We’re back on the subject of customer service. Because in this country it’s a lost art.
I don’t know if I’ve mentioned that I’ve been going to Toastmasters for the last year. Maybe I did. My Dad was a toastmaster. My Aunt was a Toastmistress back before 1973 when they officially brought women into Toastmasters.
Everybody talks about, or more importantly, pays lipservice to the Nordstrom customer service dictum. Few come close to it in practice. One of the gals in my club is a relationship manager for Nordstom here. She’s been with the company for 17 years having started out as a cashier. She knows the Nordstrom principles. On Monday she talked about how they were applied in her store. She read a letter from a customer who had a minor fire and lost five garmets she had just purchased. Nordstrom replaced all five, way more than the woman was expecting. That’s customer service.
Today’s whipping boy is Wells Fargo. I have a short sale about to close. Up until yesterday, they had been stellar. Yesterday they lost me. I have a cash deal on a little condo. When we started the condo had the trifecta going for it. A construction defect lawsuit, the HOA dues had a delinquency rate over 15% and the owner occupancy rate was off, making it almost impossible to finance. By the time I sold it, the FHA approval on the complex had also expired. After four months on the market, I had exactly one offer. Luckily, unlike other agents, I price my shorts sales at the median for the market for that property and then slash the price every 10-14 days. So when the bank came back and countered the buyer on this little piece of shit condo I was able to say “Hey, I tried that price and it didn’t sell, here’s a copy of the MLS history.” I had my approval in two hours. Then the games began.
My homeowner hadn’t paid her dues even though I told her to. That resulted in us having to go to a collections company to get the demand for the HOA dues. We had a 10 day escrow. I called the collection company only to be told that I couldn’t talk to anyone that they had 10 days to get us the demand and that was that. I could pay an extra $75 to get my deal expedited but otherwise it would just work through the system. I called and badgered and did my social engineering thing and was still unable to crack them. “I’m sorry you feel that way, but it’s our policy….” Quit saying you’re sorry. You aren’t your just reading a freaking script you’re a trained monkey.
Finally at 4:45 last Friday night they send the demand. In defense of this escrow officer who I did not pick, she turned the HUD around in 15 minutes. I tracked down my seller over the weekend and we had the HUD back over to the bank by 8:30 Monday morning. Except my closer is on vacation. Her email informs me that her email is being monitored, but gives me no hope as to who might be able to help me. I call the 800 number on the bottom of her email and am told that they have 24-48 hours to approve the final HUD. OK, I’ll be patient. Until around 3pm when I call again. Has anybody checked it? Oh we have it but we have 24-48 hours to review it. Is there anyone I can talk to? Let me try your closer. My closer is on vacation. Nothing.
First thing Tuesday morning I’m on the phone. Same shit. Different day. Then around 1pm I come up with a new tack. If they approve this right now, it will record Wednesday morning and the bank will be paid off on Wednesday via wire. If not, it won’t be approved until Wednesday and won’t be recorded until Thursday. They can actually gain a day’s interest by reacting a little faster. This guy gets it, but is unable to find anyone to answer a phone call. He forwards my request to a manager. 3pm nothing from the bank yet, I call back again. You have to know that these are call centers and under no circumstances are they allowed to actually solve a problem. And that’s a pathetic failure of customer service.
I call back again at 3pm. This is the money call. This trained monkey tells me that they have 24-48 business hours to respond. BUSINESS HOURS? I bellow. What the hell is that? She repeats that they have 24-48 business hours to respond. I can’t believe this stupid shit just said that twice. And I tell her so. There is no such goddamn thing as business hours you ignorant barely trained monkey. “I’m sorry you feel that way.” NO YOU AREN”T. You are reading a goddamned script and you could give a damn how I feel. Then she proceeds to tell me that HUD has to approve my HUD. Are you freaking kidding me? HUD doesn’t approve HUDs. It’s a freaking government form. Wells Fargo, the morons that hired your stupid ass away from the porn call center where you used to work approves the HUD. Escalate this call. I can’t. You can’t or you won’t? I can’t. Do you have a freaking manager? No. What? No. So you come to work whenever you feel like it and leave whenever you feel like it and they pay you whatever you want because there is no manager in place? No. Then let me talk to the person who makes those decisions for you. One moment please, is there anything else I can do to help you today? You haven’t done a goddamn thing to help me today so don’t pretend like you have any use in this situation, you don’t. I’m sorry you feel that way. Holy shit.
The sixth call to the same number failed to yield anything of use. In another 75 minutes it will be 48 hours, not 48 business hours since I sent the final HUD to Wells Fargo, we’ll see what happens next.