A Shocking Tale of
Extraordinary Customer Service
A friend called me a few
months ago to tell me that he was recently injured and had to go on temporary
disability. He said he was having a hard time financially and the doctor didn’t
want him to return to work right away. He has a teenage daughter and is a
single parent. He asked for my advice, and I suggested he apply for a mortgage
modification, which he did.
Last week he called me again
to tell me that he was back at work, but was still trying to catch up with his
bills. Unfortunately, his bank, Wells Fargo had turned him down for the
mortgage modification and he was worried he wouldn’t be able to make future
payments. Wells Fargo had suggested he reapply in person during the three-day
workshops they were holding at the Oakland Convention Center. He had made an
appointment and asked me to accompany him for moral support.
His appointment was today at
3:00 PM. At 2:30 he called and said he didn’t see the point, but I said some
encouraging words and he decided to go.
I didn’t know what to expect.
Wells Fargo is huge, and he had already been turned down, because his debt to
income ratio and his expenses were too high.
As soon as we entered the
convention center, there were people to greet us. They smiled, welcomed us, and
let us know they were there to help, as they accompanied him to registration.
From the first smile, I could feel his tension lesson.
His first step was to meet
with Adela, a representative who reviewed his financials. She spoke with him about
his bills, and he told her that he had cut way back on expenses since he had
first applied. She was encouraging, and told him that he had several options.
She let him know that there were a lot of other people in the same situation,
and she wanted him to be able to keep his house. There were no lectures, no
judgment, just kindness and empathy.
He began to feel hopeful as
she walked him over to the next person, Ernesto, who was going to run the
numbers and possibly give him the verdict. Ernesto offered him a cookie, which
he accepted. He told me that as soon as he ate the cookie, he knew that he
would be ok. Ernesto smiled, looked him in the eye asked him about his
situation. He was comfortable opening up and talking. My friend told me that he
had been embarrassed about his situation since he had never had to ask for
financial help before, but when he spoke with Ernesto, he was treated like a
peer, and with great respect.
All of a sudden I saw my
friends’ face light up, he sat up a little straighter, with a big smile on his
face. I knew he had gotten the
help he wanted but had been too afraid to hope for. “I can’t believe it, they
lowered my interest rate three points, and I don’t have to make a payment for
another five weeks,” he said as walked over to where I was waiting. His step
was lighter, and he told me, “Wells Fargo has a customer for life, and I’m
going to let everyone know about the care I got.”
With Twitter, Facebook,
Linked-in, etc. reports of bad customer service can go viral, but it’s important
that examples of extraordinary empathy, and problem solving get posted and go
viral in the clouds and blogosphere.
Creating workplaces where people love to do their best work and
customers love to do business
Simma Lieberman Associates
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