Was I Chatting with a Bank of America Robot?

I’m just back from a trip to Burma / Myanmar and Singapore, of which more in subsequent posts. But it left me with some stuff to catch up on, including a payment to our accountant. It should have taken me about 5 minutes with online banking. Instead, I found their details deleted from my account. So I tried to re-add the recipient, but it didn’t work.

There was a handy-dandy chat link next to the error message, so I opened the Chat. I got a prompt response, and a chat that was so entirely meaningless that I suspect it might not pass the Turing Test.

You be the judge (the “you” in the transcript below is of course me):

———————————————

Thank you for choosing Bank of America. You are now being connected to a Chat Specialist. For security purposes, please remember to close your chat window when completed.

Angelica: Hello! Thank you for being a valued Bank of America customer. My name is Angelica. May I have your complete name?
You: Rupa Bose. Hi, Angelica, I have a problem. I’ve been paying our tax accountant  quarterly for some years now. Today I found [the accountant] was missing from my list, and when I tried to re-add  I could not.
Angelica: Hello Rupa!
You: Hello Angelica! So can you fix the problem?
Angelica: I regret to hear that you were having issues with adding a recipient for your transfers.
Angelica: Let me check this for you.
You: Can you also find out why [the accountant] was suddenly missing after years of glitch-free transfers?
Angelica: I apologize for the delay. I’ll be with you shortly.
Angelica: I do apologize for this inconvenience. However, you can do the adding a recipient for transfers in your online banking page as there are times that the system would have delete the recipients in the list and you just have to do the adding of the recipient process again.
You: Angelica, that is not an answer. What you said is that (1) The system for some unknown reason randomly deletes recipients. (2) It’s my problem, I have to re-add the recipient.
You: I would like to point out that (1) It did not delete *all* the recipients. (2) It would not allow me to re-add [the accountant].
You: An apology is not an explanation or a solution.
Angelica: Thank you for waiting. I’ll be with you in just a moment.
Angelica: I’m sorry for this matter. As I totally understand your point and situation. However, as there would be some additional technical steps involved to help solve this issue instead. That being said, I would need to refer you to our online banking specialists over the phone to be able to look into the best solution.
Angelica: Are you still with me? Please respond so I can leave this chat window open  to answer any questions for you.
You: I think we may as well close this window. It is not helping to solve my problem. Bye.
Angelica: Let me know if there is anything else I can assist you with.
You: Clearly nothing. Thanks anyway.
Angelica: Thank you for choosing Bank of America’s Chat Service! We appreciate and value your business.  Have a wonderful day!

———————————————

We’re sending our accountant an old-fashioned check for now.  I hope the “online banking specialists” will be better trained than poor “Angelica” at handling this, whether she’s silicon or carbon based.

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About webmaster

I'm an international Business Consultant; author of a book called India Business Checklists, and working on a book on doing business in Burma.
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3 Responses to Was I Chatting with a Bank of America Robot?

  1. Sunita says:

    It’s so frustrating I hate telebanking too …..

  2. From the English, it sounds more like a Level 1 Filipino agent (rather than a robot!) who knows the bare minimum about her job and who would have to escalate to a Level 2 person somewhere in the US to resolve an issue of this nature. Were you able to get this resolve this matter resolved subsequently?

    • webmaster says:

      It turned out BofA changed the rules. You can’t transfer from a personal account to a business account. No idea why. I wish they’d informed me before suddenly turning off the feature.

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