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Customer Service Gone Wrong

TempAn article in Ad Age details a scripted, annoying customer interaction at Chase bank. The customer waits on line for a teller and is encouraged to use an ATM instead (with a longer line). The conversation seems relentless:

"I can stand with you by the ATM and walk you through it -- it's really easy," he said.

Oh God. He was obviously working off some sort of script.

"Right, yeah," I said, "I've used them before. I'd just prefer to deal with a teller today." Head back down, eyes on my iPhone.

"Can I ask why?" (Oh jeez.)

The killer line was this rationale for using the machine: "You know, if you use one of the ATMs, you reduce stress for him [the teller]." Although the representative claimed the bank is adding tellers, it didn't take long for the writer to find headlines about Chase laying off 5,000 employees.

Encouraging people to use technology may be good for business, but customer service people need to read social cues to know when to end a conversation—and they should get the facts straight.

Image source.

Discussion:

  • Read the article for more detail. What verbal and body language cues did the bank representative miss?
  • What should the rep have said or done differently? What would have made the interaction sound less "scripted"?
  • Did the situation warrant the writer's reaction? Should he have simply done as suggested and used the ATM?