Thursday, July 4, 2013

Why I want to rip out my own spleen and beat CIBC over the head with it.

There are some organizations that I have to deal with repeatedly, where I dread using their customer service because deep down I know before I even start that they're not going to be easy to deal with, and after a lot of hard work coercing them to do the job that you'd think they were installed to do, I'm likely to have to escalate the issues anyway and the whole thing is just a waste of my time and theirs.

CIBC is one such organization for me.

There's a litany of issues ranging over the years, ranging from common issues like they've taken my deposits and put them in someone else's account to absolute "WTF?" moments like in the past 18 months when I've triggered an internal investigation at the bank due to staff fouling up something they should never have been meddling with in the first place.  As a result, I've been slowly migrating my business away from CIBC, the most recent being my mortgage.

Now, I'm not a particularly valuable customer to CIBC, as I'm a very very small minnow compared to some of the fish they deal with, but despite this, I do have access to a very special alarm within the bank due to the fact that I've had such a consistently negative experience.  So I have to give some kudos to whomever the executive was that determined I need that emergency brake.

But the point is I really shouldn't require it EVERY TIME I DEAL WITH THE BANK.

Here's the latest…

For the umpteenth time, I wasn't receiving statements.  This resulted in the usual passel of people with condescending phone personalities phoning me to ask where payments are for a certain credit card.  So, a few weeks back, I snapped.  

I put it to CIBC that they really should be able to email me my statements like I've requested in the past.  Canada Post is a joke and in this day and age, there's really no need to use paper or postage for a statement.  CIBC agreed and said that they can now actually offer me emailed statements!

Really?  Sign me up!

So I get palmed off to VISA as apparently this isn't handled by the bank.  
"Oh yes, we can email you your statements!  Let me confirm we have the correct email address…"

So, apparently at this point, I had totally miss-assessed the situation.  Here's what I thought was happening:
1) I've so far asked CIBC to email me the statements.
2) CIBC said they can email me the statements.
3) Visa clarified my email address, so CIBC can email me the statements.

You might be inclined to think that CIBC is going to email me my statements at this point?  
Wrong. That's not what is happening at all.  No statement is emailed.  Ever.

Instead, they post the statement to that infernal website of theirs, then ping you via email to go look at it.  Additionally, what they also don't tell you, but was a lovely surprise when I discovered it, is that by moving your credit card over by talking to a Visa representative, Visa also triggers all non-visa products at CIBC to also move over as well.

I hate surprises at the bank.  Even good surprises.  Banking should NEVER have surprises.  It needs to be boring, dependable and understood.  

Anyway, what CIBC had done to this point had naturally led to a problem:  Now, my statements are all electronic and there's a drop down box that asks you what account you'd like to view.  Go on…  Have a wild stab-in-the-dark guess at what one item is not on that list.  Yes, it's the credit card.  My checking account is there.  And I can view the statement for that account, but not the credit card one that was explicitly requested to be emailed to me.

So, I put in the concomitant request via CIBC's website to customer service to look at it.  Of course, I already knew before I started that process as to what was going to happen.  Here's the formula for CIBC's customer service:

service recieved != (service required x urgency).

What this translates to in English, is you get bombarded with offers for stuff you don't want. But when you want something, you don't get it.  

Applied to my current predicament where CIBC has now totally removed any and all access to statements, they responded to my customer service request with the following.

The reason I can see my checking account statement and not my credit card account statement is either my browser is not supported, I have a pop-up blocker, or Acrobat is incorrectly installed, if it's installed at all.

Yeah, they also know what I do for a job, which is why this type of feable fobbing off of issues is just insulting.

Now, as I mentioned earlier, I can go and pull an emergency brake here, but I really shouldn't have to.

I know what's likely to happen next at CIBC.  Someone will apologise for an automated system not understanding my customer service issue, they will apologise for the lack of clarity in communicating processes, and they will apologise for yet another cock-up that can be added to the long list that is my existing customer experience with the bank.

What needs to happen is this:
1)  Don't roll out crappy automated systems that fob off customers with incorrect answers to questions that weren't asked.  If you're apologising for what is deemed as "here's what CIBC did to put our best foot forward", then you're obviously doing it wrong.
2)  Take pride in your customer service - audit and read what is being sent out.
3)  Give me a reason to not pull that alarm that was put there because of this inherently poor level of service.

EDIT - Thursday 7PM.

So, someone responded from the bank.  This is what they said:

"Dear Mr. Coulls, 

Thank you for taking the time to write to us. 

I'm sorry for the incorrect response that you received. 

To maintain our service level commitment to you, we sometimes use the automated response capability of our software to help send a quicker reply. Accuracy and clarity are among our top priorities, however errors do occur. To minimize the possibility of error, we regularly test the automated function of our system and manually review the responses that are sent out. This process also allows us to track your suggestions for system or product enhancements. 

Thank you for taking the time to write back. In response to your original question, I apologize for the inconvenience caused to you. 

Our findings have determined that there is an issue on our end that is preventing you from successfully retrieving your eStatements. 

I have forwarded your message to our Technology Team to implement a fix on your profile. You should be able to access your eStatements within the next few days."

OK - So this is good news as apparently it's being looked at as an issue on the back end....  ...oh wait...  No, it's not on the back end.  The CIBC twitter team got involved and they said this:

"@coulls We have forwarded your concerns to Credit Card Services. A representative will reach out to you within 2 business days. Thanks. ^HK"

If only they would just email the statements like CIBC originally said they could do, all this would be cleared up.