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Remember Customer Service?

August 17, 2016

As I grow older I’m starting to feel grumpy about changes in our society. I remember being a kid and marching into a bank with my little bankbook to add a few dollars to my account. Back then, schools encouraged kids to open savings accounts as a means of fostering an awareness of money—an awareness lacking in too many children. Walking into a bank as a child was a positive experience; I was always treated nicely and I felt I was given the same attention as adults. I stayed with that bank for decades because of such positive experiences.


At the risk of sounding like Cranky Old Man, one of my favorite bloggers, I’m noticing the rapid decline of customer service. Several weeks ago I was in need of small bills and walked into a Chase Bank to break a hundred dollar bill. It was a perfectly good C-note, not torn or scribbled on, and it was one of the newer ones which I understand are hard to counterfeit. I expected the teller to closely examine my bill, but instead he started grilling me with questions:


“Do you have an account here?”


“Does it matter?” I asked.


The teller looked at me oddly.


“I don’t want to make a deposit,” I said. “I just what to exchange this bill for some tens and twenties. That shouldn’t be a problem for a bank.”


Once more he asked, “Do you have an account here?”


“As a matter of fact, I do.”


He asked for my name and I gave it to him, along with my social security number when it was also requested.


I couldn’t resist asking, “What would happen if I didn’t have an account here?”


He grinned. “I’d tell you to exchange it at the grocery store next door.”


“You won’t break a bill for someone unless they have an account here?”


“That’s our policy.”


“I think it’s a bad policy.”


When he pulled out ink to make impressions of my fingerprints I turned around and walked out of the bank. He made me feel like a criminal just for trying to break a hundred dollar bill. I could understand if it had MY picture on it instead of Ben Franklin’s, not that this teller would have noticed since he barely troubled himself to look at it.


These days Mrs. Chatterbox and I do most of our banking online, but if I have need of a bank you can bet I won’t be contacting Chase Bank.




What about you? Is good customer service dead or has someone recently treated you exceptionally well?




