Friday, February 11, 2011

A Consumer's Triumph

It's amazing what a short sentence in a personal blog can accomplish these days.

The Scene: Sitting at my desk (yes! sitting! in a chair! progress is being made!) yesterday morning, watching a coyote rub himself on something scrumptious in the middle of the road and feeling calm and comfortable for the first time in a long time.  No one else in the house - TBG having decided that I can be left alone for an hour while he goes to the gym - and feeling no pain.  Life was stable and almost good.

Then the phone rang.  I wasn't in the mood to be disturbed but I'm incapable of ignoring the pleading ringing.  Caller ID is my new best friend; I'm never surprised. 

CHASE was staring at me from the window.  Hmmmmmm....... what now? Had I missed another payment?  Was there another problem?  Semi-aggravated, I picked up the receiver and said hello.

Christine identified herself as a manager.  My anxiety began to rise; I must have done something really wrong this time.  But no, the more I listened the broader my smile became.  "Chase management had become aware of my situation" ..... someone on their staff is monitoring social media, it seems.  My comment in Wednesday's post , even without a label to alert them, had been found.  Management is aware.... this was sounding interesting.

Unusually for me, I didn't interrupt her.  I just let her talk.  They had reviewed the situation.  They had listened to the calls.  They were sorry.  They regretted the inconvenience and the unhappiness they had caused.  They were sorry that I was given bad information because I rely upon the company to tell me the truth and to be prompt in its responses.  They were apologetic that an agent had given me mis-information and they wanted me to know that steps were being taken to rectify the situation.

At that point I had to say something.  The lovely woman I spoke to first had, obviously, told me that the card would be available when in fact it wouldn't ... but she was kind and sympathetic and just a little teary and she raced around trying to solve the problem just as fast as she could.  The fact that she had mis-read a clock, or a protocol, was not behind my anger with the company.  She was wonderful, everyone makes mistakes, but her attitude was so thoughtful and filled with love that I had to insure that nothing untoward would happen to her,  It was the manager I spoke with the next day, the one who told me that my sad story was nothing more than a sad story and that there was no one else with whom I could speak, it was with her that my problems arose.

Christine understood.  She heard me.  She listened. She shared "upper management's concerns" that I be treated well, just as all their customers should be treated well.  They were so sorry to have added to my  burden, to have embarrassed my husband, to have put any stumbling blocks in my road to recovery.

And then there was the fun part.  "We'd like to offer you...." was how the sentence began and suddenly the interest charges and the late fees had vanished from the account.  A VISA gift card is on its way to my house.  Christine's business card with all her contact information was on its way, too, and if I ever have any problems of any kind with my account she is my go-to-girl.

Well, denizens, what can I say?  They searched me out and found the problem and I have this fabulous image of senior management sitting around a table wondering and pondering and furrowing their brows, all worrying about poor me and my credit card.  They managed to figure out that Ashleigh and Suzi are one and the same (one wonders how) and they chose the perfect person to convey their regrets and their solutions.  Christine was confident and concerned and connected to my pain; a young mother herself she was able to relate to Christina-Taylor and the day we had planned as if it had happened to her. She understood that I was insulted, she understood that her firm had made a mistake, and she seemed to be personally affronted that a Chase employee had mistreated me. 

I just kept going back to the image of the upper management of the bank spending the day worrying about what The Burrow was going to do next.  I liked the picture.  A lot.

So, I am going to keep paying my bills through the Chase VISA card.  Christine convinced me that they want to be my bank, and I cannot deny that this counts as extremely wonderful customer service.  I'll be using that Amex every once in a while, but it's nice to know that the number I've memorized for my VISA card does not have to be relegated to the trash bin.

If you haven't cut up your cards yet, why not hold off for a while.  And if you have any problems, let me know.  I'll see what Christine can do for you, too.

19 comments:

  1. It's great how many companies are using the social media to connect to their consumers directly and address the problem, although more need to do it. And of course, it would be ideal if we didn't have to deal with horrible customer service to begin with... but I doubt that would ever happen.

    Something similar happened to me with my experience with Empire Today. I blogged about it (http://goo.gl/PNm3B) and then got a phone call within a day (http://goo.gl/iJEKO)

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  2. Isn't it amazing what people will do if they even get a "Hint" that they could lose business because of what someone says? Kuddos to you! And Kuddos to VISA Chase for making things right. I had a Bank of America Card at one time. On the news one day I heard that a town in New Jersey was having a big parade to welcome home their Hero from the War. (This was approx. 2 years ago) The town people came out in full force to welcome their wounded Hero, the Town Council wanted every store and business to fly the American flag to line the street. And everyone did. Except for Bank of America!! Imagine The Bank of AMERICA, not wanting to put out an American Flag to welcome a wonded soldier hero from the war...When asked why not from the Mayor, BOA said it was their policy not to fly any flags....This is BANK OF AMERICA, mind you....and they didn't fly a fly for that young man. It was on TV, on the radio, blogs, etc...and I went to my Bank of America and cut up my card and closed my account. I now am with VISA Chase and so far have been happy. The public can make a lot of difference. BOA lost a lot of customers over that, and I think they should have. It made me furious. So, I'm glad your one liner helped you out. They might have saved themselves from losing a lot of customers...good for you ...debbie

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  3. The power of blogging! Well done you. Even in your present state you manage to turn wheels.

