Nobody’s perfect. Stuff happens. Systems go down. Things break. Information is lost or stolen. This month, Bank of America’s retail banking website has had some issues with customers’ passwords. According to the beleaguered customer service associates we’ve spoken with, there was a July, 2012 system upgrade that did not go well at all. Maybe the upgrade was really necessary. Checking online at sitedown.com reveals that there have been 85 downtime reports by consumers on BofA.com since July 5, 2012 and 3,350 downtime reports on BofA since sitedown.com started reporting in 2010. The 3,350 “all time” number of downtime reports compares to many other banks with totals of downtime reports in the low hundreds for the same period. We don’t know who frequents sitedown.com. Maybe it’s skewed towards BofA customers?
Two weeks ago, Ronni Marshak tried to log into her bank account at BofA and discovered that it didn’t remember her password. Having trouble with your password doesn’t count as the system being down, but it IS really annoying. As Ronni and the BofA customer service associate dealt with her problem, she discovered that she was not alone. There had apparently been lots of customers who were suddenly unable to log into their bank accounts. Since most of us now rely heavily on online banking, this lack of access can be paralyzing and hugely frustrating.
What should a company do when there are unexpected glitches that disrupt customers’ lives, cause them to take extra steps, and sow doubt in customers’ minds about the viability of your brand? You need to do more than fix the problem, apologize, and offer an appeasement.