Like many People’s United Bank customers, I’ve dreaded the switchover to M&T Bank.
People’s was founded in 1842. As it grew larger, it gobbled up small banks. So I guess it was inevitable that it was gobbled up in turn by a bigger one (though one that until last year I’d never hear of.
The trickle of emails from People’s about the change has been replaced by a torrent from M&T. They include detailed instructions on how to prepare, with new ways to access services like the app, and a “token” for logging in that always changes.
This morning, I bit the bullet. I waded through all the instructions, logged on for the first time, and —voilà! — got the dreaded red exclamation point.
“Incorrect password,” it said — despite using the new password I had just cut-and-pasted from M&T’s email.
Fortunately, the 800 help number was right there. I did not have to click through 6 pages to find it.
I called and — this was a good voilà! — someone picked up on the 2nd ring.
Astonishingly, she spoke perfect English. Quickly, she diagnosed the problem.
Unfortunately, she could not fix it.
Fortunately, she said, someone higher up could. That someone would call back.
You know what that means. “Someone” never does.
Fortunately, someone did — in less than an hour.
Unfortunately, I was driving.
No problem! The woman — who also spoke perfect English — left a callback number.
An hour later, I returned the call. Voilà! A third woman — with an equally adept knowledge of English — answered quickly.
Are you sitting down for this next part?
In what may be a first for customer service in the 21st century, she:
- Knew beforehand what the problem was, and did not ask me to repeat it.
- Did not troubleshoot steps already tried in the previous call.
- Asked which browser I use (Chrome), and immediately walked me through fixes. She told me exactly where to find every dropdown arrow, and where to click next.
- She never asked me to “hold” (customer service-ese for “I’m helping 3 other customers at the same time”).
And … she never asked a stupid question. Nor did she ever talk down to me, or make me feel stupid.
You know that idiotic line, “Your call is important to us”? I actually felt it was.
She solved the problem in 10 minutes. Then — sounding as if she had all the time in the world — she suggested I log out and log back in, “just to be sure it works.”
The entire experience was like a painless root canal.
I’ve always enjoyed People’s. But — based on this morning — I think I might love M&T.
Until, perhaps, they’re gobbled up by a bigger bank.