I recently sold some stock and wanted to put the cash into one of the best known, and highly rated banks in the country. The amount of cash was not insignificant.
I called the number of the local branch in my community. But rather than reaching someone at the branch, the number channeled me into a central call bank.
Here’s what happened . . .
Call Center: “Can I help you?”
Me: “Yes. I want to talk to someone about moving some money to your bank.”
Call Center: “What?”
Me: “I want to talk to someone about some of your investment vehicles.”
Call Center: “Do you mean you want to talk to a banker?”
Me: (I paused for a second.) “That’s the general idea.”
Call Center: “Hold please.” (30-second pause).
Mary: “Hello. This is Mary. Can I help you?”
Me: “Yes. I’d like to talk to you about arranging an appointment to talk to someone about making a large deposit.”
Mary: “You don’t need an appointment for that.”
Me: “I don’t?” (Now I’m getting frustrated, so I decide to test her response with an eye-opener). “I want to transfer two million dollars over and I would feel more comfortable making an appointment.”
Mary: “That’s really not necessary. You can just go online to make the deposit or walk into any branch and someone will help you.”
Me: “I’ll tell you what, you are not at the Hinsdale branch are you?”
Me: “Would you transfer me to someone there?”
(Click. I’m put on hold. No “Yes, Sir,” or anything. About a minute goes by.)
Banker: “Hello?” (Incredibly young-sounding voice, and I can barely hear her.)
Me: “Are you a personal banker with the Hinsdale branch?”
Me: “I’d like to come in and talk to someone about your investment platforms . . . you know, CD’s and the like.”
Banker: “What do you mean?”
Me: “I mean I’d like to put some money in your bank.”
Banker: (Barely audible.) “OK.”
Me: “That’s it. Goodbye!”
Folks, if I’d not gone through this myself, I would not have believed it.
The moral of the story, call your own company occasionally and see how prospects and customers are being treated.
This bank is perennially rated one of the two or three best in the world. And they lost exactly the kind of business/personal customer they spend tens of millions of marketing dollars trying to attract.
We all need to be aware of the weak links in our communications system. They can literally kill our businesses.