Three Ways to Lose My Business

This illustration is courtesy of First Citizens Bank. They purchased the FDIC-closed Venture Bank out of Lacey, WA a year ago. I loved Venture, so First Citizens has a high bar set for them, which they have not only missed, more kinda limboed under. The following story is a great example of why more companies need to take customer service best practices seriously. At no point in my interaction with First Citizens did I feel that the customer experience was satisfactory and now I will be taking my business elsewhere as a result.

So without further adieu, here are the three ways that First Citizen’s bank nailed the coffin that contained my business with them:

First, have dumb policies. I love policies that make no logical sense. Case in point, last month I noticed a mystery charge on my business account online, so I contacted customer service. The charge was explained as one of their policies, where the type of online account I had 10 free image views of checks/deposits, and additional are charged at $.75 each. Seriously? (Yes, it probably was in the fine print they’d sent after the takeover of Venture, but that’s not the point.) For technology infrastructure that is already in place and for which these additional views cost nothing extra, you’ll charge me? The bigger problem, as I replied to the agent, was that there were multiple times where the images were not loading, so I closed the window and reloaded, and I certainly was not willing to pay for those. After telling him about these issues, a friend of mine even suggested that I change my business account to another bank service similar to Atlantic Union Bank since I didn’t agree with the policy. I think I might take his advice and look for a different banking service in my local area.

Second, especially if by some additional dumb policies, enable customer service to be condescending. The reply I received offered me, as a one-time courtesy, to halve the charge. Gee, I guess I should be grateful, right?

Thirdly, don’t follow your own dumb policies. The problem with these charges and the reply from customer service is that the charges are based on an accounting of the images I allegedly viewed. As such, it would seem appropriate to support those numbers with an audit, and any identically images that the system claimed I’d viewed within seconds of each other would be the problematic ones for which I should not be charged. It’s not rocket science.

Still waiting for the reply, but frankly, it doesn’t matter. We’ve been planning to move both my business account and personal accounts–this was just the kick in the pants to get it done.