Crazy Customer Service, or Creepy Invasive Sales Call?

Because of the increasing insanity of some American banks and the random charging of fees like we owe them their current profit margin, I'm looking for another place for my money. After some research online, it looked like I had a couple of good choices that had no fee checking with Bill Pay, online access, and a robust mobile app. I decided to give Schwab a try, and opened an account and began moving my "business" account over. (EDIT: It appears as if most banks are backing away from this service fee, my current bank included…the below experience ensures that I’m still moving my accounts).

Well, that went so well that after a couple of weeks I was ready to make the move and move my personal account as well. The one non-standard bit about Schwab is that because they are primarily an investment company, they require a brokerage account to be attached to the checking account. You don’t have to fund it, you don’t ever have to do anything with it…it’s just the way they’ve structured things. What wasn’t clear to me was whether it was a 1-to-1 relationship. That is, you had to have a brokerage account for every checking account, or whether you could have multiple checking accounts hanging off of one brokerage.

So in an effort to get the answer, I signed in to my existing account and started poking around the “create a new account” link. It appeared like it was a 1-to-1 thing, and I wasn’t sure how having multiple brokerage accounts would work, so I just closed that browser window and thought to myself “I’ll give them a call sometime and ask”. I wasn’t in a hurry, so it wasn’t no big deal to me.

Cue two days later, I got a phone call from someone at Schwab. He left a message on my phone letting me know that they had noticed that I stopped part of the way through the account creation process, and was curious if I’d had problems or had any questions that he could answer. He was very polite and professional and left his direct phone number in case I wanted to follow up. I called back, and he answered the phone in 4 rings. I introduced myself, and he was able to pull up my account and the record of calling me in seconds. None of the typical “let me put you on hold while I look this up” or “can you verify the following 57 pieces of information for me by pushing buttons on the phone when you could very well be calling and driving at the same time” stuff. Nope, just a simple human interaction. And he answered my questions thoroughly and without trying to sell me a single thing that I wasn’t asking about.

Let’s examine this from the POV of a library, shall we? I guarantee that there isn’t a library anywhere that’s monitoring failed searches in their catalog and following up with the individuals to see if they can help. Moreover, I think most librarians would consider this a breach of professional ethics, as it would require tying searches to a person and seeing what books they were searching for.

It was exceptional customer service, and it was performed effectively and efficiently. It set a new level of expectation for me that I’m not sure other services will live up to. Certainly they haven’t in my past experience. So I’m moving my accounts, and am happy to do so. Excellent work, Schwab. Now don’t screw it up. :-)

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