Logic and Compassion, Facts and Nurturing, Fun and Exploring - check here

We continue the sometimes joyful and sometimes painful path to try to be better human beings - this is only possible because we can rise above logic, that we find the wonder and hope, the language and words to inspire us and keep us going. Thanks for visiting.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Management MIA : Chasing Customers Away

Can you afford to ignore customers? Can you afford to chase them away? Even worse, what if every unhappy or ignored customer from the past 10 years starts telling their stories.

In the age of bloggers and Google Alerts and commentary, all kinds of up-to-now hidden cases of customer abuse (to small or larger degree) are surfacing.

I just have to re-produce the conversation that Valeria Maltoni had with Chase - she just wrote about it February 10th and IT HAPPENED TWO YEARS AGO.

"I called Chase and after hitting many numbers on my touch-tone phone, I finally got to a live person; life was good, now I could explain they had made a mistake. The conversation went like this:

“Hello, how are you doing today?” said the customer service rep at Chase.

“Very well, thank you,” I tend to start these calls on the cheery side for good measure.

“How can I help you today?” he says.

“Well, I just received my new platinum Chase card, and I think there was a mistake,” and then I plunge in, “It’s a MasterCard and I used to carry a Visa.”

“There was no mistake, the platinum Chase is a MasterCard.”

“Well then, since I did not ask to be upgraded to a platinum card, can I please have my old Chase Visa back?”

“That is not possible; Chase has upgraded to MasterCard.”

“So let me understand this, indulge me for a moment. Are you saying that all of the cards Chase issues are now MasterCard?”

“Yes madam, that’s what I’m saying.”

“But I already carry a MasterCard. I want a Visa.”

“We switched thousands of customers and nobody is complaining.”

“I’m not complaining, I’m explaining to you that I do not need a MasterCard and I want a Visa.”

“We communicated that to all our customers and nobody complained.”

“Sir, this is not a complaint, it’s a request. And I am not thousands of customers; I am the one who is talking with you on the phone now.”

“Is there anything else I can do for you at this time?”

“Well, I guess there isn’t. Chase has already decided to cut an exclusive deal with MasterCard, whether its customers like it or not.”

“Thank you for doing business with Chase, goodbye.”

And that was the end of the call. The extremely polite customer service rep has been trained to follow the guidelines, not take comments or feedback from his company’s customers. Since I did not intend to keep the card and carried no balance on the account, I wrote a letter to the President of Chase Bank at the time explaining why I was canceling my card and referencing my call.

I never heard back..... " Valeria ends with some salutary advice:

"why not listen to customers? Why not take the time to answer letters and emails? If the communications come from just one customer here and there, it wouldn’t be so time consuming after all and you might make a few friends in doing so. That person on the other end of your phone might be an influential. Is it smart to ignore the inquiries of customers? In this new business context where social media is gaining in credibility and scope can you afford to ignore these inquiries? What’s in *your* wallet?"

Valeria Maltoni • Conversation Agent • Philadelphia, PA • ConversationAgent@gmail.comwww.conversationagent.com

For another unhappy credit card customer story, look at the one told by Millie Garfield at

" I'm not happy losing my 5% rewards program and I'm not happy with the new rewards plan but listen to this!

....when I received the new card I followed the instructions, called to activate the card and did what they reminded me to do, "I destroyed the old card."

The next day I.... used my NEW CARD. Well, what do you know, "card NOT AUTHORIZED."

I tried it several times but it was not accepted!! I did not have enough cash to pay for my purchases ......"

A tip - for Business working out how to build relationships with Customers - what are you doing to chase customers away? Or make them love what you do?

Just do a google on "your company name" + "happy"

No comments: