Bank of America posted $5.3 billion in profits for the 2nd quarter of 2015. Not chump change, so why are they bent on reducing their staff to a skeleton crew, and dragging down customer service with it? At least my recent experiences with Bank of America have taught me what not to do that would drive customers away.
I do my banking with Bank of America. I have both personal and business checking accounts with them along with a mortgage. One of their branches is within walking distance of my office so I’m in there at least three times a week, maybe more. I got to know the wonderful women who work there as tellers. That is until the bank told them that they could take an early buyout or take reduced hours at reduced pay. So the two experienced and knowledgeable tellers left, to be replaced by one teller.
The manager left too. In the past year this branch has been through at least three managers. OK, I get downsizing. Doesn’t mean I like it, but I’ve gotten used to standing in line a little longer. When the line gets really long the manager comes out and asks everyone in line if they wouldn’t like to use the automated teller machine outside on the sidewalk. Are you kidding? You want me to stand on the sidewalk and feed multiple checks into your machine while the rest of Annapolis walks by and watches me do my business?
So my knowledgeable tellers are gone, the lines are long and the manager doesn’t want to deal with me, I should just go use the teller machine. Not friendly.
At this point I shouldn’t have been surprised by what I observed yesterday but none-the-less, I was stunned. I was in line about 30 minutes before the bank closed (oh, and they close an hour earlier now than they used to) and a customer comes in and says she wants to open an account. The manager is with someone but waves her arms saying she can’t open a new account, she’s busy with someone else. The new customer should make an appointment and come back another day. I’m thinking really? You’re turning business away?
Then the customer looks at the teller and asks, “Can you open an account?” The teller shakes her head no, “Sorry” she says, “I can’t help you,” and that’s it. The customer is stunned. She looks at the teller and manager again. The manager shouts from her office, “Make an appointment.”
“But I really need to open an account today,” says the poor prospective customer and she walks out the door. I didn’t see which way she headed but there are two other banks within a 30 second walk from Bank of America.
The manager didn’t offer to stay a few minutes longer to open an account for the customer. They didn’t offer the customer the use of one of the two unused computers so that she could go online and open an account herself. They didn’t even tell her that there are two more Bank of America offices nearby that were open for at least another hour. Just, “No – can’t help you.”
I don’t know about Bank of America but I can’t afford to turn away business. I don’t want to turn away business, and we work hard to keep our customers happy. Once I got back to the office I told everyone the story and we reviewed what the process should be when someone calls in with an enquiry and there isn’t an account manager around.
So thanks Bank of America. Because of your fail we’ve tightened up our procedures and are on our way to more revenue this year and better customer service without having to cut staff. And sooner or later, Bank of America, you’re going want all of those accounts that you’ve turned away.