Some years ago we needed to take out a personal loan with Citibank. Fast forward three years and we were ready to pay off the loan completely.
So back in November 2011, we sought the cost of exiting the loan - which took numerous phone calls to Citibank.
Eventually we paid the full amount plus the exit fees required for paying it off early. It was cheaper to do this than to keep on paying the high interest rate that comes with a small personal loan.
Once we were done, we rang Citibank to confirm and to check we would receive confirmation on the loan closure. Citibank assured us that it was closed and that we would receive a confirmation shortly.
Unfortunately, the next piece of mail we received from Citibank was a late notice on payment, around a month later. Alarm bells rang. We wrote to Citibank with no response then called to ask why we received a late notice when we had already paid off the full amount a month earlier. Some heated exchanges took place and we were again assured that the loan was closed and that we would receive notice of this closure in the mail.
Two months later and nothing had come in the mail so we tried ringing again. Yet again, assurances take place. This happens until March 2012.
Five phone calls, numerous hours and some hair loss later, I used my Twitter account and tweeted to @citibankaus, citing the hashtag #fail. Within 10 minutes, I received a reply from their Twitter account asking for my contact details. I sent them and by the afternoon @citibankaus said it was resolved.
From this point it’s a matter of some errors from their card operations people who have to adhere to overly complex security procedures and also fail to attach documents to an email. Five more emails and some Twitter chatter later, we've received the notice of closure.
What have I learned from this? Use all forms of communication when trying to get a response from a business of any kind. If they have a Facebook, Twitter, email and website presence, use them to get your communication across. Be polite, but after you've experienced a degree of frustration (we figured five months was enough) don't be afraid to get their attention via social media.
In this particular case, Twitter acted as a great form of communication to get my point across. It may not always be so, but for the moment many companies which are present on social media or monitoring social media for mentions of their brands are ready to act on negative feedback promptly.
Have you ever used social media to get your point across to a business? Did it work for you?