Wanted by Everyman

“I’m not sure if Bank of America knows this, but we are in a recession and most of us, we are hurting.” – Jackie Ramos

If you haven’t already heard college graduate and single mother Jackie Ramos’ compelling story on YouTube, you have to check it out. Jackie was a customer assistance representative for Bank of America.  Every day she worked directly with countless people who couldn’t afford to pay Bank of America’s 29.99% interest rate, late fees and “convenience” fees.

Ramos says Bank of America fired her because very often she would drop “convenience fees” and enter customers into Bank of America’s Fix Pay program. Jackie explained, “There is something we have in my department called a Fix Pay. Essentially it is a program, it turns your balance into an installment loan, and it stops all fees on the account and it also closes your account.” Jackie’s manager told her she placed people in Fix Pay who didn’t deserve it.

Customer service matters
According to the Center for Media Research, who published the article “Poor Customer Service Costs Companies 83 Billion Annually,” the total loss for poor customer service in US dollars is $338 billion a year….And financial services companies suffered more than $10 billion of losses alone.” The numbers tell a story.  Customers end relationships with poor service companies and take their business directly to competitors.  Time to pay attention or lose business

Word gets around

And it doesn’t just get around, it gains momentum too.  For those out of touch with social media, the evolution of Jackie Ramos’s story should be a big wake up call.  On 11/25/09 Ramos posted “Why I was fired by Bank of America” on YouTube. Less than 3 months later, her video accrued 239,251 views along with 2,528 ratings.  Through YouTube, Jackie’s message found its way to other social media platforms including Facebook, Digg, Twitter and StumbleUpon.  Ramos’ video earned a valuable 4 star StumbleUpon rating – a rating which automatically shows on Google search.

In early December 2009, CNN iReport posted Ramos’ video and wrote, “God bless this girl and her courage to stand up for YOU.”  Recently, on February 23rd, The Daily Show gave Jackie Ramos national air time in their “Make it Rain Segment” implying that Bank of America’s tactics are more harmful than those of the Mafia! Right now, when I Google the words “Bank of America convenience fee” the third listing I see is a story about Ramos and Bank of America’s bank practices.

Everyman speaks

Through social media, consumers have a strong voice.  Smart companies pay close attention to what consumers say on social media, respond respectfully and make appropriate adaptations.  Others, like Bank of America, ignore consumer feedback at their own peril suffering market share losses both now and in the future