How To Destroy Customer’s Trust In Your Service

Had this not come right on the heels of my HP customer service debacle I probably wouldn’t of thought too much of it, but I can’t help but be struck by it today. It’s August 27th, and my banking card is set to expire at the end of this month. I’ve been aware of this ever since I got my card because it has the expiration date printed right there in big numbers on the front of the card.

So last month, in the middle of July, I called my bank up and I asked them, “Since my banking card will expire at the end of August, how do I get a new one?”

And they very politely told me, “Don’t worry, we’ll send you a new one.”

“Great,” I said. “When will I get it?”

“Well,” the friendly bank representative told me, “We normally ship them a few weeks before the card expires. If I were you, I’d call back in August and ask again at that time.”

So everything seemed to be taken care of. I went about my July and when August rolled around, I called the bank again. It was August 10th, and I spoke to someone I hadn’t spoken to before from my bank. I asked him the same questions as before and was told that it seemed my card was to be shipped to me tomorrow, the 11th and that I’ll be getting the card in a week or two.

Now it’s the 27th and I still don’t have my card. So I called my bank up again. “Hello,” I said in what I tried to make a pleasant tone of voice, “I’m calling because I was told twice before that I’d be recieving a replacement banking card for the one I currently have, which is going to expire in what’s become a mere 4 days. Where is the replacement?”

After asking for my name and information, the very friendly banking representative said, “That’s strange,” which made me roll my eyes in what, if she could only see me, she would have to perceive as the ultimate expression of the opposite of shock. “I don’t know why you were told we had shipped you a replacement card,” she began, “because I’m only showing a classic card being issued. Not shipped.”

“A classic card?” I ask, still trying to maintain that pleasant tone of voice.

“It’s a card you can only use at an ATM,” the friendly representative explains to me.

“Ah. That’s not going to work for me,” I tell her.

“No, I imagined not,” she replies, and without missing a beat continues, “so, um, le me see if…uhm, could you hold on for just a second, Sir?”

I oblige her (what else would I do?) and wait for a few minutes. The hold music plays. I’m actually impressed by the selection. It’s a jazz rendition that reminds me of some Thelonious Monk track I have in my iTunes library but can’t remember the name. Afterall, how many companies do you know would put jazz music on the line as they put customers on hold? Well, in case you don’t know what to answer or don’t feel like doing the research to find out, thanks to my recent experiences, I can tell you that very few departments of very few companies choose jazz as their hold music.

But I digress. The friendly banking representative finally returns some minuets later and, after thanking me for holding, tells me, “So, I do apologize because your card hasn’t been shipped yet so I’ve gone ahead and issued you a new card right now—it’s a Visa card because that’s what everyone’s moving to these days—and you should have it by the first because I’ve also shipped it by airbill.”

I thanked her very much for her efforts, but didn’t tell her that I’ll be calling back tomorrow anyway because I have no way, except for her friendly nature, of knowing for sure that she actually did anything that she said she did, especially considering the previous two friendly representatives I spoke to must either be confused, illiterate, vindictive, and/or completely incompetent at their job, which in these instances was to simply tell me what their banks records said.