Tag Archives: customer service

Not a Good Week For the Royal Bank

It hasn’t exactly been a good past week for the Royal Bank. Let me get this straight: They get a bunch of temporary foreign work permits from the government, bring in a team from India. That team is getting trained by Royal staff to take over their jobs. Then the foreign workers go back home with the jobs and the Royal team is out the door.

Nice…and then their apology, which was really a non-apology didn’t make things better before the weekend. They called it “part of normal business practices.” Ironically, that outsourcing story happened the same month as their notice of service charge increases went out. Really makes me wonder… Now, they’re not alone in outsourcing. It’s just that this story got traction. Even back last summer, a family member received a phone call within days of depositing $30,000 into his chequing account. He asked if “they were calling from Canada” because of the heavy accent. The answer was: No…

With most huge financial institutions, and other retailers for that matter, the larger they get, the more they turn into dinosaurs. They’re slow to react and tone-deaf. They’re less and less focused on customer service because you’re one customer out of millions. With those odds, what are the chances they’re really motivated to help you? Still wonder why I’m such a fan of credit unions where even the CEO and Board of Directors live within 100 km of you?

If you remember a few months ago I detailed the horror I had to go through with the Royal on the death of my father. It’s now the seventh month and they STILL send his mail to the address of a dead person – in spite of four written notices and documentation. Did I say dinosaur already?

Three short stories…

Hurray for American Express

I remember last year having to contact their Call Centre. To start, there was a language barrier, to put it mildly, since their Call Centre is in India. And I started getting the rush treatment disputing a charge. You have to know that most of these staff are timed on a per-call basis. So their motivation is to end the call quickly – not necessarily to resolve it. Well, Amex has taken their staff off these timed calls. So far, the results are amazing for Amex. Their customer satisfaction levels are up, as is their charge volume per client.
Why can’t everyone realize that?

Which economic indicator do you trust?

There are two confusing economic stories from this past week:

Cosmetic surgeries were up 9% last year.
On the other hand, 60% of shoppers say they are buying more no-name store brands, instead of national brands.

Sony certainly has a big problem:

Sony Play Station’s main computer was hacked last month and banking and credit card information on 70 million customers was stolen. That’s a lot of people and it’s not an isolated story as more and more of our information is on-line. It’s another reason to be really thorough in looking through the charges on your credit card statement. Plus, you only have 60 days to dispute something. A day after that and you’re fully liable.

As Consumers: We’ve Got the Power

I often get e-mails and feedback from people frustrated with bad service, high rates, or rip-off fees.

But you have to believe that you and me as customers really do have the ultimate power. We often feel there’s nothing we can do about fees, charges, interest rates, or really bad customer service. But that’s not true at all. You have total power to fire any company you choose, and that’s the best and ultimate power of all.

One of the most powerful stories, which is now being heard around the world, is of a Halifax musician. I can relate to this story and my personal horror stories with this company. It’s from a musician by the name of Dave Carroll.

Dave flew on a United Airlines flight out of Halifax. When he got his guitar from checked baggage, it was damaged. He filed a report, and did what he was told to do. But United told him: too bad – they were not covering the damage to his guitar.

Well, Dave wasn’t done – AND he’s a musician. He proceeded to actually write a song called: United breaks guitars. But get this: He posted his song on You Tube (here is the link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5YGc4zOqozo&feature=fvst ). So far, this video has been viewed more than FIVE MILLION TIMES.

At about two million views, United had a change of heart and contacted Dave to pay for a new guitar. Too late, Dave told them – it’s been two years, but did tell them they could donate the money to charity.

Another Canadian story is a web site on twitter where Canadians can vent their frustration at banks and their service, fees, or the likes, or just give others a heads-up on some bad practices. It’s been set up by ING Direct, the 7th largest company in the world, and a great alternative to the no-service banks, in addition to credit unions.

Sadly, ING takes out the specific bank, because they do not want to appear to be one bank knocking another. But all the information is there, ranging from a petition to venting and a number of polls. You can access it at: www.fairfees.ca

The Financial Times of London did an extensive survey asking who we actually trust. And for 92% of us it’s word of mouth from friends, associates, or colleagues. That compares to around 60% for traditional advertising.

The lesson is that a companies’ image is not what they it is, but what real people experience in the real world and spread through word of mouth.