Inconsistent Customer Service Information from Bank of America

Four Different CSRs; Four Different Responses

April 17, 2014

Customer service agents at Bank of America, usually so stellar, were inconsistent and inaccurate due to a lack of knowledge about how some processes work. Trying to sign up to automatically pay my new Bank of America credit card balance each month turned into a long, frustrating mess. There are different processes for banking customers versus non-customers, paper and snail mail processes for customers, and online capabilities that too many CSRs simply didn’t know about!


My customer experience trying to set up automatic payments for my new Bank of America credit card was an exercise in frustration and wasted effort! Ultimately, I was able to do exactly what I wanted, but it took a number of phone calls and well over an hour of useless time on both my part and the part of four different customer service representatives.

Getting the card I wanted was easy: setting up automated payments was not!

The problem was that not all CSRs had the same information on all the possible ways to accomplish what should be a common task. It was not the fault of the support agents—they didn’t know better. But this shows a lack of consistency in training that hurts the customer relationship.

Make sure that you make things easy for your customers by educating all support personnel with all the different ways a customer can achieve their desired outcome and be successful in their goals.


Support Personnel Are Usually Stellar!

I have always been an advocate for the individuals who undertake the difficult job of providing customer service in a large corporation. Typically, they are intelligent, empathetic, and dedicated to helping customers in the face of company-serving policies and practices. They are too often restricted in their authority to resolve an issue in the way that the customer truly wants. But they try. And that gives a human face (or, at least, a human voice) to impersonal businesses such as retail banks.

In the past, I have often relied on the excellent customer service agents at Bank of America to help me deal with some thorny problems that have arisen over years of being a customer. The agents were always well informed and provided thorough explanations of what needed to be done. I don’t remember ever needing a second phone call.

This week, however, I was surprised and dismayed at the less than stellar customer service I received. While it was happening, I was annoyed at the CSRs to whom I spoke; with a few days to think about it, I realize that none of it was their fault, but rather the result of Bank of America not providing CSRs with all the information they needed to help me. Couple this with some antiquated practices and policies, and you end up with a frustrated and angry customer—me!


Fraud Alert

As I mentioned, I’m a long-time customer of Bank of America, resulting from a long series of acquisitions beginning in my graduate school days when I was a Suffolk Franklin Bank customer, well over 30 years ago. Although I had been issued a Bank of America credit card year ago, I had never used the card because I was already satisfied with other cash reward cards and didn’t want to worry about using another one.

However, in March, I received a phone call from Bank of America notifying me that my card had been used and fraud was suspected (probably because I had never used the card before). I was delighted at the proactive phone call, but rather frustrated with the procedure for taking care of the fraudulent use. BofA would automatically remove the fraudulent charges, but they were also sending me out a paper Fraud Statement that I would have to sign and return to them or the charges would be reapplied to my account.

Now I pretty much do all my transactions electronically—I don’t remember the last time I had to send out a piece of snail mail nor do I know how much a stamp costs nowadays. But this wasn’t something that could be done online. They needed my signature. I don’t understand why, but, ah well.

I also was curious as to how someone could get access to my credit card information since my physical card was buried in a desk drawer at home (I found it there) and the card had never been used. Did that mean that my online account, where the credit card number is listed, was hacked? Were the bank records themselves hacked? The CSR couldn’t tell me (understandable), but she also stated that I wouldn’t be informed even if the bank figured it out. She also implied that it was none of my business. I was quite taken aback!  ...(more)


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