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Post of the Day
June 9, 1999

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Subject: NetB@ank's Customer Support
Author: WWells

Just saw Dale Wetlaufer's newest comments on NetBank's potential. Aside from the hard data, one of his speculative comments for assessing the company's potential was, "I want to see lots of happy customers doing transactions through the site and relying on the company to make their life easier." This customer is not happy and is considering closing their account as soon as that first deposit clears.

I like Internet convenience and definitely have less fear of Internet transactions than most of my peers. I purchase products online frequently and consider calling a broker to place a stock order archaic. My willingness to continue doing business with any online company is based on the same factors that apply to everyday dealings with my mechanic, dry-cleaner, or local bank.
"My willingness to continue doing business with any online company is based on the same factors that apply to everyday dealings with my mechanic, dry-cleaner, or local bank."
Trust, satisfaction, convenience, price - all these make a difference to some degree. I hope mentioning specific companies is okay because Schwab, Ameritrade, Intuit, Amazon.com, and Microsoft have repeatedly demonstrated they can do what they say - and usually as quickly as they claim. When Intuit's order was delayed (no fault of their own) due to the UPS strike last year, their response to me was an explanation and an apology. They also sent a copy of TurboTax Deluxe, when it was released, which was unnecessary. But have I upgraded all my Quicken Products? - Oh yes!

This is because the best way, for me at least, to develop an affinity (or animosity) towards a company is to see how they handle those inevitable problems/glitches that arise. If my car dies the day after leaving the shop (let's say the alternator belt was not tightened causing the battery to die) - I'll be mad. But whether I'm cursing or bragging about the shop next week is mostly influenced by the attitude of the mechanic when he hears of my complaint and how willing he is to "make things right" (did he offer to pay for the tow truck?). This is where NetBank must improve.

"My first call to NetBank's customer service was a throw back to the days when you would buy a new program, have problems immediately, call the software tech support, and have them blame your computer, operating system, sound card, whatever - but the problem was to be found in your PC, not their software."

My first call to NetBank's customer service was a throw back to the days when you would buy a new program, have problems immediately, call the software tech support, and have them blame your computer, operating system, sound card, whatever - but the problem was to be found in your PC, not their software. If you want to run their software, you needed to call Microsoft to see why you do not have Windows loaded correctly - or IBM, or AT&T - but they were certain their software was fine.

As NTNB's customer service representative was frustratingly useless, I sent a detailed explanation (figuring that maybe I just was not clear on the telephone) via e-mail. That was Friday, this is Tuesday, and I have had no response. This is not good for someone who wants to handle my money.

I first heard of NetBank at the Fool and had great hopes for their potential as an investment. As their stock price fell, my hopes went up. Having sampled their product, I am not so interested. I like the concept but may wait until someone with more "face-to-face" banking experience comes online.