Customer Reviews Can Lower the Customer Experience

Have you been fooled by a company you have done business with for many, many years? When I say fooled, I mean the broken kind of trust fooled. And yes Seth, I do want to talk about it. It involves customer reviews and how a bank could lower the customer experience.
customer reviews
Build customer reviews.
This review is one that my daughter and her husband had with their credit union. It turns out it is our credit union also.
You can’t fool people all the time, not even most of the time. And people, once unfooled, talk about the experience.
Seth Godin
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Michelle and Matt are the victims here. They were in the process of a mortgage approval with another bank (purchasing a new home and the builders company offered a good deal and speedy approval). During the process, they received a telephone call from the new banker wanting to know what the payments of $836 over the past nine months to their credit union were for. They had no idea.


Related post: Simplify Customers Lives for Remarkable Experiences
But here was the deal. The credit union was charging them $3 each to transfer money from their savings to their checking account for the first six transfers each month. After the first 6, the fee for the transfer was $25 for each transfer. This was going on for nine months with no communication from the credit union whatsoever (totaling $836 of fees during that time). So $836 in fees for using their money. When they called for an explanation, the banks only response in that was their policy on fees for that type of transfer.  End of explanation.
Their next move was letters to the bank CEO and the member services committee, explaining the situation.
Customer reviews can lower the customer experience
Here is a copy of their letter:
We have been Visions Credit Union members since we graduated from college 15 years ago. Until now, Visions is the only bank with whom we have done business. The same is true for my husband. That is something that will change. Let us explain.
Over the last few weeks, we have been in the process of buying a new house and selling our old one. As a result, we have been in the process of a loan certification process. One question that surprised us was why we had paid Visions $836 over the last nine months to use our money. In doing research on the question, we realized you had charged us a $3.00 service charge to transfer automatically from our savings account to our checking account. And to top that, once we reached six transfers per month the service charge went to $25 per transfer.
We went back over our correspondence with Visions and could find no notification of the change in your process adding service charges to move our money from one account to the other.  We accept responsibility for not reviewing our account on a regular basis. But to our defense, a sense of trust was involved on our part. That was obviously a big mistake.
After our research on the issue, we immediately called Visions to discuss the issue and seek a refund. Your response: there was nothing you were going to do because your process was to respond to appeals only and we had 30 days to appeal each service charge. This is a very poor response for 15-year loyal customers holding a mortgage, home equity loan, and a respectable amount of money in our savings and checking accounts. We asked why this had happened, and your response was that this was according to your policy. We asked why, when we had over $10,000 in our accounts, we were being charged anything? Again, we were told that was your policy.
We are sending this letter to you, as bank CEO, because we feel it was important for you to hear concerns such as these, directly from your members and not your staff. We believe it is a crucial reason you are losing valuable customers.
We accept responsibility for not checking our account each month. But we trusted we would hear from you if there were issues. But that was not the case.
Given that we have researched what other banks do in similar situations (nothing close regarding fee policies) and our lack of trust in your bank, we will be selecting a new bank.
Why are we sending this letter directly to you? It is simple. You apparently are the only one with an ability to deal with this issue and consider changing your policies.
Matt and Michelle Ellis

the response
The response was well done.
So what was the response? The Vice President in charge of Member Services called our daughter and could not have been more apologetic. He said that he and the CEO had been with the credit union a little over a year and were in the process of reviewing all fee processes and putting them in line with their competitors. These fees were clearly not good policy or in line with the competition. He returned the $836 in fees completely.

Customer reviews … how to enhance customer experience

He also stated that they were giving the branch manager much more ability to make decisions with customers. Certainly much needed, don’t you think?
(Want to see how another company handled a bad situation? …  How Marriott Courtyard Turned Customer Failure into Service Recovery)


Key takeaways


All we can say is that good customer experiences start and end with effective communications. In this case, the absence of communications created the significance of the surprise, didn’t it? They also greatly depend on keeping up with the competition … it is a comparative thing.
And finally, employee empowerment is a necessity. Without good empowerment, things can get out of hand in a hurry.
                                      Do you have an Integrated Marketing Strategy?
Do you have a lesson about making your customer focus better that you can share with this community? Have any questions or comments to add in the section below?
So what’s the conclusion? The conclusion is there is no conclusion. There is only the next step. And that next step is completely up to you.
It’s up to you to keep improving your customer attention and focus. Lessons are all around you. In many situations, your competitor may be providing the ideas and or inspiration. But the key is in knowing that it is within you already.
All you get is what you bring to the fight. And that fight gets better every day you learn and apply new lessons.
When things go wrong, what’s most important is your next step.
Try. Learn. Improve. Repeat.
Are you devoting enough energy to improving your continuous learning for yourself and your team?
Need some help in building better customer trust from your customer experiences?  Creative ideas to help grow your customer relationships?
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Call Mike at 607-725-8240.
All you get is what you bring to the fight. And that fight gets better every day you learn and apply new ideas to make your customer experiences better.
When things are not what you want them to be, what’s most important is your next step. Call today.
Test. Learn. Improve. Repeat.
Are you devoting enough energy to improving your continuous learning for yourself and your team?
Mike Schoultz is the founder of Digital Spark Marketing, a digital marketing and customer service agency. With 40 years of business experience, he blogs on topics that relate to improving the performance of your business. Find them on G+Twitter, and LinkedIn.  
Digital Spark Marketing will stretch your thinking and your ability to adapt to change.  We also provide some fun and inspiration along the way. Call us for a free quote today. You will be amazed how reasonable we will be.
More reading on customer experience from our Library:
12 Ways Doctors Can Create Remarkable Patient Experiences
Simplify Customers Lives for Remarkable Experiences
Disney World Customer Experience Design … a Difference Maker
My Best Examples of Customer Experience Stories
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Customer Reviews Can Lower the Customer Experience

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