Taking Care of the Details


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Greetings.  Mergers are a brilliant idea…if you’re not a customer or an employee. Or so it seemed just last week when I made the odd decision to use our company’s brand new twenty-year-old line of credit.  If that sounds like a contradiction in terms, it is.  Because we had come to think of our line of credit as an unpretentious but essential member of the family.  There whenever we needed him or her to help us start a new project, buy office equipment and supplies, or cover payroll until the check from a customer arrived.  But often just hanging out.  A security blanket for times when we needed a bit of extra cash.  And I guess I imagined that he or she would always be there–assuming, of course, that we paid the modest annual fee, repaid the amount we borrowed quickly, and maintained our happy credit rating. All assumptions that seemed perfectly reasonable if there hadn’t been a merger.

You see, our bank, a.k.a. Wachovia, was recently acquired (i.e., the real name for a “merger”) by another bank, a.k.a. Wells Fargo, and in the process of “merging” they decided to close our twenty-year-old Wachovia line of credit and replace it with a brand new Wells Fargo credit line.  For the sake of full disclosure, I have nothing against Wells Fargo.  In fact, I got my very first savings account at the Wells Fargo branch on the corner of College and Ashby Avenues in Berkeley, California.  But that was in the 1960’s when banks really were like members of your family.  And while they probably meant well in changing my account, they forgot to take care of a few small details.  The most frustrating of which was the fact that they hadn’t figured out how to connect this new line of credit to our existing corporate checking account.  The one that serves as the life blood of our business.  Or to send checks so we could transfer funds the old fashion way.  So when it came time to rely on this new friend, I discovered that it was just about impossible to use this source of funds.  And so did five Wachovia customer service representatives who tried valiantly to solve the problem.  First in our branch where they made call after call to the very corners of the vast Wells Fargo empire trying to finding a colleague who could help.  Only to be told to try another number.  And another.  And another.  Until the final number informed them that it was closed for the day.  Then, in their frustration, they suggested that I might do better by calling headquarters myself the next day.  Which I did and, after almost two hours on the phone, found someone who kinda sorta created a workaround to move the desired funds into their desired temporary home.  And who promised that they would have a more permanent solution before the next total eclipse of the sun.

The only saving grace of this experience was realizing that this giant corporation treated it’s own employees, albeit it’s acquired stepchildren, about as well as it treated it’s customers.  After all, you never want to feel that you are the only one getting lost in (customer service) translation.  


Republished with author's permission from original post.

Alan Gregerman
Alan Gregerman is an award-winning author, consultant and keynote speaker who has been called "one of the most original thinkers in business today" and "the Robin Williams of business consulting." His work focuses on helping companies and organizations to unlock the genius in all of their people in order to deliver the most compelling value to their customers.


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