Stone-Age Customer Service at Zurcher Kantonalbank (ZKB) (State Bank of Zurich, Switzerland)

Stone-Age Customer Service at Zurcher Kantonalbank (State Bank of Zurich, Switzerland)

By Reza Ganjavi

To: Zurcher Kantonalbank CEO and Executive Management Team

Subject: Stone-age customer service mentality at ZKB

Dear All

Further to my last night’s email to the CEO, I have since changed my mind and decided to not be your customer because I do not want to have a relationship with an entity that is not willing to admit to its mistake and take corrective measures, and therefore is not willing to learn and improve. So my email from last night can be ignored.

I have also weighed the option to sue the bank, and determined that I do have a valid cause of action to hold the bank accountable for its error that cost me money – but even being in a lawsuit is being in a relationship – and I do not want to have anything to do with your bank, and that includes a lawsuit which I will not bring. 

Another reason I will not bring a lawsuit is that I view your bank as hopeless, arrogant, and inept when it comes to customer service as I have experienced it on a number of occasions – a couple of which are highlighted below. Therefore, I will not waste my time bringing legal action against what I view to be a hopeless entity – although I’m sure I will win because I have evidence to prove you provided false information that cost me money.

Here are a couple of examples to prove how clueless your customer service organization is, and how much it lacks wisdom to learn and grow.

The parties I have dealt with include Brigitte Iten, Nazareno Daniele, and his subordinate Alina Dreher.

Latest episode: 

I called to inquire about doing a SEPA to Serbia. I had a rep on the phone who walked me through the process after informing me that it would be free of cost for me and the recipient – and I even asked her to stay on the phone as I completed the process and she confirmed that it would be free of charge. I have a recording of this conversation which I made because I was told you also record your calls – so it’s fair that I also recorded the call. 

Turned out there were fees applied to both parties. 

I called to inquire.

The bank informed me that SEPA to Serbia is not free.

I referred to the conversation I had and asked the bank to refund the fee and maybe it chooses to use the opportunity to learn something from it and improve its staff training. 

The response I got was very disappointing. The bank was not willing to own the problem it had created by providing false info, and expected me to eat the costs, which were higher than if I had to send the money in another way. The cost is not the important part, the principle is. I was most disappointed about the bank’s attitude, that the customer is wrong – if this was an American bank they would immediately refund the fee, and send in a note to management to improve training. ZKB instead implied that I was making up this story – which I would not do – for a million francs let along a nominal amount – and denied my request. Even escalation did no good which gave me the impression of a stiff, arrogant, obstinate mentality at the bank.

In another incident, a customer rep made a promise to look into something and call me back, and he totally dropped the case and disappeared.

I called the bank to follow up. Nobody knew who he was. Luckily I had a recording of the call, where he provides a nickname “Boga” that was hard to hear. The bank used my audio to try to identify the rep. That by itself says a lot about your IT systems. On two occasions you have not been able to located a customer call to a representative who took the call. 

The action of the representative indicates the bank has a culture that allows this kind of behavior from its representatives: take a customer call, make a promise, and disappear – drop the ball – as though the call never happened! This is a disaster for anyone who has any clue about customer service. 

After a while the bank succeeded to find the person. I got an email saying: 

“Yes, the person you were looking for was found. His name is Mr. Cihan Basgürboga. He tried to call you last week in order to apologize...”

At least in this case the bank admitted to its error and offered apology – in the first case above it didn’t even do that! That’s how arrogant the bank is. 

For the above reasons, I hold the opinion that your customer service is of stone age and therefore your bank is hopeless, and I want to have nothing to do with you because I do not have time to waste on hopeless entities. If I bring a litigation as a last resort against an entity, it would have to deserve it, and be worth it, which means I see a chance for positive reform, but in your case, I believe the bank will remain in its small-minded yet arrogant state forever. 

I just initiated the transfer of my funds out of ZKB and you can close my account on Monday when it is zero balance.


R. Ganjavi 



Jörg Müller-Ganz, President

Roger Liebi, Vice President

Mark Roth, Vice President

Urs Baumann, Chief Executive Officer

Dr Stephanino Isele, Institutionals & Multinationals Business Unit, Deputy Chief Executive Officer

Dr Jürg Bühlmann, Corporate Clients Business Unit

Roger Müller, Risk Business Unit

Daniel Previdoli, Products, Services & Direct Banking Business Unit

Remo Schmidli, IT, Operations & Real Estate Business Unit

Florence Schnydrig Moser, Private Banking Business Unit

Rudolf Sigg, Finance Business Unit


My Google Maps Review of ZKB

ZKB's customer service is from Stone Age -- or more recently from the era when Switzerland was a farming country only and if a farmer opened a restaurant it did the others a favor so the modern concepts of customer service did not exist there and still doesn't at ZKB which is the worst bank I've ever dealt with. They are experts at giving you a run around - ignoring issues instead of dealing with them. Once I had to waste so much time trying to help them identify an agent who just dropped the ball -- he ended up apologizing once they discovered who it was. Make sure you record your calls because they'll deny what you told you otherwise - they did in my case - but I record the calls because they also record it. But they're so pathetic that they can't even find their recordings, and based on that ineptness they deny what they said -- sorry for them that I had recording to prove them wrong -- and they still did not owned the problem and passed the buck and were shameful enough to blame me for the wrong information their agent gave -- that was the time the agent didn't disappear for weeks and we had to detect from the recording who it was. So be ready to get bogus, false promises which they will not admit they made and won't take responsibility. That's how lousy this bank is, in my opinion. I wrote an article on them in the writings section of my website under law and ethics.


Update - I sent this: 

I asked multiple times to be removed from your mailing list. You keep sending me solicitation emails. I do NOT want to have a relationship with you including getting emails from you. Can you handle that and remove me? I am NOT interested!