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Tom Hoffman | March 19, 2013

Demonstrating Cross-Organizational Incompetence to Customers

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left hand right hand.jpgI find it bewildering whenever I interact with a company and, seemingly, the left hand of the organization doesn't seem to know what the right hand is doing. Have you ever encountered this? Let me share a recent interaction I had with my bank to illustrate this.

The bank that my wife and I have used for the past 15 years recently left us a rather urgent sounding voice message requesting that we call them back without leaving any additional details about the nature of the call. Based on previous experiences with the bank, I surmised that the message may have been related to unauthorized use of our credit/debit card, so I called them right back. For privacy reasons, I've decided not to disclose the name of the bank but suffice it to say they are classified as a "super-regional" bank.

When I called the bank, I was promptly placed on hold. After about five minutes, I was connected to an agent. After describing the nature of my call, the agent informed me that she would need to connect me to a "private banking specialist" to look into the nature of the call. After waiting on hold for another five minutes, I was finally connected to an agent who was able to look into the issue and she found...nothing. I was told there were no "tags" on our account or electronic post-it notes that would indicate that there was any mischievous activity involving our account or any other activity that was out of the ordinary.

The agent then apologized for the confusion and we parted ways. At which point I found myself saying to no one in particular, "There goes 10 minutes of my life I'll never get back."

After reviewing the incident, it's altogether possible that the bank may have detected some questionable activity on one of our accounts that it was able to resolve, which might explain the missing paper trail. But I'll never know this for sure. One thing is for certain: the episode generated one of those eyebrow-raising moments where you have to question the competence of a bank (in this case) to manage our accounts ably.

Because we have a history of consistent interactions with this bank, I'm willing to let this one incident slide for now. But I'll definitely keep a closer watch on my transactions with this bank and make sure that it's not making any mistakes in our error.


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