Bad Customer Service Really Ticks Me Off [Managers you must train and support new employees. Thanks.]

So, I went to my bank today to make a routine business deposit. I was surprised to not recognize a single Teller in the branch, as I’m a regular there and know many of the staff. My Teller was clearly in training. She typed away on her keyboard for at least 2 minutes without making eye contact with me or even explaining what she was doing. It was taking so long that I thought something was wrong. After another 3 minutes had passed and no interaction had taken place, I asked if something was wrong. “No.” she replied. “I’m new and I just have to get some overrides.” With that, she disappeared into the back.

After a good 4 minutes had passed, I got the attention of a Teller walking by and asked if he could check with my Teller. I was in a bit of a hurry to pick my son up from school. Never imagined I’d be in the bank this long. The Teller came back to tell me my Teller was on the phone with another bank and she’d be out shortly. Ok. Weird.

Several minutes passed and finally my Teller walked out and explained, “Your check is good. I just called the issuing bank and verified funds. But since I’m new I have to have a manager’s initials. I can’t locate a manager after calling 4 branches.” And she handed me my check and deposit slip. I was seriously confused and I said, “So, you’re giving me back my check when I came to deposit it?”  “Yes,” she said, “Because I can’t find a manager to initial this.” I asked what I was supposed to do and she literally told me to try another branch.

What went wrong here? This bank needed to have a mentor to shadow the new-hire to show her how to communicate with customers while waiting on the computer and on-hold on the phone. When several new employees are working at a branch/location/area, a veteran employee needs to be on stand-by to offer assistance. If management approval is needed for anything at all, managers must be standing at the ready to help employees help customers. It is absolutely absurd that an employee would not be able to reach a manager and that a customer would be sent to another branch across town.

The bottom line: Management must be onsite and immediately available to help employees help customers. When management is not available, employees need to be empowered to make decisions to help customers.

Some banks to offer overdraft grace

Some banks are now setting limits on overdrafts, voluntarily. Huntington Bank will now give a 24 hour grace period, allowing you to restock your account.

US Bank, Bank of America, 5th 3rd, and SunTrust, among others, will not charge overdraft fees if the overdraft is less than $5 or $10 in some cases. Read the full story here.

Green means yes…Red means no…and Yellow means you can negotiate: A simple Customer Recovery Strategy

I read about a bank that made problem response a cinch for Customer Service Representatives.  From responding to requests to lower credit card interest rates to handling requests to waive NSF charges, all responses are driven by little squares on customer’s accounts.  The tiny squares — green, yellow or red — pop up on the screen next to the name of the client.

Customers who get a red pop-up are the ones whose accounts lose money for the bank. Green means the customers generate large profits for the bank and should be granted waivers. Yellow means there is a chance to negotiate. Reps don’t have to seek management approval or fear that they’ve given away too much. The color of the square has already predetermined the response.

Consider adopting your own simple recovery method to help frontline staff quickly and easily make smart decisions that will protect both customer loyalty and company profits.

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