How to drive customers away

There are tons of websites, articles and blogs about how to build a relationship with your clients. Much has been written about fostering long term relationships and build client loyalty.

Bank of America – You need to go read those websites.

I’ve been a fairly loyal Bank of America customer for about 5 years now. I opened my first account in 2002 and have been slowly migrating all of my business to BOA over the last 5 years. I moved my business account, my savings account, my investments (including IRA’s and regular accounts), credit cards and personal loans. I even asked a car dealer to setup my car loan through them. I’d say I was pretty darned loyal. My wife has been too…she’s moved all of her accounts over to them too. We even talked about refinancing our home and using BOA for the mortgage.

Now its time to move to another bank. Why?

I’ve been slowly driven away by the small things. Extra fees. Higher interest rates regardless of how good our credit is. The inability to get a question answered on the phone. The inability to setup my US Airways debit card (which I’m paying $40 a year for) to get my miles posted to my USAir account.

The final push away from BOA happened this week.

BOA locked my debit card due to ‘suspicious activity’. BOA sent me an email to tell me about the lock and gave me a ‘special’ number to call (yet another good thing). I checked to make sure the number was really a BOA number (I’m always suspicious of emails like that) and called the number to remove the hold.

When I dialed the number, I realized it wasn’t a ‘special number’ like they said…it was just another number to get into their automated system. After 5 minutes of trying to reach an attendant, I was told I would need to be transfered to their Fraud Department. After another 5 minutes on hold, I was speaking with a young man who had a strong accent and spoke way too fast for the line of work he was in. He started asking me security questions (how long have you had the account, etc) and many of the questions were ones that I had to think about…but because I didn’t answer immediately, he told me that I failed the question and would ask another one.

After about 6 questions he told me he couldn’t help me because I ‘failed the security questions’. I asked to speak to his supervisor and he told me none was available and that I’d have to go to a local BOA branch to get my card unlocked and he then hung up on me. He Hung Up!?

At this point, I’m fuming. I told my wife that I was ready to change banks. About the time of the 3 curse word that came out of my mouth, the phone rings. Its BOA’s automated system calling and asking me to confirm 3 recent charges. After confirming these charges, the system told me that my card was unlocked.

So…I spent 15 minutes on the phone trying to get the card unlocked and was told I failed the security questions and was hung up on. 2 minutes later I’m able to unlock my card via their automated system….something doesn’t seem right.

So long BOA….I may run into the same problems with other banks, but at least I won’t have to deal with rude Customer Service agents at BOA.

You want to know the really bad thing? I love walking into a BOA branch….people are friendly and more than willing to help. I just wish that mentality migrated to the rest of BOA.

[tags] Relationships, Customer Service, Bank of America [/tags]

2 responses to “How to drive customers away”

  1. Steve Wiley Avatar

    Man, makes me reconsider my BOA relationship!

  2. Eric Brown Avatar

    Well…honestly I think most banks are the same when it comes to dealing with the customer service department via the phone.

    I’ve switched my daily banking to Citibank and have been happy but not overly impressed yet.