User Unfriendly Services at Bank of America
One of my colleagues in the U.K. recently did some exceptional programming work as a subcontract for a new site design that I just finished, and we agreed that I’d wire transfer payment to her. What should have been a straightforward, simple matter has turned out to be an absurdity that’s not over yet.
It would be ideal if wire transfers could be handled securely online through the bank’s site; however, they don’t offer that yet despite all their other online banking services (I checked). Instead they still require that I physically go to a branch office and fill out the needed paperwork. Not very efficient.
Little did I know what I was in for, and it’s still not over yet as I write this. Here’s the scenario:
Prior to my first visit
I called the bank to find out exactly what information I’d need to have for the wire transfer. They told me that in addition to my account information I needed the recipient bank name, the swift number and the person’s name and account number. I also asked my colleague to confirm for me what her bank needed, which she emailed to me.
Armed with all that information I went to my local branch to complete the transfer.
"I’m sorry but we don’t do wire transfers on Saturdays. You’ll need to come back during the week."
"I’m sorry but we don’t do wire transfers after 2:00pm. You’ll need to come back another day before 2:00pm." (I had gone to the bank at 4:00pm after I’d picked up my son from school.)
"I’m sorry but we need more information on this form. You didn’t provide the address of the bank or of the recipient."
So what they’d advised on the phone wasn’t correct. I’d also provided all the information needed by the recipient bank.
My comment to the bank teller: "Next time will be my 4th visit to try to handle this one transaction. This is nuts. " (And I told her about coming in Saturday and Monday and what they’d told me then, too.)
Her response: "Oh, it must be frustrating for you."
No apology for all this?! Unbelievable.
The Importance of Good Service
Good personal service is so important but is certainly lacking with this absurd experience.
- I wasn’t provided with complete information in my initial phone inquiry,
- the teller Saturday could have advised me of the hours they handle wire transfers,
- the tellers Saturday or Monday could have provided me with the form to fill out that I finally received today.
Better information would have eliminated all these unnecessary trips to the bank.
If I could have handled this transaction online, I would have avoided 4 trips to the bank, over an hour of unbillable time so far running back and forth to the bank, and most importantly to me—my colleague would have her payment by now.
Clearly I’ve gotten used to the convenience of being able to handle so much business online. Wire transfers seem like a natural part of daily online business, especially since it’s offered in multiple ways online, such as via PayPal, Western Union, and many other banks and credit unions. Bank of America is huge and offers many online banking services already. I’m surprised wire transfers aren’t yet part of that.
cc: Branch Manager, Bank of America
[In fairness to them, I’m giving a copy of today’s column to the local branch manager, and I’ll be happy to write about how this scenario ends up.]
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