Monday, May 23, 2011

Being watched online

I've had a slightly odd encounter with the world of social media last week. And if nothing else proves the point that what you say online can have unforeseen results.

We had a minor crisis last week when Cathy went out to start the car and it failed to do so. Now, we're getting near the end of our time with the vehicle, so there's only so much money we're willing to put into her at this point. So if it was something cheap and simple, no problem. But if it was something catastrophic that would cost thousands of dollars, well, we were going to have a long chat about what was going to happen. Driving Force has one 2010 Equinox left on their lot, so we would have taken a look at buying that.

Now, as it stands, it was a dead battery. We got her towed, a new battery put in and she's right as rain.

But before we knew this, I popped into our bank - CIBC - to make an appointment to talk about a car loan. Now, I've banked with CIBC since I was four years old, however they burned a lot of graces with us back in 2009 when we couldn't get a mortgage with them because they didn't have anyone in town who could help us. The mad scrambling to instead get an appointment at RBC slowed us down enough that someone got a bid in ahead of us, which cost us the house. We were so annoyed we very nearly pulled our accounts from the bank. But inertia got ahold of us and we didn't do it.

So, last Tuesday I go into the bank to make an appointment about possibly getting a car loan. The teller informs me the earliest spot they have is sometime next month.

Understand, I forgive a lot of inconvenience because we live in the north. It's just the way of things. But when I go into a bank and they tell me there is no one available to talk to me about me borrowing money from them, then I get annoyed. Especially since I know at First Nations Bank I could get an appointment in about 10 minutes and at most it would take a few days at RBC, certainly not weeks.

I turned around and walked out of the bank without making an appointment. Later that day I vented on Twitter that CIBC was completely useless because it clearly didn't want my money or business.

Now is when the weirdness comes in.

Wednesday after work there's a message from someone at CIBC waiting for me. I think nothing of it, they're probably trying to sell me insurance again. Except on Thursday there's another message asking me to call them. So on Friday I finally call. They weren't selling insurance. Instead it was someone from their customer service department. Seems they have someone there who monitors social media, like Twitter, for complaints. They were calling to see what the problem was.

I'm still going back and forth on if that's cool or creepy. The jury is out.

Anyway, I had a lengthy vent about the situation, was told that was unacceptable and if I would hold on for a few minutes, they would contact the bank manager to fix the situation.

Ten minutes later, a not entirely pleased sounding bank manager made an appointment with us for Wednesday. So there you go, the power of social media networks in action. Kind of cool, but also deeply weird.

Are we going to stick with CIBC? Depends on what they offer. If it's a tie, no. RBC wins the tiebreaker. But if CIBC comes in a few points lower than RBC we'll stick with them. Money is money, after all. But if we end up getting a loan and going with RBC, that's our mortgage and car loan with them. I think then we ask if we're going to bother sticking with CIBC. Whether they care or not, I don't know. I guess we'll see how much they want us on Wednesday.

Last Five
1. Kiss and tell - Spirit of the West
2. The absence of God - Rilo Kiley
3. C'mere - Interpol
4. Backseat - Jenny Gear and the Whiskey Kittens
5. The union forever - The White Stripes


jen said...

How did they get your phone number? I say creepy!

-N- said...

I don't find it creepy- people talk, gossip and complain, and social media is one of the ways they do it these days. I can't stand CIBC either, for similar reasons (although due to laziness they still have the bulk of my banking too), but if monitoring twitter is the way they fish out their problems and then they actually do something about them, I think that's great, yay for twitter!

Geoff Meeker said...

I had a nasty encounter with CIBC last month, and am in the process of cancelling my CIBC Visa card (once I transfer the balance to a new card). I think I will tweet about this, just to see what happens.

Anonymous said...

Anything but creepy. It shows they are very in tune to what social media is and how it affects their reputation online. All large companies are doing this now - Canadian Tire, FutureShop etc.

There was one guy who got his truck fixed after tweeting and blogging about it.

Power to the consumers.

Adam Snider said...

Of all the major Canadian banks, CIBC is the one that I hear the most negative stories about. It doesn't surprise me that they take it to a whole new level up north.

That said, it's good that they're monitoring social media and responding. It's a bit weird that they phoned you instead of replying my tweet (at least initially), but that may have something to do with security concerns in the banking industry.