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Professional Courtesy

Everyone I know dislikes having to get in touch with their bank, except for people who bank with USAA.

The United Services Automobile Association is a financial services group with its origins in insurance. It has a membership base of about 10 million; members must have served in the military or be in the family of another member1. Wikipedia credits them as a pioneer in the field of direct marketing, and while I am no expert on marketing and know nothing about USAA's corporate strategies, "get the attention of your desired customers by offering them products they want and can use, and keep it with outstanding customer service" is a pretty good description of how they have always marketed to me and seems like a workable strategy as long as you don't have to be growth-oriented.

This has the pleasant side effect of reducing my likelihood of procrastinating about bank-related Shit What Has To Get Done. I have been running a near-constant executive function deficit since, oh, probably mid-2006, and trivial inconveniences are a huge cognitive hazard when you're running low on executive function. I am the kind of customer that banks with scummy transaction processing order practices wish were theirs, because the amount of inconvenience required to dissuade me from picking up the phone and demanding that they process my paycheck before my rent check is not that high. It's higher than picking up the phone to talk to someone who wants to help me solve my problem, but it's lower than picking up the phone to talk to someone whose motivations are "keep call times low" (because that's a metric their job performance is evaluated over) and "don't give the customer anything" (because that's what management impresses on them, perhaps something they've seen others fired over).

This observation brought to you by the so far really quite impressive customer service of the small group practice where my new therapist works. More to come, perhaps.

1I got my membership through my dad, who 4-F'ed out of Vietnam due to a heart problem. He became a member through his dad, who was in the field artillery in WWII and Korea and retired as an LTC. So I already had an account with them when I enlisted, which was handy.

Comments

( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
nibor
Sep. 13th, 2014 05:59 am (UTC)
Love USAA. Love love love.

My current thoughts on health care is that there needs to be some financial incentives in the right places because just about every health insurance and doctor's office has pissed me right the fuck off.

I have quite a bit of ranting on the subject but I don't think I'm coherent enough to really lay out the problems and possible steps toward solutions right now. And in some ways I have no solutions, so maybe we're just all doomed to be fucked by health care, I dunno.

Maybe I should move to Belgium? I'm not sure it solves anything but maybe I'll be less annoyed if I'm dealing with fresh new hells instead of the same old ones.
cassandrasimplx
Sep. 13th, 2014 06:39 am (UTC)
Thirding the love.

USAA is the only bank I have ever dealt with that makes me feel, when I need to call them, that I will be talking to someone who actively wants to help me fix whatever has gone wrong, will offer alternatives if they can't do it the way I was imagining, and will consider whatever they need to do part of the basic doing-business package and not a special favor or a service that comes with an extra fee.

I also qualify through my father, and have been banking with them since my parents opened a savings account in my name when I was twelve. I do everything I can through them because it lightens my burden of Dreading Doing Things and Dealing With People. I wish they offered health insurance; I would buy it from them in a heartbeat and never look elsewhere again. I would do my damn grocery shopping through them if I could. That company is the embodiment of helpful competence.
jsl32
Sep. 13th, 2014 07:40 pm (UTC)
i have ok experiences with our credit union (Boeing Employees, but that requirement is no longer necessary), they seem to be pretty solid, helpful and reasonable.
coyote_in_fog
Sep. 14th, 2014 10:00 pm (UTC)
I've had a good experience at SF Fire Credit Union. I actually never even went into one of their branches for at least a year after opening an account (and I opened that account online). The have people that help online -- during business hours -- who have always been kind and pleasant in helping me sort things. Phone option as well but I usually prefer the online chat.

I still have to close an account I no longer use at Chase and has $0. Ugh, it's so annoying/difficult to close it that I've been procrastinating on it for years.
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )

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