Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Is Your Credit Card Company Listening to You?


When I got a call on my cell phone this week from a representative from Chase credit cards, my first thought was "unusual spending patterns" and concerns about a stolen card. However, it turned out to be a proactive call to seek to understand why we weren't using the card as much as we had in the past.

I explained that we use our American Express Blue Cash card as much as possible because it offers 1.5% cash back on everyday purchases. The agent did a good job of engaging in a dialogue about some features I might not be aware of with our Chase Cash Plus Rewards card, and I let her know how bizarre I've always found it that they don't offer any incentive to take a $50 gift card in lieu of a $50 statement credit (who in their right might chooses a gift card over cash?). But in the end they don't offer a card that offers 1.5% cash back for every day purchases, so I won't be making any changes in our card at this time.

But here's the thing that got me to blogging about this interaction... Although I thought it was great they were proactively reaching out to see what they could do to retain or earn more of our business, I mentioned that I blogged in detail about why I use the credit cards I use. I asked her if I could E-mail her a link to that blog entry and she told me she didn't have an inbound E-mail address that I could send the link to. Yikes.

For me, great companies should be out doing Google searches to see what people are saying about the credit cards they carry. They'll be searching Twitter for occurrences of their name and responding to criticism and praise. Or better yet, using listening tools like Google Alerts, Twitter search RSS feeds, or Social Mention.

Companies often say they don't have time for social media- but somehow they have time to call individual card holders to engage in lengthy conversations? I just don't get it. Social media, if used effectively, provides leverage and helps companies improve not just one customer's impression of their brand but the impression of everyone that person interacts with.

So, my advice to companies like Chase is to interact with people the way they want to be interacted with. If you really want to hear what people think of your brand, get on Twitter, empower your employees with E-mail addresses, and open up the lines of communication. Otherwise, I'm left with little confidence that you really want to hear what I have to say, and even if you do listen you won't be capable of acting upon the conversation.
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