Anyone who has lost their wallet or purse knows what a traumatic experience it is. Traumatic and time-consuming with credit and bank cards to cancel, drivers licenses to replace, and, depending on whether it was a wallet or purse, a myriad of personal items to replace.
My son recently lost his wallet. The damage was relatively minimal; the contents were cash, a driver’s license, and a bank card. He realized he had lost the wallet as he was leaving work. As soon as he arrived home he called his bank. 24 hour banking is a great service to have available. It was around midnight when my son made the call and someone was available with no wait to help him. Nice. The agent took care of cancelling the lost card and issued an order for a new card. Easy – just as it should be. Plus, it was reassuring as a customer to know that the bank center was available when my son needed them. It certainly didn’t take the sting off of losing $300 and knowing he would have to stand in line at the DMV for who knows how long. But overall it was a relatively good customer experience.
The bank delivered good service under unfortunate circumstances. This wasn’t a “WOW” experience but they can’t all be and in this case my son didn’t need WOW; he needed efficiency and he got it. Mission accomplished, right?
Wrong… and shame on the bank because this is where things got ugly. No, there were no service charges for the transaction. There were no charges of any sort. There was no scolding about being more careful in the future, or “what in the world were you doing with $300 in your wallet young man?” In retrospect as offensive as any of those things would have been what the bank did next was just plain wrong!
The agent asked my son if she could transfer him to someone else who would like to discuss his “options”. Confused, my son asked why he needed to speak with someone else. The agent explained that this was a “service” the bank was happy to provide at no charge and to please hold on. A different agent came on the line and proceeded to try to sell my son identity theft insurance and a variety of products that would “help him” if he ever lost his wallet again. Initially son thought that maybe these “services” (expensive unnecessary products) were legitimately needed now in addition to cancelling his bank card. He asked a few questions to clarify his understanding of what was being described and he quickly figured out it was simply a hard sell (and I mean HARD sell) by the agent preying on a customer’s misfortune. My son hung up on the agent and was even madder now than when he discovered his wallet was gone; a good experience gone bad that may have cost the bank a customer or two.
The next day my son wryly asked: “Dad, when did the banks that the American people bailed out become ambulance chasers?” Yep, it was just plain wrong.