I’ve been thinking a lot about my customer service experiences over the past few weeks, and would’ve thought that more businesses would be trying harder to keep customers happy during this economic downturn. However, more and more often, I’ve been seeing businesses that just don’t get it.
Let’s take Bank of America. I’ve got a personal and business account with them and have been using them since I moved to the United States in 2006. Shortly after incorporating my business account, they had an online offer, whereby personal accounts opened with business accounts were exempt from the monthly account management fee (currently running at about $9). Upon calling them up to request that the monthly fee on my account get waived as I had just opened a business account, the customer service representative simply offered a flat no, without any room for negotiation, and told me I’ve have to open the same account online to get that offer. Even after explaining the amount of inconvenience this would be – getting a new account number, ordering new checks and paying in books, updating regular payments, etc – he was oblivious to these facts and offered nothing.
More recently, I went into a local branch to get a money order and was told that the fee for this was $4.00 for customers, despite the same thing costing only $0.60c in Wal-Mart. WTF. I’ve certainly been questioning why I’m still using such an institution for my banking needs when they show me nothing but contempt.
It’s not often that I buy subs from Quiznos, but some coupons in the newspaper a couple of weeks ago made me venture into one, offering a free upgrade to a meal. Upon presenting the coupon, an employee informed me that it didn’t apply to value subs because ‘they were cheap already’. Their ploy worked, resulting in me getting a meal anyway, but it left a bad taste in my mouth.
My bigger issue with Quiznos though, is why they choose to hide all of their fillings behind the counter and cover the glass up so that they are not visible to customers. This may not be the case in all branches, though I’ve been to several around the Orlando area and they’re all setup this way. It almost seems like they don’t want to make customers the perfect sub, and could learn a thing or two from Subway, where there’s clear glass windows and a nice organized process with all fillings clearly on display and a big label in the window. I’ve decided to make an effort to stay away from Quiznos, because they don’t deserve my business.
Just a days ago, I needed to send some money abroad and decided to use MoneyGram for the first time. Consulting the website first, I was surprised to find that they charge nearly double to send money online than going to a store. So much for passing the savings of online systems to customers, though sadly this is not all that uncommon. The Florida DMV is the same, and when paying a speeding ticket online a couple of months ago, got charged an additional $7.50 convenience fee for using the online service (!).
But, back to MoneyGram. After using the website to find a a local 7–11 where money could be sent, my wife and I made the trek there. There was a big machine at the back, though upon starting the process to send money via the touchscreen, requested an activation code which had to be obtained by calling a MoneyGram agent!
Using the phone next to the machine, my wife called them up, and after providing them with the details, the agent offered a free membership card or something, and ended up giving us the card number instead of the activation code. WTF.
The other annoyance here was that there was nothing that the agent asked which couldn’t be entered into a kiosk and completely bypass the manual process of speaking to an agent (and an incompetent one at that) to handle the transaction.
But, another phonecall later, and finally getting the activation code, we punched it in, put the debit card in, entered PIN code, and then… got a message from the machine telling us that the transaction could not be processed, without any further information explaining why. WTF.
After consulting my iPhone and finding another couple of locations from the MoneyGram website, we drove to them only to find that they didn’t have the MoneyGram service. WTF. By this point, I was getting really frustrated with these guys.
The next day, we found out that other MoneyGram agents only accept payment in cash and that the majority of places offering the service simply have a phone rather than a machine anyway.
My conclusion – MoneyGram totally sucks at customer service and doesn’t get it, just like BoA (which want to wring their customers of every cent possible), and Quiznos (who couldn’t care less about making their customers a decent sub).
Just had to get that off my chest