05 September 2013

Update: My Experience with Westpac

Following on from my last post detailing my experience with Westpac customer service as an Expat, below is the update I wanted to share with you all.

After my that post I called Westpac again and spoke with the Collections department. The lady there was surprisingly switched on and could confirm that there was a block on my account and that I could have my case reviewed (I was curious to see what their process was) by the manager who was unfortunately busy at the time. She said she would refer my case and that once a decision was made it would be noted against my account so I could find out when I called back. I asked her to have someone call me and she said she would ask their contact centre to do that. In the meantime, she said she would process the refund for the balance I had in credit.

Unfortunately, I didn't hear a single thing for a week. I called a couple of days ago and while the refund was processed, my case was not reviewed and there was no decision. Needless to say I thought that was just very poor service. The lady was, again, surprisingly nice and suggested she bring my case to her manager once more at which point I said forget it. I did not want to wait for a call that wouldn't come, I didn't want to waste my time and I did not want the card anyway, I was just curious. She eventually offered to put me on hold to wait for the manager but I declined. She was in the middle of asking another question when my connection dropped out. I didn't bother calling back. I had my refund, I didn't want to continue being a Westpac customer.

One Tweet later and Karen Ganschow, Head of Customer Relationship Marketing and Digital at Westpac got in touch asking for my contact details which led me to speak with Matthew Weston located in London! Who knew there was even an office here? The Australian contact centre didn't!

Matt was nice and very apologetic about my experience. He did ask if there was anything he could do to which I said no, the experience had left a bad taste in my mouth and I wanted nothing more than to prevent others having a similar experience. He was honest enough to say he understood. He went on to tell me that it was a known issue that the contact centres required further training, that there was a 24hr service desk for telephone banking and card services (nothing for collections) and how my account was now unblocked (even though I specifically asked for it not to be). I passed on my blog post, along with the 10 tips I believe Westpac could improve on, and he advised he would pass it on to a more senior level.
Matt also advised that there is a program in the works for expats due to start rolling out in 6-8 months time that will hopefully allow for more robust banking for Aussies in the UK. And if you want the 24hr contact number for Westpac its 0061 292 939 270 for telephone banking and 0061 363 451 058 for card services. Bear in mind that the card services number is the one I used and got nowhere with in my situation.


My feedback does appear to have gotten some attention as yesterday, I heard from Spencer who runs Westpac's Twitter account. Spencer also apologised for not coming back to me and advised me that my feedback had been passed on to the appropriate teams. He also noted that their bankers do have the ability to send emails and that their Team Leaders can call overseas. Even Karen contacted me on Twitter yesterday to ask if I felt my issue was progressed.

I think Westpac has a long way to go in their customer service. At the moment, teams appear to be very siloed without much visibility over what other teams do. I do hope they improve, but for now, I made a call this morning to have my account cancelled. While I appreciate Karen, Matt and Spencer's efforts, I shouldn't have had to resort to that to begin with.

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