Saturday, September 22, 2007

An Example of Piss-Poor Customer Service

I've read horror stories about Bank of America's customer service but never experienced it firsthand until yesterday. I went looking on their website for information about BoA locations outside of the US; there isn't any information on the site. So I called the customer service number, and was routed through a labyrinthine "press 1 to hear your balance, press 2 to order a duck in a box" process. Thankfully I didn't have to speak my choices - it gave me the option to use a touchtone phone rather than use the voice-driven menu system, and that's the only good thing I can say about the experience.

I went through the system no less than three times, first trying to get an answer to my question, then simply trying to talk to a person. I would have settled for some Punjab-based broken-English customer service rep by the time I was done ready to take down my personal information to feed to Allah and the Great Jihad against the American Satan, but even that wasn't an option. So instead I go back online and discover there's an email form I can fill out.

I'm redirected to a secure server where I fill out my name, email address, contact info and my account number. I'm promised an answer in less than 24 hours. About 12 hours later, an email arrives stating that since I didn't go through the login process before filling out the email form, they can't process my request. Even though I followed the instructions posted on Bank of America's website precisely.

So here's a big "fuck you" to Bank of America and their joke customer service. I was going to see what I could do to keep my account, but now I don't feel bad about closing it down and taking my business elsewhere. And let this be a lesson: as more companies are discovering that the can interface with their customers online, there's a move away from providing good customer service. This baffles me. Why would you go online to talk to a blogger whose negative experiences were created by your shoddy customer service, and not fix the customer service issues? Customer service is front-line PR. It's individual engagement before us PR stooges were online talking about individual engagement. And there's a backlash against Punjab Allah for a reason - people like to know they can talk to someone, preferably without having to ask that person to repeat themselves just to understand simple concepts - and get clear, concise, accurate and fast answers.

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