Yesterday, I awoke to the sound of my phone buzzing on the nightstand.
I answered it assuming it was another automatic message from one of the schools my kids attend. But this time I was jolted awake when the woman on the line said, "We believe your bank account has been compromised."
I grabbed my phone, punched the app to my bank and there it was: my account had been drained.
The women on the line was from the bank's fraud department. She read back the last few transactions on my debit card and we quickly identified the fraudulent charges that had left my bank account balance at $0.00. All this person could do was identify the charges and cancel my debit card. She gave me a number to call to see what could be done about getting my funds back into my account.
Now there are a few times where you absolutely need to speak with a human. You don't want to call 911, an ambulance, the police or the fire department and be met with an automated phone system.
"Please listen to the following options because our menu has changed."
"Please choose from one the following options so we can properly route your call."
"Your call is important to...."
When you call your bank because your account has been hacked, an automated system isn't going to lead to a good experience. So I was a bit surprised when the number I called was answered by a women on the first ring.
Within 15 minutes, a new card was issued and the funds were back in my account. "I won't get off the line until the money is back in your account, and you can verify it from our website." I feel a debt of gratitude to the women who took my call, calmed me down, and fixed the problem.
I speak with many of you when I call to collect feedback about our business and products. And one thing I hear time and time again is how much you appreciate being able to speak to us. It's not always easy because many of our employees feel most comfortable communicating over email. But we are improving, and we try to answer every call, be it for sales or support or any other inquiry. During the busiest times, we return you call as fast as we can.
Personally, I'm at the point where I intentionally do business with as many small businesses as I can because I've found they tend to answer the phone more than the large companies. I recently took my three sons to the barber. I mentioned to him that I wish he were open later on Saturdays. He handed me his card and said, "Call me anytime and I'll come in for you."
How much value do you place on being able to reach a person on the phone?