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Sorry to hear about your problem. I agree, customer service is a lost art. But if you think that's bad, try getting a new driver's license (as related in my post Beaten by the Bureaucracy). Anyway, look at the bright side: The ATM is one of modern man's greatest inventions!
By: Tom Sightings on August 17, 2016
I had a problem like that when I was in Chicago and needed quarters for the tolls. I went to some little bank next to my motel and asked to swap a ten for a roll of quarters. They gave me the business about having an account and I'm like, "My bank is back in Michigan!" Finally the manager agreed to let me have the quarters. I don't get it either because I'm not asking them for money; I'm changing an equal amount of currency for a different form. It really can be ridiculous how uptight everyone can be these days.
By: PT Dilloway on August 17, 2016
Service providers have redefined what customer service is all about... putting the customer first is no longer the status quo... common sense has been dropped too... sadly.
By: Daniel LaFrance on August 17, 2016
They wanted your fingerprints? Now that is beyond insane. You're just exchanging money for money.
By: Alex J. Cavanaugh on August 17, 2016
Why in god's name would you use Chase Bank instead of a credit union?
By: Snowbrush on August 17, 2016
They should bring back kids learning about basic budgeting, opening an account and using cash. Did that idiot teller have a small little black mustache? That is insane. I have never heard of fingerprinting someone unless you are arrested. I just went to my bank with a whole bunch of coins to place into my savings. Great treatment. I have seen of areas of customer service that needs improvment.
By: Birgit on August 17, 2016
Have to agree with Snowbrush. Chase is one of the megabanks that has lost its soul (like Citibank, Bank of America, Wells Fargo, etc.). If you want great customer service, go to a local or regional bank or a credit union, and go to the same branch every time so they get to know you by sight. The probable reason for only exchanging the money for you if you are a customer is that if it does later turn out the note is a forgery, they can take the $100 out of your account. Why they need fingerprints when you are a customer is beyond me. Either way, go join a local credit union.
By: messymimi on August 17, 2016
good grief- close your account and stomp over to your friendly credit union-fingerprints? that is over the top and wasn't Chase Bank one of weasel losers in 2008 recession ( I call it a depression )? What I find appalling are the voice mail menus one has to navigate before getting a real person who might speak English. Humpf.
By: Kathe W. on August 17, 2016
On the whole I have had great customer service in this small community. I do have a problem with my Chase credit card account as they changed my statement to electronic and then refuse to let me log-in!!
By: Tabor on August 17, 2016
I'm with you Stephen. That would chap my butt. There are no Chase banks here, but even if they were here, they wouldn't get my business. R
By: Rick Watson on August 17, 2016
By: TexWisGirl on August 17, 2016
Yes, customer service has nose dived. Banks are trying to get out of the retails part of their business. As you said you do most of your banking on line so they are getting rid of the walk in customers..
By: red Kline on August 17, 2016
As a rule, the customer service at my credit union is excellent. Other places, not so much. I used to love AT&T because I could go to the local store and the guys who worked there would do anything I needed. Then they quit--all at the same time, which leads me to believe they were fed up with something. Now I get next to no customer service from AT&T. And they don't care. Most places don't care. They run all these commercials about solving your problems no matter what they are, and then I go to the customer service center or I call and someone says, Well, we don't actually do that here. I know it's on the commercial, but we don't do it. Arrrrrgh! How dare that person ask for your SS# to change a bill. Why in the hell do banks exist? Love, Janie
By: Janie Junebug on August 17, 2016
I'm with you 100%!! I've been asked for a fingerprint when depositing money. When I got my receipt I asked to see the manager and demanded that she put her fingerprint on the receipt. Mrs. C called me a jerk and pulled me away. Just a tip, if you are going to cash a counterfeit bill, a bank is probably a bad place to do it.
By: cranky on August 17, 2016
Customer service is deader than a doornail! I think the reason the banks only want to service you (heh, heh) if you have an account is because they have to pay the people giving service. They're not making any interest off a person who walks in from the street and wants change.
By: Val on August 17, 2016
There is a place where customer service and satisfaction are alive and well-In and Out burger. They are masters of courteous, friendly and quick service. Banks are the worst. Bankers are scum balls.
By: Tom Cochrun on August 17, 2016
When I was last in the States with my younger daughter she had some pounds she wanted to change for dollars, and the bank wouldn't do it because we didn't have an account with them.
By: LL Cool Joe on August 18, 2016
Actually I can see the initial query since the bill could have been a forgery but when they saw you were an account holder, I only see a slight problem. Had the money been fake, there really was still no way to charge your account. How could they prove it was your bad bill? They might have been recently hit with a rash of fake money. My view is skewed as I am a former teller who had to show fake bills taken in deposit on my over/short record.
By: Arkansas Patti on August 18, 2016
Did you know when you take an animal to get it pregnant, it's called servicing? When a human does that, it's called getting screwed. Customer service has become an oxymoron!!
By: fishducky on August 18, 2016
So how come you ask for my email address every time I want to leave a comment on your blog? Eh? Eh?
By: Catalyst on August 18, 2016
I gotta think that, if that happened to me, I'd call the manage over after I got my change. Then I'd tell the both of them. "I'd like to close my account now." Hello, everyone, I'm Al. I'm a cranky old man.
By: Al Penwasser on August 18, 2016
I agree, big banks have no soul. That's why I only use the ATM there. We have a credit union here that we like, you can get cookies and coffee there when you go in!
By: Pixel Peeper on August 18, 2016
I do like knowing people in a bank, but when you need something like that it is often in a strange place...
By: Sage on August 19, 2016
Customer service is a lost art. I am in my 50s and I still remember the good old days when employees went out of their way to help you or at least smiled and said hello. It is not uncommon today to walk in a store, purchase items, check out and walk out and not have a single store employee speak to you, including the cashier who rings your purchase up and takes your money.. (Hmm, was that a double negative or just a run-on sentence?) The sour dispositions are enough to make me seek other places to shop, and online is quickly becoming my go-to big box store, even though that's a scary world in itself with all the identity thefts.
By: Terri on August 19, 2016

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