Customer Frustration Department

Last week I got an automated call from my credit card company.  They had noticed some strange activity on my credit card and wanted me to call to verify the details.  Their message was pre-recorded and automated (I’m feeling suspicious already – I already get several scam calls a week with pre-recorded messages), they included their address in the message (why? They’re not asking me to write to them are they? – this is public data – is this a scammer trying to give me a false sense of security with publicly available information?) and gave a phone number to call that was not the number on the back of my card (third red flag here).

Customer Frustration Department

So I called the number on the back of my card (free tip: ALWAYS call this number – never a number left on your voicemail) which is was in digits too small to read – I needed a magnifying glass.  It turns out that there were about 4 fraudulent transactions on my card in the last 2 days.  So they immediately cancelled my card and sent me a new one which would arrive in 2 days.  Now I have to go through my card activity and work out who I have to notify of the change – I run my entire business on my credit card, so it’s over an hours work – some don’t have online forms to update (so 1990’s of them).  Within an hour I had my first email from a supplier with a declined charge!

So, faster than promised, the new card arrived the next day.  It’s really nice when a big old bank exceeds expectations.  But it didn’t last for long.  They gave a me new card number but the same expiry date as my old card – which expired in 4 months!!  The “nice” big old bank was back in the “dumb big old bank” category where it usually sits.  So I had to call again (out comes the magnifying glass again) and (as politely as I could – dumb big old banks don’t bring out my nicer qualities), wait on hold (very short hold, looking nicer) and explain to the operator why the had to send me a second replacement card in 2 days.  Fortunately he completely understood (niceness restored)  and promised a new card with at least 2 years on it.  It arrived 3 days later and I have now changed all my scheduled payments over.

Crisis averted!

While the bank probably couldn’t have done anything to avert the problem in the first place (fraudulent card use is an epidemic), they certainly could have done lots to make my experience better.

So here’s my challenge for you today: What are you doing to increase frustration for your customers?  Remember, we are in the experience economy.  If your customers do not have a GREAT experience (good is not enough any more) they will walk – and (like me) tell thousands of friends.

I recommend regularly calling your own phone number and “mystery shopping” your business.  If everyone knows your voice then have a friend do it.  Routinely look for ways that you and your team have got complacent.  Every month seek to improve one aspect of your customer experience journey.  Your customers will appreciate it and your business will improve!

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