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  4. I read a similar story on a blog a while back. Yes, the big companies do pay attention to this crazy social media. I'd like to think it isn't their public embarrassment that spurs them on to make these conciliatory gestures, but rather an awareness that things happen beyond our control, and that they can bend sometimes to accommodate those things. I'm glad you shared this story.

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  5. I do have to wonder what would have happened to someone not in the limelight...I honestly do not think they would have got the same response...no matter how much we blogged about it. I am glad you are doing well and continue success in your recovery...

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  6. you are my hero, in more ways than one, but you have conquered the mighty Chase...unheard of ! Scary that they monitor social media, watch for us to say something. My sister in law is fighting a battle with her cable company and I am forwarding these two posts to her to give her hope that she can speak to a Christine, someone who will listen and act.

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  7. It's been my experience that if you write to the top and copy everyone in on the executive team, they usually respond. When Bank of America wanted to raise my rate for no reason, I sent a note to their executive team and my congressman. I received a call two days later. I basically told them that just because other people weren't paying their bills, that I didn't think it fair that my rate was going up. They kept my rate at 5%. I received a call from the executive support team apologizing and was told that someone from my congressman's office called them on my behalf. Was totally shocked that my congressman's office did that and that BofA even acknowledged it. I'm a strong believer in rattling cages. ;)

    Glad someone rattled Chase's cage and made them do the right thing (although they need to train their customer service reps in sensitivity training). This shouldn't have happened in the first place.

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  8. Great news! And I am so pleased to hear that you are feeling better!

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  9. A/B
    I am glad you conquered Chase and they waived your late fees and apologized for their unprofessionalism to you and TBG because of the circumstances surrounding your hospitalization. I work in the financial industry and many large Banks and Brokerage firms monitor social media (Blogs, Facebook, and Twitter) now so it did not surprise me what happened especially under your unique circumstances. I hope you are on the road to a quick recovery. God Bless you, your family, and the Green family.

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  10. FABULOUS! So glad to hear that you had a good day!!! And that it actually involved a bank. Who knew? Anyway. Bloggers have power. Seriously. We do. The ones that don't know it are just plain stupid. As a former Customer Service Professional at a Fortune 500 Company, I can tell you that it is definitely in your best interest to go to the top. Every. Single. Time. Keep on asking to speak to the supervisor and the boss and the V.P. and the Head of Whatever...til you get to the King or Queen of the Heap. You WILL get results. I'm so glad Christine was able to assist you!! I'm a Chase cardmember as well...and will continue to be...thanks to your post today!!

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  11. The phone call and customer service from Chrstine is definitley one to be praised. It's good to know that situations do get heard and corrected...the right way!
    Elizabeth

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  12. Booyah, girl! If you've got it, work it. Heck, I might even switch over to YOUR card. Christine rocks.

    To Christine: May you get a raise.

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  13. Since I have retired and streamlined my expenses, I have cancelled some things I do not feel are absolutely necessary. I have had so many people calling me offering everything from cutting the costs of whatever service they provided, to giving me several months service free. I should have done this long ago....

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  14. I am so glad the rant about Chase turned into something good. I did this one time about bad service at a department store. Instead of a call to apologize and make nice, the manager called and berated me for posting this complaint on my blog and not calling her personally. (Like you can get through to the store manager, just like that) She was furious with me, and even after I took down the post, because she was so hurt, I still heard that she was complaining about the blog post and how dare I do this to HER. The chain has since filed for bankruptcy and gone out of business.

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  15. Chase broke down and did the right thing.

    As an aside: My wife doesn't read blogs, but as of three weeks ago she has become captivated with yours. She daily checks in. You affect people.

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  16. I love the consumer advocacy strain in my readers' lives! Yes, the squeaky wheel does get attention but I'm not sure it's because I am semi-famous now. I wrote a post on Comcast 5 months into The Burrow (http://ashleighburroughs.blogspot.com/2009/09/ranting.html) and got a prompt response almost immediately. There are bots or 20somethings perusing social media and reporting upstream.

    It may not be the same as toppling the Mubarak regime, but this little blog does have an impact, it seems.

    The lesson? Stay on top of those nasty corporations, denizens. Go straight to the top and don't let up until you are satisfied. I am here to say "it works!"

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  17. Chase on 2E Congress? Stop in say hello to Michelle Reed. I know she would have been your personal advocate in the situation that ensued. You are girl after my own heart... especially since my professional career has been Customer Experience Management! The business adage is that "we want to hear from those that are unhappy to make things right. Things can't be addressed if no one notifies the Powers that Be!" Another one: "Your Problem becomes our Opportunity to turn a negative into a positive and win back your trust and confidence!" And lastly: "You have to worry more about the people you don't hear from! Customers that have a resolution in their favor and when the company exceeds their expectations are more than likely to be a better customer after that and will tell their friends and fellow bloggers how great they were treated!"

    Glad all worked out well... WIN WIN Situations are the Best!

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  18. YaY! I love that they made it right for you... I told my mom your story, as she also banks with Chase and she was shocked and certain that your call must have fallen in the wrong hands because only weeks ago she was in the hospital for surgery and in the healing stage missed a payment, but made a phone call and they waived her late fee after taking a look at her record. I'm sorry you had to deal with it in the first place, but SO glad they made it right.

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