What Ever Happened to Good Customer Service?

Carol RoachStarred Page By Carol Roach, 7th Apr 2015 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Business>Ethics

I was one of the people who jumped for joy when the ATM machines finally came to Montreal. No longer would I have to wait in long lines to get to the teller at the bank. It was a perfect solution for quick access to getting cash or paying bills. But you know when they dissolved the need to have so many tellers I think they dissolved the need to maintain good customer service at my bank.

My fiancé's bank

A while back I went to the bank with Matt, my fiancé. I was taken by surprise when he was making his transactions. The teller had a smile on her face and said,
"I see that you birthday is coming up. Happy Birthday Mr. I...."
I later remarked how you would never see that sort of thing at my bank. I even said I must open an account at the Royal Bank.

I am so used to crappy service that I had forgotten what good service actually was. I can't remember ever seeing a smile on the face of any teller at my bank. It has long been discussed around the neighbourhood that my bank only gives good service to big financiers, if you are a Joe Shmoe, then you are out of luck. In fact, you are lucky if they answer your concerns at all.

Why my rent cheque bounced

I sent out 12 cheques for the July 2006 - June 2007 rent period to my landlord from a brand new batch of cheques that I had just ordered. Much to my surprise I got an email from my landlord saying that the July cheque bounced. I knew it was not possible, when I checked online I saw the money was still sitting in my bank account. I called up the 1 800 number (call center) and they checked my account and said that everything was in order; my landlord must have made a mistake.

I emailed my landlord with this information and he asked for another cheque. I complied. But a few days later he again tells me that the cheque bounced. This time I asked him to check with his bank since nothing was allegedly out of order at my end. After this episode, the landlord sent someone to pick up the rent money from my house. By this time it was July 27th and the rent was due on the first of the month.

I knew that I had to contact the bank again to find out what the problem was. Again the call center gave me,

"There is nothing wrong with your account it must be a problem with your landlord's banking system, have him contact them to do an investigation."

I had already informed the landlord to do this and was waiting for his answer. Since I did not find the call center answer to be satisfactory, I asked them to transfer me directly to my bank where I demanded an investigation.

The person I spoke to at my bank was hardly interested. I asked how long would it take and he responded in a rather tiresome voice,

"We don't know Madam, we have a lot of investigations to do but somebody will contact you."

I was livid

The catalyst for my anger and contacting my actual bank yet a second time resulted when my unemployment insurance money did not come. I gave them one of my new cheques for the purpose of direct deposit and now I was almost certain the problem was with the new batch of cheques. I called the unemployment office, explained the situation, and they said they had made the deposit. They had deposited my cheque according to the information encoded on the sample cheque I gave them. It was now up to my bank to rectify the error. I called the bank and told them the situation.

I was livid. How could this error occur? Don't they check the batches of new cheques before they send them out? I have had the same bank account for over 30 years!

The teller acknowledged that the unemployment cheque was deposited to a non existing account and that she had already advised head office of the error. But I would have to make sure to give the unemployment the right account number in the future. My complaint about the wrong encoding on the cheques seemed to fall on deaf ears, the teller did not seem interested in my reasoning, only that I should contact the unemployment office because they made a mistake. After fighting with her for well over 10 minutes about this issue she informs me that I must go down in person and bring the cheques back. She would then order new cheques for me.

I run out of the house in order to make it to the bank before closing time. I did not want to waste another minute over this mess. I had to pay my landlord with a money order for August rent so that the darn cheque would not bounce again. I was not about to make a repeat performance of a so called bounced cheque for the month of September.

It was the hottest day of the summer, by the time I got to the bank I was just dripping with perspiration and trust me I am not a woman who perspires a lot. The liquid was just dropping off of me. I went up to the counter explained my situation and handed over the cheques. The teller called the company and made the changes. She told me the new cheques should arrive in about a week's time.

I was angry, I was exhausted, and I was frustrated. I explained to her that not only had this error interrupted my life but also my landlord's as well. Her very cool response was,
"Well the next time you get a batch of cheques you will verify the information to make sure it is correct," implying that I was the one at fault.

I bit my tongue for the first time that day. It was much too hot for me to be escorted out of that place by two big burly police officers!

All photos are taken from the public domain

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Atm Machines, Banking, Customer, Customer Care, Customer Feedback, Customer Satisfaction, Customer Service, Customers

Meet the author

author avatar Carol Roach
Retired therapist and author of two books, freelance writer, newsletter editor, and blogger. I write, health, mental health, women's issues, animal , celebrity, history, and SEO articles.

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author avatar Yvette van Niekerk
8th Apr 2015 (#)

Ja, we also have problems with Customer Service, I know where you are coming from. ;-)

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author avatar Lady Aiyanna
8th Apr 2015 (#)

Well, I never use cheques and always do a cash transaction as i don't trust any other mode of payment. Always get a receipt and the money is in the account. I am not interested in being a survey statistic either.
Don't own a cheque book either and ATM transactions are at the minimal and its the best way to go about things in life as I prefer my privacy and want nobody at my place of stay and not even friends. So all now stay far away and I prefer it that way as I had my pains with that bastard of my husband who wrecked the home with his wench and stole 38k from the family savings leaving an empty bank account and piling bills from his side.
I like banks that are confidential and suckers for privacy.

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author avatar Lady Aiyanna
8th Apr 2015 (#)

How many nights did you spend in jail???
Learn to control your temper as its easy to lose it in frustration, you can kill people too with it.

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author avatar Carol Roach
8th Apr 2015 (#)

my article was just tongue and cheek, but if you you get too loud in a bank here in Quebec they can throw you out. I am not a criminal don't have a record and was never thrown out of anywhere.

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author avatar Lady Aiyanna
8th Apr 2015 (#)

Here is an advice from a Customer Service Trainer.

All employees are trained on how to maintain diplomacy and to speak only what is needed at that is the only way to keep customers happy. When a customer becomes irate, we try to resolve the issue and if on phone release the call and document them and sometimes even bar them and now for face to face bouncers are all that is required. Did you point a gun at them or what. Seriously, cops arresting you for a banking transaction is suspicious. Did you go to rob a bank using the excuse of a cheque???

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author avatar Lady Aiyanna
8th Apr 2015 (#)

Must have been South Africa where crime rate is high....

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author avatar vickylass
8th Apr 2015 (#)

Well, as I've seen and had to cope with, ATM machines were introduced worldwide to reduce on staff and bank branches. ATM machines can be handy, but they can't sort out everything and they break down without previous notice.

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author avatar Kingwell
8th Apr 2015 (#)

Good article. Service is not like it was a few years ago, Blessings.

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