Customer service done right, and done wrong

customer service td bank

My Australian career idol, Attila Ovari, has posted several blogs recently about customer service, and how it makes a difference. You can read one here, and the other here.

You’ve maybe read my various rants on the subject. The local grocery store is – not to exaggerate – about as service-oriented as a federal prison. My old bank (whose name rhymes with “Bitizens”) was even worse. They were generally indifferent, and occasionally genuinely rude.

So I quit them, and took my two dollars and seventeen cents, and opened an account at TD Bank, which only recently came to Rhode Island.

It was like the transition from black-and-white to color in “The Wizard of Oz.” The staff at TD Bank are friendly! They hold the door for me, and greet me! They give me free pens, and even dog biscuits! (Well, not for me. They’re dog-friendly, in any case.) The tellers and managers at the downtown Providence location, where I go maybe twice a week, are friendly and chatty without being oppressive or stupid.

Also, I should add, their fee structure is much more client-friendly than that at Bitizens. Before our trip to France, Partner did some checking and found that the dollar-to-Euro exchange rate (including fee) was much better at my bank than at his (he still banks at Bitizens!), so he had me change some money for him there. Then my friend Tab found out the same thing, and had me change some dollars to Canadian currency for him.

Okay. Good customer service, and better rates, and lower fees.

So Partner comes out of Bitizens chuckling the other day. “The teller kept chatting me up,” he said. “He called me by my first name, which he got from my deposit slip. And then he said: ‘You might be getting a call later. They may want to ask you about my customer service.’”

We had a good laugh about that. So now Bitizens is worried about its customer service, and is trying to emulate my bank!

Except that, once again, they’ve got the formula wrong.

This is Partner speaking:

“I can hardly wait. I hope they call me. I’ll give the teller high marks for being very friendly and sociable. I will also tell them that, when we were in Connecticut last week, I was using an out-of-system ATM and accidentally hit the “Check My Balance” button. It gave me my balance, all right. It also charged me three dollars for the privilege.”

How much do you think that electronic transaction actually cost the banks in question? Some fraction of a penny?

Partner has vowed that, as soon as TD Bank opens up a bank in our neighborhood, he’s transferring his account.

Hear that, Bitizens?

(No, you probably don’t.)

About Loren Williams
Gay, partnered, living in Providence, working at a local university. Loves: books, movies, TV. Comments and recriminations can be sent to

3 Responses to Customer service done right, and done wrong

  1. starproms says:

    Ho hum banks!!! dreadful institutions. Now there’s the crisis over in Cyprus. Have you heard about that one? The savers are about to have 10% taken out of their accounts to bolster up the economy – and that’s coming from the Eurozone, which thankfully UK is not in. So now the Cypriots think they’re being victimised by the Germans. To have money in your account one day and then lose 10% of it by the next is unacceptable is it not!!!

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