It’s actually quite fun to torture them.
This chat transcript says it all.
Current Transcript of the Chat Session
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￼Welcome to an online chat session at Bank of America. Please hold while we connect you to the next available Bank of America Online Banking Specialist. Your chat may be monitored and recorded for quality purposes. Your current wait time is approximately 0 minutes. Thank you for your patience.
￼Thank you for choosing Bank of America. You are now being connected to a Bank of America Online Banking Specialist.
Alfredo: Hello! Thank you for being a valued Bank of America customer! My name is Alfredo. I will be assisting you with your personal accounts today.
You: Your Web site times out too quickly, requiring me to log in again and again. This is a huge waste of time and very frustrating. How can I adjust the timeout interval?
Alfredo: I certainly understand your concern regarding the Web Site.
Alfredo: May I have your full name and last four digits of the account?
You: It’s not one account. It’s all accounts. And I already entered my full name.
Alfredo: Please provide me the last four digits of one of your account and your full name?
You: I really wish they’d let you people think for yourselves and not read off a script.
You: #### Maria Langer
Alfredo: Thank you, Maria.
Alfredo: Maria, We need this information to verify your account information, It is for the security of your account.
Alfredo: To increase the timeout level I request you to please contact directly to our Online banking department.
You: The question I’m asking has nothing to do with my account. It’s your Web site.
Alfredo: They will be able to do this for you.
You: So you can’t help me.
Alfredo: Yes, I understand you.
You: So you wasted my time, made me provide information you didn’t need.
Alfredo: I really wish I could resolve this for you via chat, however, I really apologize, I do not have necessary tools to do that.
You: Why did you ask for information you didn’t need? You had my question. You could tell immediate that you couldn’t help me.
Alfredo: I request you to call at the number they will assist you with this.
You: Why did you continue a conversation that would go nowhere?
You: And what number? You didn’t provide one.
Alfredo: You can call them at 1.800.933.6262. We are available from 7 a.m. to 10.00 p.m. Monday through Friday and 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday Eastern Time.
Alfredo: “Please be assured that we know your time is valuable. We would not direct you to contact us by telephone unless it were absolutely necessary. I apologize for any inconvenience this may cause you.
You: Why is it that every time your Web site offers to help with a chat, no help is provided?
You: Nice copy and paste, “Alfredo.”
Alfredo: I really wish that I can resolve this for you, However their is a separate department for this.
You: How long do you expect me to be on hold when I call that number?
You: How many buttons will I need to push?
You: Or will I need to talk to a machine and hope it understands me?
Alfredo: I regret but this is not copy and paste I actually wish I can help you with this.
You: Why is it that Bank of America continues to fail so utterly with Customer Service?
Alfredo: You will get an option to talk with a live person.
You: Is your name really Alfredo?
Alfredo: Yes, My name is Alfredo.
You: Where are you based? India?
Alfredo: I wish I could resolve it for you!
Alfredo: Yes, I am in India.
You: Exactly what I thought. This transcript will make good reading on my blog. Anything else you’d like to add?
Alfredo: I really apologize that I was not able to assist you, I hope you understand that.
Alfredo: I wish your issue would be resolved as soon as possible!
You: What I don’t understand is why BofA has a chat support feature that NEVER seems able to provide any assistance.
You: It’s a complete waste of customer time.
You: Yet so is calling them. I know I’ll be on hold for at least 15-20 minutes AFTER entering all kinds of numbers into my phone.
You: Then they’ll just ask me for the same information — like you did.
You: My time isn’t valuable to the bank.
Alfredo: I really apologies that I am not able to assist you this time but it is not like this every time.
Alfredo: Please be assured that we know your time is valuable.
Alfredo: They will be able to resolve this for you.
You: It’s cheaper to hire overseas “support” personnel in India than to employ Americans who can answer questions without reading a script.
You: Are you happy that you’ve taken away a job from an American?
You: That unemployment here is high because people like you have our jobs?
You: And you can’t even do them very well?
Alfredo: I really apologies if you think so.
You: I really think you should let your supervisor read the transcript for this chat.
You: Maybe someone will understand the frustration of BofA customers in America.
You: Maybe someone will get the idea that we don’t want to participate in time-wasting chats when all we need is someone to pick up the freaking phone and talk to us.
Alfredo: I will provide this chat transcript to my supervisor.
You: I’ll be posting this transcript on my blog. My readers will love it.
You: Anything else you want to say?
Alfredo: I request you to call at the number and they will be able to resolve the issue for you.
You: Sure, I’ll do that.
Alfredo: i apologize that you are not satisfied with our service.
Alfredo: I apologize for the inconvenience caused to you by this.
You: It’s not your fault. You’re just doing one of our jobs. We could do it better.
Alfredo: I hope you understand that it is not me to do so.
Alfredo: I regret I was not able to resolve the issue for you.
You: Well, I’ve wasted enough time with you. Now I’ll waste some on the phone. You’re free to go.
When it became apparent that he would never end the chat, I did.
I need to be clear about something here: I have no problem with Indian people. I do, however, have a problem with companies like Bank of America sending support jobs overseas to places like India just to save money. (I also have a problem with pop-up chat support offers that waste time, but we won’t go there.) This kind of policy has fed our unemployment problem.
My sister, who was in banking at CitiGroup, was a victim of this twice in the span of three years when her job was sent to India. The first time, CitiGroup found another job for her; the second time, they didn’t and she was unemployed for six months. She’s underemployed now after losing another banking job to the financial crisis two years ago.
If all the jobs we sent to India and Pakistan and god knows where else were to come back to the United States, we would have no unemployment problem and no financial crisis. We’d have no deficit, either, because all these people would be earning money, spending money, and paying taxes.
Instead, we have a crisis fed, in part, by big business maximizing profits by sending American jobs overseas.
What’s even worse, however, is the quality of the work done by these people. They often have little understanding of our language and rely on computer scripts to answer questions. The above transcript makes this very clear. My initial question could have been answered in seconds by someone familiar with the language and not required to follow a script. (I almost always get better customer service on the phone when the customer service representative is US-based. I say almost because sometimes even the Americans in the job aren’t very good; it depends on how strictly they’re required to follow a script.)
So, as a result of practices like Bank of America’s we get inferior customer service and fewer jobs for Americans.