I believe the reason the US has a stronger economy than the rest of the world is because of our understanding of customer service. The belief that if the customer is kept happy there will, in turn, be a repeat visit and possibly spreading of good news.
So how come one bank understands this while that same premise is lost on another?
Every time I see the Wachovia commercials, their main focus is to express how they have been rated No. 1 in customer satisfaction; you better believe it because I am one of those extremely satisfied customers. Wachovia thrives on keeping their customers happy and will do what it takes to earn and sustain one's business.
Conversely, Washington Mutual sucks! Wamu has no concept of customer service and is only concerned with the money they can make from ridiculous fees. Yes, the company that prides itself on fee free banking is fee hungry!!!! What? How shocking, you say, how can this be, you ask?
I have accounts at both banks, the Wamu account was opened because they had branches in more cities than Wachovia did at the time and I was doing a lot of traveling.
Well, my account had a good bit of money in it and apparently was supposed to maintain a "daily balance", which, by the way, the nonchalant banker who opened the account failed to mention. No big deal, I read the highlights but I have two accounts and did not expect to be charged a fee, even though both accounts added up to more than the required balance.
Wamu charged me a service fee and when I contacted them to see if they would refund the fee they vehemently refused, even though I have had that account with them for over three years and have never dropped below that required balance; even though both my accounts are linked!
I was shocked because when I asked to speak to the manager the response was even ruder with less empathy! Oh, my goodness! I was livid! No matter, I moved the money into the account to maintain that balance as requested when lo and behold, I noticed another service fee.
The reasoning was because by the time I made the transfer it was already another cycle and did not make the daily balance threshold! What?
I was already miffed at the fact that the first time I requested a refund they had refused but it was not going to happen again, no, not this time with my balance correct.
Secondly, Washington Mutual has on several occasions released my personal information to individuals who are not included on my account; imagine that, yet the charge a service fee, humph, for poor service.
I spent most of the morning calling to get my $10 back! I was not asking for the other $20 but this $10, I was getting back. The first four employees I spoke to could care less, it was almost as if they had a recorded response in their brains and were programmed to play it back should a client call with a refund request. One manager was so ridiculous that I asked for her manager who she claimed does not speak to customers. When I asked her to transfer me to another manager she hung up. I kept calling until I finally reached one customer service team that placed the refund but the damage had been done.
I was utterly disgusted by their nonchalance because I know bank managers have a discretionary amount that they can refund to clients. It was just very irritating that this bank did not look beyond those minor accounts I have with them to see that there are several other products that I could potentially need. My accounts have always been in good standing so this should have been an easy fix. Also, the very first time I called about the fee, the first banker I spoke to should have not only refunded that fee but also used that opportunity to educate me on my balance requirements, my dynamic statement cycle and an option to convert the account to a different one should I not continue to maintain the required balance. None of that happened!
Wachovia would have immediately refunded that charge and also gone the extra mile to explain the account features and other account options.
Shame on you, WaMu!!!