Update: as of 2PM Sunday when I checked, the ATM started working again.
As of this post, BDO is still offline. Not good.
From what I read, it’s bad. Customers can’t withdraw from any ATM or check online.
Not even withdraw over the counter. Over. The. Counter.
Not being able to withdraw from the ATM is one thing. Can’t check online is another. But, not withdraw over the counter, too?
That’s unheard of for a large-scale bank such as BDO.
Alas, it gets worse. BDO still doesn’t have any official announcement, not even an acknowledgment.
Not on their website. Not on any social media site
such as their Facebook account (the Facebook account turns out not to be associated with them, sheesh). Nothing.
In my past call center/customer service work, no response to any consumer disaster is a big no-no. I imagine BDO’s phone agents are getting overwhelmed with caller demands for any response on the situation. Anything.
Not unless their phone system is also down. Or probably jammed with callers.
(While I wish I can say that’s unbelievable, I’ve since realized that such things can happen whether intended or not.)
From Bad to Worse to Worst
I won’t be surprised if someone out there is thinking along the lines of, “Well, hopefully things can’t get any worse.”
Unfortunately, this whole thing’s worse than bad. The worst?
The issue has been going on for the past two days. Two days. I gather the issue began yesterday (Friday) and it’s still happening today (Saturday).
Although I really hope not, I have a bad feeling this whole thing will continue tomorrow (Sunday). Knock on wood.
If that happens, then a lot of people will get reeeeeeeeeeeeeeally angry. More bad news that BDO surely won’t need or want.
What’s also worst is that no one from BDO has yet to come forward and do or say something. I don’t envy that individual, however, because he or she will become the target of customers’ wrath. Whatever that person says or does, some customers (and I can hardly blame them) feel what BDO has — or hasn’t — done is unforgivable.
Some Suggestions For This Issue
Based on my call center work, along with numerous things I’ve learned about crisis management and public relations, I offer a few suggestions for BDO.
First, at least acknowledge the issue. If BDO’s Facebook account is any indication, many of their customers at least demand answers or an acknowledgment. Rightfully so.
Heck, even a simple sorry will do. Something along these lines:
Hi everyone. We are aware of the situation and are truly sorry. We understand our customers feel frustrated about the situation, so we are resolving it as soon as possible. (optional if they’re willing to do: We will also provide details in the coming days.)
I understand if they hesitate to answer because they are still fixing the problem or still don’t know what to say, but they need to acknowledge their customers’ frustrations NOW.
Second, and if they mention the optional thing above, they must follow through with providing specifics about the situation. More importantly, they must be truthful about it.
I know that some people feel being truthful or upfront isn’t always a good idea, and maybe so. I have moments where being upfront worked against me, although those moments are few compared to those where people expressed some appreciation for the truth.
The truth hurts, but (supposedly) it’ll set you free.
And obviously, BDO needs to fix the problem or offer quickly some alternatives where customers can withdraw their money. I imagine some customers need their money for something urgent such as paying hospital bills.
Third, the bank ought to state their actions moving forward. That includes how to ensure this situation won’t happen again (at least in the near future) and how to resolve their customers’ problems if it does.
A Few Parting Thoughts
Of course, the rest is up to BDO.
I expect many of their customers will not only demand answers, but solutions and even compensation.
Alas, I also expect BDO to keep compensation to the barest minimum, although they can (arguably) afford it. From a business’ perspective somewhat, minimizing compensation is part of controlling their costs.
For me, ultimately, it boils down to them deciding what is more urgently important. Whatever they decide, they’ll do themselves plenty of favors by addressing their customers’ frustrations despite the costs.
At any rate, I pray for everyone affected by this debacle. As for BDO, they really better find ways — fastest.
If they want to win back customers’ hearts, anyway.
Added: I don’t advocate any deceptive “PR spin” lest someone gets that idea. Up to BDO what that is.