To quickly connect with your bank’s customers, a phone call may not be the best. Especially now.

“Level of service [at banks’ call centers] not where it usually is, ”says Brad Cleveland, senior advisor and founding partner at the International Customer Management Institute, which helps banks and other companies make call centers more efficient.

The coronavirus pandemic has affected both sides of the service, Cleveland adds. The volume of calls is increasing, while the call centers had to reduce the number of employees in the offices, adjust the schedule and get more representatives working from home. All this helps to increase the waiting time on the phone.

But you can skip the hearing “All our agents are busy” and use other phones; here is a short list of the popular ones.

1. Chat your bank

Some banks offer a live chat feature that resembles text messaging with a representative on the bank’s website or in a mobile app. This channel is usually a safe place to handle account-related issues when logging in to your account. The waiting time – if you succeed at all – is usually much shorter than for calls, and saves a good reason.

“Banks are converting [more] to messaging at the same time to have more conversations, ”says John Kelly, vice president of financial services at LivePerson. The company powers chat technology for a variety of customers, including some national banks.

Unlike phone calls, chats allow representatives to work with multiple clients one on one. Kelly adds that chatbots or conversational software for artificial intelligence can also play a role, such as answering frequently asked questions or directing a customer question to the right agent.

Not all chat features work the same way. Some banks require you to log in first; others allow you to report when visiting their websites.

Tip: Save the information before the chat is over. Unlike email, closing a chat can mean leaving a record of your correspondence; copy and paste or capture the chat screen if you need to link to this information later.

2. Click your bank

If your bank supports support chats, contacting it on Twitter can help avoid queuing calls. Most banks have social media; some even have pens or usernames dedicated to customer service and a listed watch for direct Twitter support.

Using a public platform has some advantages. You can scroll through other customer inquiries to find out if you have similar ones by clicking on the “Tweet and Responses” tab on the bank’s Twitter page. And you can get the bank’s attention more noticeably, especially if you can’t reach out to him through other channels.

If you don’t know the name of your Twitter account, check your bank’s contact page on your website or search for your bank on Twitter. Here are some examples: @AskCapitalOne for Capital One, @ChaseSupport for Chase, @BofA_Help for Bank of America and @AllyCare for Ally Bank.

Tip: Include personal financial information in the tweet. If you have a problem with your account, the bank may ask you to call or send more details in a direct message via Twitter.

3. Message to your bank

Messages have the same immediacy and feedback energy as chats or tweets, but they can be more convenient than waiting in line. Learn how your bank’s messaging system or “message center” usually works by logging into your online account. Messages usually work as emails, and you may also find it possible to send a message as a bank contact page, but you won’t use regular mail.

Tip: In the first message, clearly explain the situation. Since many banks require you to log in in advance, have already decided and must include any personal account information. In fact your bank may tell you not to do so.

If you still need to call

  • Be prepared either with the documents or with the necessary information, whether you need to confirm your identity to an agent or describe your problem.

  • Your call time is when lower than demand. “Monday, and especially mid and late mornings, is the busiest in the call centers of these organizations,” Cleveland says.

  • Ask the best way to return the circle for current questions. This could mean calling a more direct number next time.

In a crisis, you can call the phone when instinctively contact your bank, but think about your first options. If it is affected by COVID-19, see this list response pages of several banks. Some banks allow you to make online requests for deferred payments. If you still need help, think about contacting your bank through several channels to find out which one is the fastest.

“Bring patience and steal part of the day,” Cleveland says. “We all just have to hang in there.”

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