Greetings. I'm in the process of buying my car off of its lease with U.S. Bank–a large banking company based in the beautiful city of Minneapolis with more than 62,500 employees. And, according to a recent letter I received from the bank, they are standing by waiting to serve me. In fact, the bank's new tag line is "All of us serving you" which is very exciting because I've never had so many people in my corner–especially total strangers. But back to buying the car…
In order to make this transaction, I needed to send U.S. Bank a certified check for the remaining amount that I owed, also known as the "residual," plus a modest additional fee to compensate them for the fact that I was getting a really good deal on the car. It turns out that the car was worth roughly six thousand dollars more than its residual value and I can only imagine that the bank would have preferred to pocket the money for itself.
Given that I was eager to purchase the car and possibly use this new equity to lease another car, I quickly completed all the necessary paperwork and sent it overnight along with the check. And given that the bank seemed to be in no particular hurry to process my transaction, I included a prepaid overnight envelope so they could return the title along with a wonderful letter extolling my virtues as the new owner and a fine upstanding member of the community and testifying that I had, in fact, paid for the car in full. Surely this act of great kindness, goodwill and helpfulness would speed up their response. After all, they only needed to take the car's title out of its appropriate file and place it in the prepaid envelope that I had provided along with the wonderful signed form letter extolling my virtues.
But it seems that my act of kindness was not to be rewarded, because a call to one of the bank's 62,500 employees to inquire about the status of my efforts yielded a simple response…
"It takes six business days from the time we process your check and paperwork to send you the title. So we will be sending it in six business days. And remember that a legal holiday (even if it isn't celebrated by everyone) does not count as one of the six business days." (And remember that a legal holiday, even if it isn't celebrated by everyone, is always celebrated by banks.)
Now I'm wondering why it should take so long. After all, U.S. Bank has probably done this same thing a few times before given that the bank was founded in 1863 and automobiles have been purchased or leased for over 100 hundred years. And they probably have pretty good filing systems being that they are a bank. And we know that they have more than 62,500 employees who are focused on me and all about customer service. Surely one of them–who probably has my picture over their desk–could find my title, copy my letter of praise and wisk them off to me in the overnight envelope I provided in less than six days or a mere 216 hours if we are counting weekends and holidays. And we might also imagine that their definition of customer service includes being timely and responsive in meeting the needs of customers. In fact, their website states clearly that U.S. Bank can do everything "with a level of service no other bank can match." Now that's impressive! So I can only imagine how long it would take another bank to put my title and a form letter in a prepaid envelope!?!? Especially a bank that didn't recently invest in the clever tag line "All of us serving you."
Which makes me wonder if it might have been wiser to invest in faster and better customer service rather than clever marketing slogans that don't really align with bank practices.
We win in business and in life when we value other people's time more highly than our own. And when it takes us a lot less than six days to do something relatively simple.