Long personal story…. Please read knowing that all businesses, no matter their reputations, have countless great employees who don’t misbehave and/or don’t appreciate how their employers conduct business. It’s a conundrum we all face with businesses. Unless my issue is with a specific person, I in no way wish for people reading my words to think I’m painting all employees of any business with a broad brush of accusation.
A couple of years ago, I shared a story with you about Arvest mistreating my wife. An ATM failed to give her $400. She reported it immediately and Arvest fixed the error. Months later, without notice, they reached into her checking account without permission and without telling her and took the same $400 back out. There was no appeal. They had waited months, after all video evidence was gone, and without following up. Dawn politely worked to get the error fixed. Not only did she not get the error fixed, but a couple of the people working at the bank had an attitude which was dismissive, as if Dawn somehow had lied about what happened. Dawn’s feelings were hurt, to say the least. She’s polite and was certain that logic and patience would fix the problem. No one at the bank cared.
Dawn responded by deciding to leave Arvest, after many years of doing business with them. She took all of her accounts and later we got another mortgage to get away from their shenanigans.
Just because I can, I have also frequently picked on Arvest on social media. I’ve been polite, but I’ve satirically jabbed at them a few hundred times and made several memes to poke fun at the bank.
Yesterday, before coming home, we stopped at our community mailbox and checked the mail. I handed the mail to Dawn, who was seated in the passenger seat. I told her, “Look, you got a big check from Arvest,” and laughed. We joked that it was one of those fake mailers, especially since it didn’t have postage. Also, we had never given Arvest our new address, having wiped them off our feet before we ever decided to move.
I told Dawn to open the Arvest envelope. Lucky for us, she did, instead of discarding it. Inside was a check addressed to Dawn, in the amount of $400. In read, in part: “…during a review… we determined one of more disputes was denied in error. Due to this error, we are enclosing a check…” It was an unsigned form letter with no explanation as to how they got Dawn’s address, nor did it contain any sort of apology.
The look on Dawn’s face was priceless.
More than the $400 Dawn got in the mail, the admission that Arvest screwed up a couple of years ago when we said they did is worth much, much more than that. It should have never happened, because Dawn would have stayed with the bank for the rest of her life, if possible. Now we have the magical words in writing and those words all this time later prove that we weren’t lying or crazy: Arvest took $400 of Dawn’s money without cause and worsened the problem by strangling us with bureaucracy and apathy.
It’s easy to get a customer, but very difficult to get one back after you’ve mistreated them. You should never let a customer walk all over you, but you should also remember that customers are people. The $400 is nice, but nicer still would have been for one person at Arvest a couple of years ago willing to stand up and say, “Enough. We can’t do this to a customer. It is our error.”
PS: You should always address customer service issues or old business before taking any steps toward acquiring new business. The disgruntled folks are going to eat your lunch telling their stories.