An Empowered Manager Turns a Disaster into a Good Customer Experience

As luck would have it, I was in a good mood when I walked into Wamu with a fist full of statements showing charges for an issue I will not specifically mention.

I firmly believed these charges occured due to a fault on Wamu’s part.

I’d braced myself for a debate and the worst case scenario (stiffing me for the fees).

The person I asked for, who opened my account, was not in but the manager was. He immediately offered to help me. I explained the issue.

He asked no questions about what led to this but laid out 3 options for handling this, as a good negotiator might:

1. Do nothing

2.  Ask me to write a letter to the other bank who’d charged me for some items, related to the Wamu issue.

3. Reimburse me fully both for the Wamu charges and the other banks then and there.

Without waiting for an answer, he stated that I’d been inconvenienced enough and offered #3.

The management lessons I took away from this are:

  1. Handle customers with elegance, matter of fact attitude, no questions asked, and faith that they are telling the truth.
  2. Learn how to communicate. The way he laid out the 2 distasteful options for handling this, following with the one that would satisfy me (reimbursing the fees on the spot) impressed me no end.
  3. Empower managers to make decisions that will result in immediate customer satisfaction leading to saving customers and creating positive word of mouth.

I’m not sure if his handling was due to Wamu training or his personal professionalism, so  this is not necessarily a story glowing about Wamu. However I left happy to be associated with his branch and seeing this great example of customer management.


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