I have a mania for good customer service. In my job, I tell my staff that customer service is everything. I am constantly amazed that organizations do not seem to care about customer service or they pay lip service to it. Wells Fargo Bank is in my crosshairs today.

Recently, I received an email from Wells Fargo saying that my address had been changed and if I didn’t make the change, I should call them immediately.

Hhhmm.

I didn’t make the change so I called the number in the email. The customer service person had no record and couldn’t see anything. She said she would put in a research request.

Usually, I receive an email when a bank research request is logged. After two weeks of not receiving the expected email, I called again. My accounts were all fine and the rep couldn’t see what I was talking about. We talked for half an hour and, yes, he did try and sell me additional services, but couldn’t figure out the problem or why there had been an address change, so he said he would input a research request.
Again, a few weeks go by with no research request email. Now I am getting angry. What if some clever hacker hacked into the Wells Fargo system and changed addresses and was now laundering money through accounts including mine? I was surprised that Wells Fargo was not taking this seriously AND worried that Homeland Security would come knocking. I don’t think I am a conspiracy theorist, but you just never know.

As I am fairly social media literate, I dashed off my frustration in a tweet.

HA! The social media team at @Ask_Wells Fargo saw the tweet and said they would help. YAY!

My joy is shortlived, because, again, a couple of weeks go by and they cannot find someone who can solve problems they find via social media.

Finally, they find someone and he calls me. He is my new best friend. I send him the emails, tell him my sad tale of woe and am reassured that he will get to the bottom of the problem. During this whole time, with every new person, I have to explain the problem over and over. Nobody has taken notes or, if they have, departments can’t see what other departments have written. Or they don’t have a customer relationship management (CRM) system.

No call back, no resolution, no contact from my new best friend at Wells Fargo Advisors. Finally, a few more weeks go by and I get a call from someone I have never heard of in my local branch. Yes, apparently, customers are assigned to local branches.

I yell at him.

I am fed up with all the people I have spoken to about this problem and all the time I have spent explaining the issue and waiting on hold.

No, he doesn’t deserve it.

No, it isn’t his fault, but I am past being nice and fair. It is my money, my credit rating and my door that Homeland Security will break down. I want to know who is allowed to change my address without my knowledge and, apparently, without the knowledge of anyone at Wells Fargo. The poor child is stunned. He had no idea, because nobody told him and they do not have a CRM system that would have told him how many times I had been in contact with his company. He assures me he will get to the bottom of the problem.

Famous last words.

Now it is September. Still no word. Nearly 3 months have past. I call the same poor child back. He doesn’t remember me. When I tell him I am the person who spoke to five people before him, he remembers and tells me that he passed it along to his assistant. I yell at him again, asking him why he didn’t have the courtesy to call me and tell me he had passed it on. He has no answer. He transfers me to the new guy, thrilled, I am sure, to be rid of me.

The poor child did not inform the new guy of how angry I am, so the new guy gets an earful as well. Really, I am not a mean or vindictive person, for the most part, but Wells Fargo Bank was on my last nerve at this point. To make matters worse, the new guy keeps telling me that he cannot help me. I use phrases like:

  • is there nobody in your company who will take responsibility for good customer service?
  • is there nobody in your company who will take responsibility for resolving my problem?
  • do you care that I have money with you?

The new guy has no answer. Even though he is a Vice President, he is low on the totem pole and can do nothing. The soft-hearted good side of me felt bad, but the angry Tiger didn’t care. I know it wasn’t the new guy’s fault, but how many people do I need to call to find out why this address change happened?

Wells Fargo: here is what you need to do immediately to improve your customer service:

  1. Teach your employees manners, if they don’t already have them. Make the first person who receives a call responsible for seeing it through and making sure the customer is happy.
  2. If the responsible party needs to pass the problem to another person or department, they are in charge of calling the customer. (see #1 about good manners)
  3. If you have an email, Twitter account, Facebook account or a phone number and you want to communicate with your customers, the communications must be two way. You should not use these media if the email account is a do-not-reply email and nobody monitors Twitter and Facebook. If you don’t trust your employees enough with outgoing phones, perhaps you should hire someone else?
  4. Don’t use social media if you don’t have a social media plan that you commit to constantly update and tweak. Have your social media plan specifically address situations where a customer is unhappy. If a problem is detected via social media, have a person who can deal with it. Social media is about relationships it is not just about sales. AND a reputation takes 20 years to build and 5 minutes to destroy.
  5. Decide where the buck stops. If a customer is an ongoing problem and is angry and wants to send an email or letter, there should be someone to receive it. The buck has to stop with someone.
  6. Install a customer relationship management system and USE it, especially in situations like this.
  7. Send snailmail letters with explanations and apologies in severe situations. yes, someone has to write it and you have to find an envelope and pay for a stamp, but it might be a small price to pay for not losing a customer.
  8. Create a position on your C-Suite team for Chief Customer Service Officer.

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Resolution: someone called me (even though the new guy said the people in that department couldn’t call out) and told me it was an error. They don’t know why the email was sent out, but it was an error. They refused to send me a letter to that effect, so Homeland Security could still come knocking.