A few months ago I moved into a new office space. It took me four weeks and too-many-phone-calls-to count to get the Internet up and running. In fact, I made sixteen phone calls to the company. At one point I even called the CEO’s office, but got ‘moved’ to a customer service rep (as a colleague at BI said today; only 16….?)
At the time, I thought I had seen this year’s worst customer service. Until today.
Today I received a letter from my “Customer Advisor” – whom I’ve never met – at Nordea Sandnes. After having been a customer of the bank for as a long as I care to remember – and an emotionally connected one at that – I get this letter. After having been a customer at the bank since, well, some 20+ years, I get this letter. Not a phone call, not an invitation. This letter.
In effect, it states, “You do no longer qualify for our premium customer segment. In three months, everything you get from us, everything you do with us, will become more expensive”. (Note to self: Hm, does that count for my corporate accounts as well? I wonder…..)
Let me just say thisto my Customer Advisor: THIS IS NOT YOUR JOB.
Your job is to call me. Book a meeting. Invite me to your plush offices. Get to know me. Understand my present and future needs. Understand my dreams, goals and desires. Understand how you can help me, in turn, get my entire private and corporate business into your bank. Help fund my next ventures. In turn, growing our relationship into a 20+ years affair of mutual respect, understanding and profitability. That’s your job.
But hey, thanks for giving me this nice example of how not to please your customers. It will be a great teaching case for my marketing students for the next two years.
In our marketing teaching, the “United Breaks Guitars” case is one of the most famous ones. Harvard Business School Professor John Deighton and research associate Leora Kornfeld published a 2010 case, writing: “This case dissects an incident in which a disgruntled customer used YouTube and Twitter to spread a music video detailing United’s mishandling of his $3,500 guitar and the company’s subsequent refusal to compensate him. The song was called “United Breaks Guitars.” Within one week it received 3 million views”.
Turns out, a fellow blogger, Beate Sørum, had a similar experience two years ago. She posted it in her blog. The following day, after a few phone calls from Nordea, the case was resolved. Beate’s case and her blog is now required reading in some of BI’s courses on social medias.
Now, I’m just waiting. Whatever happens this will be a great marketing case to teach.
After teaching this as a case in a management course on October 20th, one of the Nordea employees in the class got things started.
Half an hour later I recieved this e-mail (translated by Google translate):
Hello and thanks for last! I tried to reach you on your mobile (92 41 59 49 ) Today, no luck, so I send e-mail instead. I hope it reaches you.
I was told by T.V. (Nordea employee and a friend of yours, I understood) today that you were not particularly happy with us at Nordea Sandnes.
The fact that you are not satisfied, I think the is highly regrettable, Christian! We rely on satisfied customers, and therefore I wanted to call you immediately to talk to you.
Great if you could call me back on ——– when you are available.
With kind regards,
Nordea Bank Norway ASA
Customer Service – tlf.06001
So he called me, I called him, and then, I have not heard a word since. So, like the say, the saga continues….