Does anybody love tax time?

Every year I promise myself I’m going to keep on top of my receipts and statements, and every year I don’t.

And this year has been no exception.

A business colleague who’s doing some work for me asked me a while back as to whether I was one of these people who did things in a structured sytstemised manner, or whether I was the kind of person who puts things off until, the last minute and then completes everything on the “deadline” moment?

I have to say, sadly, I’m the latter.

I am well intentioned, but I find, that if I allocate a task too much time initially, that it consumes more time rather than if I leave it to the last minute. My logic is, that leaving things to the last minute does not allow that task to steal time from future tasks.

And hence, that’s exactly what I do.

I’ve been known to still be packing my suitcase when the car arrives to take me to the airport. This is despite the fact that I always arrive at the airport three hours early to complete all security, shopping and lounge activities…. Go Figure!?!?

Anyway, so back to tax time and back to today specifically.

My accountant, who is very patient with me, sent me two emails, specifically to chase up two separate bank account statements, for the whole financial year that is now ten and a half months over.

So after a week, I decided today would be a good day to chase up those statements. So here are my two unique customer experiences:

The first account was a company account held at ANZ Bank.

This account was quite a busy account up to five years ago, but recently, I’ve pretty well not used this account much at all.

So I rang ANZ, where I also do a considerable amount of personal banking. I have my primary working account there with them, along with a couple of mortgages and a credit card and have been a very long-term customer.

I was able to connect straight away with a real live person, and after a short security procedure, this lady was able to provide me with what I exactly what I wanted. A quick update of my security question, update of my email address, and the encrypted statements should arrive in my inbox in one or two day’s time.

Call number two was to Westpac Bank. Here I was after the statements for only one loan account. I have no other accounts with Westpac.

Funnily enough, this loan was discharged for sure in a churn by my mortgage broker in 2010-2011 and replaced with an ANZ loan.

So here’s what happened at Westpac Bank.

Firstly, an eleven plus minute wait on hold with very poor quality customer messages throughout asking me to stay on the line.

Eleven minutes on hold at a major bank is a big fail, especially as I was just on the phone to ANZ one of their competitors, and my call was taken pretty well straight away.

So ask yourself these questions:

If your company is not picking up on incoming calls straight away, what are your competitors doing?

 Do you think it might be wise to review your phone answering protocols, procedures and policies?

Do you think that delayed answering and messages on hold are a turn on or turn off for your customers and clients, both existing and new, in business?

How long, if at all, do you believe a client or customer should wait on the phone before the call is answered?

 So anyway, when my call was finally picked up by “Sal”, she apologised for the delay. But that’s all. I actually then told her that it had been a long time, to which she told me, that it was because it was a Monday morning.

Now this was a lame excuse for two reasons.

Firstly, it had ticked over to about 12:30pm Monday afternoon where I was, so just like the “pinch and a punch”, Cinderella had turned into a pumpkin at midday, and that reason needed to be retired to the top paddock.

Secondly, sadly for Sal, she had no idea that I had called ANZ before and ordered my statements in way less time than I had been on hold.

Now Sal could have avoided all this if she has simply asked a question or two of me like “How’s your morning been so far?” and I would have been able to share with her some serious information that would have prevented her from placing her foot in her mouth.

 Now one thing Westpac bank did for me while on hold was to ask me for my banking number….which caused me to have some serious doubts as to whether I’d be able to be served.

Fortunately for me, a small book in a close at hand drawer that was over three years old, bore the required number, among others like it, that were now not of any use whatsoever.

Back to Sal. Once I had informed Sal what I was after, she told me that she was unable to give me these statements as there was a permanent block on my account due to a security alert.

I was able to recall this incident, as the security alert was sparked by me some time in the last year. As you do, I had called Westpac late one night and tried to activate a renewed existing Westpac Visa card. This had not been a successful mission. I had the card and no recent statement, so was not able to inform their [loosely titled] that night Customer Service agent of what my available credit was on that account. In the end, I failed the security checks, as his questioning was inflexible.

In disgust I shredded the card. After all, there are many banks, which needs Westpac?

So back to Sal. For me to receive a copy of these statements for this one Westpac loan account that has been discharged, I need to visit a Westpac branch with photo ID to reactivate myself, so I can be given the statements for this one account that has long been closed.

I must say that Sal was sympathetic to my cause, but inflexible. Which was very disappointing. Something about identity theft?

My motto, or mantra in this case would have been: “Firm in principle, flexible in procedure”. But maybe that’s just me?

 So now I’m off shortly to my local Westpac branch, passport in hand.

I guess I’m my own worst enemy. Because, had I been diligent with received paper monthly bank statements in the first place, then I wouldn’t have ended up in this debacle that I ended up in today. But I have.

No thanks to Sal for being so inflexible…

Three quick lessons again from today

  1. Answer the phone quickly and promptly.
  2. Check back with the caller. Find out more about them and their day before launching into your protocols.
  3. Be firm in principle, flexible in procedure. Don’t be so black and white. Look for ways to reach out for someone, simply and easily.

Look at this debacle and see how you can apply these lessons to your dental office.

Remember, Customer Service Lessons are Everywhere…


Dr. David Moffet BDS FPFA CSP is a certified CX Experience coach. David works with his wife Jayne Bandy to help SME businesses improve their Customer Service Systems to create memorable World Class experiences for their valued clients and customers. Click here to find out how David and Jayne can help your business