Technology

Hold Companies Accountable

I could share some great horror stories with you on my history with banks and credit cards. Some of it has admittedly been my fault but most of it is the ridiculous actions of banks. I wonder how these guys sleep at night… massive profits, bailouts, executive bonuses and ridiculous overage fees haven’t even budged them to improve their systems.

Here’s a great example… my business credit card has been turned off twice while traveling. Prior to both trips, I informed the bank that I would be traveling and to ensure I wasn’t flagged. The calls were a waste of time – I was shut off twice for suspicious activity. Twice was enough… and the antiquated online system and lack of support on weekends and nights finally made me return to a huge bank. We’ll call them JP.

JP has a pretty awesome online system. JP has foreign wire capabilities. JP has an app where I can deposit a check by taking a photo of it. JP even has payroll capabilities with my account. Perhaps the cooles thing… JP assigned me a personal banker. What’s a personal banker? It’s someone that I have to email and call each time I have a problem. My personal banker then tells me the 1-800 number to call for help. A vast improvement over the old system of just calling the 1-800 number in the first place. [Yes, that’s sarcasm]

BTW: My personal banker is a sweetheart and I know she’s trying to help me as much as she can. It doesn’t fix the problem, though.

This weekend, I needed to order some airline tickets for the Engage conference in San Francisco at the end of this month. First I used Kayak and the credit card failed. Next I used the Delta.com site and it failed. Both times it said that my address didn’t match my account. The only problem with that is my address is entered precisely the same way on both sites so there isn’t really a discrepancy. Rather than hang up, I stood by on hold while the Delta representative personally called my bank to verify the address. (Pretty nice of Delta!)

The Delta representative returned and told me that my bank told them my address provided didn’t match. Now I’m upset. Next in line is my personal banker. My personal banker gets in touch with technical support and they recommendation that I try my address with or without the Zip4 on my zip code. Seriously.

The Delta site doesn’t allow for a Zip4 extension, so the time lost between my emails and my personal banker’s calls to her support team have been a wash. I let my personal banker know that it’s still not working. Four days later and I don’t have the tickets.

At this point you may wonder why I don’t just pick up one of my other cards and pay for the ticket. Why? Because this is supposed to work. This is what a business credit card is for… for doing things like booking travel, buying equipment, etc. I do have other ways of buying the ticket and I’m sure most people have thwarted the system and done that.

But I’m not going to.

We all honestly put up with too many workarounds in our life. We put up with software errors, bank issues, phone issues, Internet issues… our lives aren’t getting easier with all of this stuff, it’s becoming more complex. And as we add more complexity, we find more problems. At the heart of all of these problems is the fact that we’ve come to expect workarounds and no longer hold companies accountable. It’s easier to pick up another credit card than keep calling and emailing my personal banker.

But tomorrow I’m going to lose some more productivity on the phone in and in email with my personal banker. Her productivity is (unfortunately) going to suffer, as is the technology team that she’s working with. I’m going to make sure that this gets fixed – so that others don’t have to go through what I’m going through.

If we all held companies accountable, we’d continue to improve and we’d all benefit from it.

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