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Chasing Ourselves

Chasing Ourselves

Here’s an excerpt from Seth Godin’s blog dated June 1 (SethGodinsBlog.com):

“Consider the Chase Fraud Prevention department. It costs a credit card company (and especially their merchants) a lot of money when fraudulent charges are made, because they often have to eat the cost. So this department of thousands of people works to make the number of fraudulent charges go down at the same time they keep expenses low. Which sounds great until you realize that the easiest way to do this is to flag false positives, annoy honest customers and provide little or no fallback when a mistake is made.

“Simple example: I regularly get an automated phone call from the bank with an urgent warning. But even when I answer the phone, the system doesn’t let me ring through to an operator. Instead, I have to write every detail down, then call, wait on hold, prove it’s me, type in all the information, and THEN explain to them that in fact, the charge was mine.

“And this department has no incentive to fix this interaction, because ‘annoying’ is not a metric that the bosses have decided to measure. Someone is busy watching one number, but it’s the wrong one.”

Here’s my blog post from December 27, 2012:

Dumb Ass Stupid Management: Chase

On December 23 I decided to make an impulse purchase and get my wife a little more bling for Christmas. The jewelry store is a mile or two from my house. My Chase card has a zero balance.

The card was denied. I used American Express.

By the time I arrived home the fraud prevention people had called. I called back the automated system which verified that it was I making the purchase but, of course, too late. You can’t transfer to a live person. So I called again.

The woman who finally answered after a dozen menu choices and a hold, practiced Customer Service 101 on me. “I know how you feel sir, I’m sorry if the experience was humiliating.”

“It is absolutely impossible for Chase to humiliate me, Chase can only easily irritate me, as you’re doing right now. Why was the card declined?”

Of course, she couldn’t tell me, except that certain exceptions, amounts, conditions, blah, blah, blah. She had no clue, she had no cares, she had her script.

I’ve cancelled this card, one of their premier cards, and I’ve been a cardholder for a long time. I’m tired of dealing with scared, cowardly companies so afraid of losing a few bucks that dramatically inconveniencing customers seems like a reasonable option. I visited Alcatraz a couple of months ago, and it seems to me that fraud prevention people would have made excellent prison guards there.

I’ve decided if you don’t trust me, I don’t want you in my life and I won’t pay you money or purchase your products and services. JPMorganChase was a client of mine once, as was Chase Manhattan before them. I always wanted to give my business and invest in companies that hired me as a consultant.

Times have changed. You have to prove to me that your senior people are leading toward growth and the future, not cutting costs and running from fear.

They can go Chase themselves.

© Alan Weiss 2013

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Alan Weiss is a consultant, speaker, and author of over 60 books. His consulting firm, Summit Consulting Group, Inc., has attracted clients from over 500 leading organizations around the world.

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