Golden 1: breaking customer expectations

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Want to ruin a customer relationship before it even starts? Take your process for signing up new customers and disappoint them at every turn.

I’m shopping for a new car and looked at a few rates from local credit unions. The Golden 1 advertises locally about their great rates and service, so I decided to give them a try.

After filling out the multi-page application, I got an email confirmation back and discovered that in contrast to most other banks that give instant approvals on auto loans, The Golden One promises a decision within 24-72 hours. That’s annoying, considering I’d found a car I liked and now need to sit around and wait.

The next day, I get an email back from customer service explaining that I need a bank account with them before they can even process my loan. What? They couldn’t have explained that to me before I started the whole process?

I replied to the email and expressed my disappointment.

Why not tell me that before I fill out the loan app? Your site says "Membership in the Golden 1 Credit Union is required prior to funding your loan." Note that it says "funding" not "processing."

The loan app is a new customer’s first experience with you. And you've failed to deliver an experience that leaves me excited about the company.

Most financial institutions promise instant approval on loans—that’s the norm and what the customer expects. It wasn’t until after I completed the loan app that I’m told it’s going to take at least 24 hours to get a response. First disappointment there. When the response does come, it’s another disappointment. I have to jump through another hoop to even get a response on the loan.

Within a few hours, Emily Summers in customer service replied.

The website states the following: If you are not yet a Golden 1 member, you can still apply for a loan; however, before we can process the application, you will need to become a member.

She followed this up with a description of how to print out an account app and mail it in. Then she helpfully included the link to the page that the above quote comes from.

Great idea. Take a customer who expressed annoyance with you and call them a liar. That’s sure to make things better. I replied with the screenshot below, showing exactly what the first page of their loan application says.

Golden 1 Loan application

Nice going. Now I’ve gone from slightly irritated about the process to angry.

Ken
August 21, 2008 9:48 AM

I have recently opened a Golden 1 account. I am trying to setup online access. It has been about a week. One time I spent over 30 minutes with customer service, going through the steps online over and over and over again. It kept failing. Now it is a week later. I tried again. I couldn't finish by myself and had to call customer service again. They walked me through it again, giving me a temporary password. I get to a "page not found" error. These people are hopeless. If I am in the vicinity of the branch, I might just close the account.

Gwendolyn
December 1, 2009 1:26 PM

I recently applied for a credit card with Golden1. It was denied because they said I had delinquent accounts on my credit report. That's fine, but I didn't. I have a clean credit history, just not enough. So, I was told to talk with the credit reporting agencies, and did so. I got a recent credit report and walked it to my local branch. They then denied the application for not having enough credit, even though my checking and savings accounts are with Golden1. I've since switched to Wells-Fargo!

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