Panic, frustration, anger and feeling downright undervalued were just a few of the emotions that made up my morning today.
Let me tell you how it all began.
It was a wet and chilly morning in Walthamstow, we were preparing to drive home to Stamford after a few days on business in London. Liz and I thought we would go and have breakfast in a café near the market and then get fruit and veg for the weekend. “I’ll just pop into a branch of my bank in the High Street to get some cash out” says I and duly went in.
Chaos inside the bank was my first impression, at 10 in the morning there were no staff in the bank, all the positions had the shutters down, lots of customers were milling about. Anyway to the cash machine I go, insert my card and pin number, nothing happens, “that just happened to me says someone behind and I had to do something to get my card out”. Please insert your card says the machine, I have and I can’t get it out so it must still be in there.
Eventually a member of staff wanders out from behind a locked door and is immediately surrounded by customers who need help; at last we get his attention, and explain what’s happened, “I can’t get it out” he says, not I’m sorry or let me see what I can do, “I’ll have to cancel your card”, which he does. As he was doing so I noticed that on his I-pad screen my account was overdrawn, which rang alarm bells. “Go to our other branch near the station and they will print you a new card, I’ll send the details” says Mr Surly.
With that he was gone. We get to the other branch and eventually get to the counter to say I have come for a new card, and I give my name. “Don’t know anything about this, nothing has been sent through” I’m told, so I go through it all again and say to him that I noticed my account was overdrawn, he looks at my account and says “did you go to another bank and withdraw two sums of money?”. “Of course not” I say, “my card is still in the machine inside the other branch”. “Someone has” he says, “probably put a small device on the cash machine where your card goes so that you can’t get it out” so as we were trying to get staff to the machine, the card and device was removed, and thinking back probably by the guy hovering near the cash machine trying to give me advice, and in the time it took for the card to be cancelled £750 had been taken from my account from an ATM of another bank a few yards away.
Anyone who has had this happen to them will know how it feels and this was inside the bank. The one member of staff at that bank was not helpful, I got a print out of the transactions and a new card from the second branch, but no advice on what to do next, or that they would alert the police or even call the other branch to let them know what was happening.
I had already gone through the panic and anger stage and was now getting to the frustrated part, because what really got to me even more than the theft of money from my account was that no-one at the bank actually cared; just a shrug of the shoulders and not even giving me a number to call.
I have been a customer of this bank for over thirty years and yet when I needed support and advice none was forthcoming, not even a “really sorry this has happened”.
Basically, sort it out for yourself! “When this is resolved” I said to Liz, “I’m changing banks”.
We went to the local police station (which strangely enough was open) the one constable in there was very nice, but could only give me a pamphlet for ActionFraud with a number to call, so that I could get the obligatory crime number. The lady on the ‘phone was quite nice and took the details and gave me the crime number, and then asked if there was anything further she could help me with today, at which point my anger and frustration rose to the surface and I said she could get the police to catch the scrote who stole my card and money and give him a good kicking, there followed a small period of silence, after which I said sorry for my outburst and she wished me a pleasant rest of the day.
The next call was to my bank and after talking to two people, the second of which wanted to cancel my new card. He said he would send a form for me to fill out to dispute the money taken from my account, in other words to prove my innocence, that I was not trying to con the bank! I wanted this sorted out now, so after putting my case forcefully I was put through to Rob, the hero of the story. Rob, who single-handedly made me relax about the situation, took details, apologized profusely and authorised the scammed money to come back into my account then added in an extra amount as compensation for the poor service and non-existent support that I had experienced.
My new found friend Rob made me feel like a valued customer of the bank and went out of his way to reassure me that poor customer service will not be tolerated and forwarded my complaint onto the banks customer service department. As promised the money was duly paid back to my account within hours.
The moral of my story is this. Never take your customers or clients for granted. Poor customer service will drive your customers into the arms of your competitors and your business will suffer. Fortunately for my bank and for me they had Rob.