Customers Agree: Bank of America Needs Better Customer Service

Bank of America almost always tops the list when it comes to the worst customer service. Why can’t it improve?

Jul 26, 2014 at 7:39AM

Bank Of America

It's been a while since there has been an opinion poll noting how awful Bank of America Corp (NYSE:BAC) performs when it comes to customer service. Now, the site 24/7 Wall St. has come up with a newly minted survey that shows that the low opinion of the general public toward the big bank hasn't improved much at all since the early days of the financial crisis.

In the 2014 Customer Service Hall of Shame, not only did B of A come in first in customer dissatisfaction, but it managed to show up twice in the top five – due to the administration of a separate set of survey questions regarding the consumer service in its credit card division.

Attempts to placate customers hasn't helped
It's not that Bank of America's management is unaware of how scornfully they are regarded. CEO Brian Moynihan has tried, in the past, to remake itself in an effort to become more palatable to its customer base. Though Moynihan began 2013 with a new "customer-friendly" paradigm at B of A, the program doesn't appear to have made a dent in the hostility people feel toward the bank.

Outwardly, the bank appears to be trying to make a better impression. In March of this year, Bank of America introduced a new checking account service called Safe Balance, targeting younger, less affluent customers. Since the bank was still feeling the sting from the debit card fee fiasco in 2011, the new product was widely introduced only after 18 months of scrupulous research, including lots of customer feedback.

It is at the bank-to-customer level, however, where Bank of America still stumbles badly. Looking over some of the more recent posts to B of A's Facebook page, there are no shortage of complaints about various aspects of the bank's business model and service. Of course, that's true of Wells Fargo, too – Wells comes in at No. 10 on the Hall of Shame list.

The types of gripes about Bank of America are somewhat different, though, often reflecting consumers' frustration with trying to communicate with customer service representatives. Additionally, many posters are upset about an ongoing problem that they claim the bank itself created -- such as accidentally cancelling a customer's account, or debiting payments twice – which then plunges them into a nightmare situation where they cannot get satisfaction.

Clearly, Bank of America has a lot of work to do with consumers if it is to return to its former glory. Perhaps the fix might involve better training of its front-line employees and customer service reps, or even adding a layer of managers whose sole duty is to make certain that problems get solved. In any event, B of A needs to make this issue a priority – before it's too late.

Bank of America + Apple? This device makes it possible.
Apple recently recruited a secret-development "dream team" to guarantee its newest smart device was kept hidden from the public for as long as possible. But the secret is out, and some early viewers are claiming its destined to change everything from banking to health care. In fact, ABI Research predicts 485 million of this type of device will be sold per year. But one small company makes Apple's gadget possible. And its stock price has nearly unlimited room to run for early in-the-know investors. To be one of them, and see Apple's newest smart gizmo, just click here

Amanda Alix has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends Bank of America, Facebook, and Wells Fargo. The Motley Fool owns shares of Bank of America, Facebook, and Wells Fargo. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

1 Key Step to Get Rich

Our mission at The Motley Fool is to help the world invest better. Whether that’s helping people overcome their fear of stocks all the way to offering clear and successful guidance on complicated-sounding options trades, we can help.

Feb 1, 2016 at 4:54PM

To be perfectly clear, this is not a get-rich action that my Foolish colleagues and I came up with. But we wouldn't argue with the approach.

A 2015 Business Insider article titled, "11 websites to bookmark if you want to get rich" rated The Motley Fool as the #1 place online to get smarter about investing.

"The Motley Fool aims to build a strong investment community, which it does by providing a variety of resources: the website, books, a newspaper column, a radio [show], and [newsletters]," wrote (the clearly insightful and talented) money reporter Kathleen Elkins. "This site has something for every type of investor, from basic lessons for beginners to investing commentary on mutual funds, stock sectors, and value for the more advanced."

Our mission at The Motley Fool is to help the world invest better, so it's nice to receive that kind of recognition. It lets us know we're doing our job.

Whether that's helping the entirely uninitiated overcome their fear of stocks all the way to offering clear and successful guidance on complicated-sounding options trades, we want to provide our readers with a boost to the next step on their journey to financial independence.

Articles and beyond

As Business Insider wrote, there are a number of resources available from the Fool for investors of all levels and styles.

In addition to the dozens of free articles we publish every day on our website, I want to highlight two must-see spots in your tour of

For the beginning investor

Investing can seem like a Big Deal to those who have yet to buy their first stock. Many investment professionals try to infuse the conversation with jargon in order to deter individual investors from tackling it on their own (and to justify their often sky-high fees).

But the individual investor can beat the market. The real secret to investing is that it doesn't take tons of money, endless hours, or super-secret formulas that only experts possess.

That's why we created a best-selling guide that walks investors-to-be through everything they need to know to get started. And because we're so dedicated to our mission, we've made that available for free.

If you're just starting out (or want to help out someone who is), go to, drop in your email address, and you'll be able to instantly access the quick-read guide ... for free.

For the listener

Whether it's on the stationary exercise bike or during my daily commute, I spend a lot of time going nowhere. But I've found a way to make that time benefit me.

The Motley Fool offers five podcasts that I refer to as "binge-worthy financial information."

Motley Fool Money features a team of our analysts discussing the week's top business and investing stories, interviews, and an inside look at the stocks on our radar. It's also featured on several dozen radio stations across the country.

The hosts of Motley Fool Answers challenge the conventional wisdom on life's biggest financial issues to reveal what you really need to know to make smart money moves.

David Gardner, co-founder of The Motley Fool, is among the most respected and trusted sources on investing. And he's the host of Rule Breaker Investing, in which he shares his insights into today's most innovative and disruptive companies ... and how to profit from them.

Market Foolery is our daily look at stocks in the news, as well as the top business and investing stories.

And Industry Focus offers a deeper dive into a specific industry and the stories making headlines. Healthcare, technology, energy, consumer goods, and other industries take turns in the spotlight.

They're all informative, entertaining, and eminently listenable ... and I don't say that simply because the hosts all sit within a Nerf-gun shot of my desk. Rule Breaker Investing and Answers contain timeless advice, so you might want to go back to the beginning with those. The other three take their cues from the market, so you'll want to listen to the most recent first. All are available at

But wait, there's more

The book and the podcasts – both free ... both awesome – also come with an ongoing benefit. If you download the book, or if you enter your email address in the magical box at the podcasts page, you'll get ongoing market coverage sent straight to your inbox.

Investor Insights is valuable and enjoyable coverage of everything from macroeconomic events to investing strategies to our analyst's travels around the world to find the next big thing. Also free.

Get the book. Listen to a podcast. Sign up for Investor Insights. I'm not saying that any of those things will make you rich ... but Business Insider seems to think so.

Compare Brokers