This struck me as a teaching moment, but it’s likely a symptom of a greater issue, as Bank of America was recently voted dead last in a customer satisfaction survey.

And who is ^ma, anyway?

Yes, you read it right. Bank of America appears to acknowledge their poor customer service — “We’re aware of the issue” — and imply people will be fired because they stink at their jobs — “working quickly to resolve.” All because they didn’t address the person, and instead copied and pasted a response.
This gets me to my favorite saying: It’s not a PR problem. It’s a business problem. BofA as an organization is apparently just not good at customer service.
But, if you’re looking for some takeaways for social media:

  • If your business is going to be on social media, it needs to be prepared to address customer service inquiries.
  • I’ll say it again, because it deserves the emphasis, on channels your business is part of it needs to respond to customer service inquiries.
  • Don’t copy & paste responses (as it appears BoA did here). It can infuriate customers, gives the company a wooden image, and in this case, the company can wind up with egg on its face with a half-baked response.
  • There is a broadcast element to social media. Use it to get out in front of an issue. Don’t wait for your customers to bring it to your attention.

If your business can’t commit to those things, then for your own sake please stay away from social media. It’s not a broadcast-only medium. It’s, you know, social. A two-way street. Talk and listen.

Disclosure: I have an account with Bank of America, and I, too, have received poor customer service from them. I would totally have moved it by now if it weren’t for the housing bubble.


Brian Russell is a senior marketing strategist at 352. He's on Twitter a lot, but to get all the extra goodies, Google requires him to say he's on Google+, too.