I do that? By signing this form that tells us that you have all of those accounts here.
So, let me get this straight. For starters, with all of your technology, is it possible that even with all of these accounts in MY name, you don't know they're all mine? It's been costing me $180 a year in bank fees because no one here has ever said "Hey, Ms. Eriksen, did you know that you qualify for free banking, if only you'd put your signature here and let us know that you qualify." Every time I come in here, your tellers are hitting on me to get a home equity account or a credit card or something, but they don't promote something, which quite frankly, I should just GET, without having to make an effort?
Pardon my attitude, but what EXACTLY do you guys mean by Customer Service?
Which is when I moved my business and then later, personal accounts over to Wachovia. Whose branches have a bizarre second-rate feel -- often smelling of whatever food franchise they share walls with, low on the marble, fancy carpet, fancy, well...anything. But you know what, that's okay by me -- since I know who pays for all that marble and Indonesian endangered wood and freaking Axminster carpets...me. One lousy bank fee at a time. And Wachovia's thing IS customer service. Which was illustrated recently one day, when I had to go to both banks on a single lunch break.
I go into Wachovia first, to draw out money to feed the Chevy Chase account. There's no line, and only one other customer. But I'm greeted by four different associates, and as I start my paperwork, I'm afraid to look up and make eye contact, because every time I do, someone else welcomes me or says "hello". I'm all about customer service and making me feel comfortable, but now they've taken it to such an extreme that I'm feeling pressured, envisioning their employee handbook: "You WILL greet the customer within 1.5 seconds of them coming in the branch and whenever they make eye contact or you WILL be killed and eaten. Or used in making the sausage at Quizno's or Baja Fresh, whichever is sharing your mall pod."
But still, once I master the urge to giggle wildly...my horrifically useless response to social pressure...everyone's delightful and they get my stuff done and done quickly.
Then I walk down the street to Chevy Chase. Where I walk in, and as usual, there's no one manning the customer service area and I manage to get my paperwork done and get in line without a single person greeting me or even looking up from their desk. It's a long line and I watch a customer who just wants to change her address get sent to the customer service area. Which is still unmanned. And remains so, for the 15 minutes it takes me to get to a teller. Said teller is cheerful and friendly and professional enough -- so I finally point to the customer who is still waiting for someone to help her over in the waiting area and say "do you think someone should at least acknowledge that the woman is waiting?" So, the friendly teller pages someone in an office. I can see the person being paged, he's helping some people open new accounts. And he says "I'm with someone right now, I'll get there as soon as I can."
And I think....it's already too late. And I have to leave before I run in to the people opening up the new accounts and say "Don't do it. Look at that woman waiting out there in the lobby for the past 15 minutes just wanting to change her address. Some day that will be you."