Tuesday, May 25, 2010
In addition to our primary checking account, I keep a small emergency business fund at this bank, right at the limit which avoids the monthly service fee. A few months ago, they raised the limit by $500, and dutifully, I added $500 to my account.
The problem was that my average account balance still came just under the limit for the month—and by deducting the $10, it put me under the limit for the following month by $0.01. Yes, a penny. That, of course, resulted in another $10 charge that put me further under the limit. You can see where this was headed.
So, I called and pleaded my case that it seemed pretty cruel for a 1-penny shortfall to result in a cascade of $10 charges, and reminded him that we've been long-term customers and keep a fairly large overall sum at their bank. The customer service agent stuck to his guns at first, and there was a bit of back-and-forth.
Ultimately he asked what I wanted as a solution; I said I didn't even care about the original charge, that all I was interested in was the $10.01 which would put me back above the line. He put me on hold and came back with more than I asked for: They wiped both charges. Based on past experience, I am confident that there's no way in hell Wells Fargo or Citi would have done that.
The customer service lesson here is that asking your client what they want is often the fastest route to resolving a problem. The fact that the credit union actually gave me more than I asked for, well, that was just icing on the relationship cake.