How not service customers — by the Rabobank

My Rabobank credit card was rejected (and apparently had been rejected before, but I only just noticed it). Here is the value stream mapping of my customer experience with the Rabobank customer service group. Total value time: 2 minutes. Total wasted time: 29 minutes. Efficiency ratio: 6.9%.

First I searched for the number of my account manager. This was given as +31 71 565 9393 — the same number as the main service desk, so:

1. Call the Rabobank service desk +31 71 565 9393. Takes a few minutes to get someone on the line. Explain the issue (card rejected). Nice man asks me to hold which I do for a minute before he disconnects me. Wasted time: 7 minutes.

2. Call the Rabobank service desk again. Takes a few minutes to get someone on the line. Explain the issue and that I already called. Take a note of her name. Nice lady asks me to hold. I hold. She connects through to someone else. Wasted time: 7 minutes.

3. My account manager. Explain the issue to him. He asks me to hold, then after a couple of minutes of doing this, he explains that it will take a little to find out what’s going on and he will call me back. I reiterate that I don’t want to know what’s wrong, I want to be able to use the card that I pay them for. Wasted time: 4 minutes.

4. 5 minutes later he calls me back. He explains that I need to call another department (i.e. they’ve outsourced their services). When I ask why he can’t fix the issue, he says he’s not authorised. When I ask the name of the department, he can’t tell me but says they can fix Gold card problems. I didn’t even know that I had a Gold card. I call the mystery number +31 88 722 6777 (interestingly 088 722 6777 seems to also be the number of a property in Bulgaria — If only the Netherlands allowed reverse look-up). Wasted time: 5 minutes.

5. I call the number and talk to the nice lady. She says that to solve the problem I’ll need to talk to someone else. So she puts me through. Wasted time: 3 minutes.

6. The lady asks me some security questions, explains the card is blocked, because of strange activity. She can’t tell me what the activity is, but having seen that I’ve looked at and approved all my statements, she unblocks the card. Result!

I asked why no-one from the Rabobank contacted me. She says that a letter was sent and our house number was called. When I say we never got a letter, she laughs like “sure, sure, that’s what they all say, eh?”. She does say that the strange transaction occurred in Japan. When I point out that I’ve been through this before and that the Rabobank knows I travel, she says it’s not that the amount was high or that the transaction occurred in Japan, it’s that “the computer” spotted something strange, but she can’t tell me what that is.

Then I ask why the Rabobank chose to contact me with my home phone when they knew I was in Japan. She said because the transaction was fraudulent (it wasn’t), they might expect to find me at home or someone who could confirm that I was in Japan (apart from the other five or six transactions in Japan in the days before that is). The conversation was getting more bizarre by the minute. I asked why they couldn’t contact me in some other way. After all my Rabobank account manager has my full contact details: mobile phone, house number and email addresses. The nice lady (who was steadily getting more irate) explained that if I could give her these contact details and give her permission to use them, she would next time, but due to security concerns my Rabobank account manager could not contact her about this issue, or pass on my contact details!

When I ask how come the Rabobank has assigned me a special account manager who is supposed to my one stop shop and has to pass me through to the Gold card department to get these kinds of things fixed, she asks me what I’m talking about. “Gold card? Gold card? I have no idea what you are talking about!” It turns out that her department has nothing to do with Gold card. Go figure. Value time: 2 minutes. Wasted time: 6 minutes.

Total value time: 2 minutes. Total wasted time: 29 minutes. Efficiency ratio: 6.9%.



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