Tuesday, August 21, 2007
I had the strangest experience today. It was a sensation that was somewhat familiar - but dream-like - as if it were something I last felt in childhood.
If I remember correctly, it used to be referred to as "Customer Service" in the good old days.
No, no, not the department you call with trepidation when you find the time to remain on the line for a minimum of 20 minutes, getting transferred five times before reaching a human being who is probably a contract worker in India knowing little and giving you incorrect information about the actual airline/product/service. Not that kind of Customer Service. That's what I'm used to.
But no. I mean actual service for customers.
You see, I just took the position of Treasurer of our condo association last week. As you may imagine, I was thrilled to take on this added responsibility since I have so much time on my hands right now. But, I digress. Along with this position, I inherited an account at a local establishment called Broadway Bank. I had to go in yesterday to change the account over to my name. Allow me to share what I encountered there:
1) I walked into a gorgeous, big, open room - the architecture was beautiful! To my right, there was a sea of bankers - I mean, at least 20 of them, sitting at desks, helping people. In. Person. I was immediately seated in front of someone who helped me quickly and easily. Here in the city, I am accustomed to walking into a sterile Bank of America office where there is not a single banker visible; they are in closed offices in the back. And there are never more than two of them, so the wait is ridiculously lengthy.
2) One of the employees actually used an IBM Selectric typewriter to fill out a form for me. The kind of typewriter I learned to type on in, oh, 1987. Awesome.
3) I worked with another banker to set up an online account. Now, I have no idea about the quality of said online banking system - and this is a feature I use a lot and love about Bank of America - but they gave me a form to fill out by hand (user ID and password) and told me that it would be up and running by the next morning. I was given a little slip of paper filled out with my codes so that I wouldn't forget: again, handwritten. Amusing as hell.
4) I hadn't had time to check and see if my online account was working yet, but at lunchtime I received a personal email from the banker who helped me sign up for it. Yes, a personal email, folks! I went online and couldn't get it to work; somewhat disappointed with the old school bank, I replied to her email letting her know I was having a problem.
5) Not five minutes after sending my email, the phone rang. When I saw "Broadway Bank" on the caller ID, I just about hollered, "You are shitting me!!!" Yes, the same woman was calling me to help me, which she did very easily.
What the hell??
I think it's very sad that such an experience was so incredibly mind-blowing. No wonder the incidence of depression is so high in America. I'd love to see a study showing the decrease in daily person-to-person interaction over the past thirty years.
Sometimes...well, our country is such a detached and lonely place.