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Lessons Learned from Confessions of a Chase Representative

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I love the Consumerist’s Confessions articles and recently they had one from a Chase representative, which taught me quite a bit about the inner workings of a bank and credit card company. The Confessions articles are fantastic because you get actionable information from an insider willing to tell you how things really work. In this case, it’s a customer representative and they validate a lot of ideas people have had about how to work with them. Here are the lessons I’ve learned and distilled from the confessions article.

Be Civil

First off, you should be civil and courteous to anyone you ever deal with. There’s simply no reason to be a prick about anything, even if you are having the worst day of your life. Everyone you deal with is a human being and everyone, deep down inside, wouldn’t mind helping someone out if that person is being nice to them. No one likes being talked down to, insulted, berated, or any of the other things you’d be doing if you flipped out on them. So be civil, courteous, polite, nice, whatever, and you’re more likely to get the results you like.

Get To The Point

Stores are great for books and movies, they’re not good for resolving problems unless the solver needs them. Get to the point of your call ASAP and then let the representative ask pointed questions to dig down deeper. They know the root cause, let them ask questions to find the answer and you won’t waste both of your times giving useless information over the phone.

Three Strata of Credit Card Users

This was interesting and not unexpected, there are three strata of customers (Best, Valuable, and Non-Profit) and I’d guess that every financial institution as at least three categories. What you should take away from this is that you should try to be in the least valuable category (Non-Profit) and learn from the mistakes of the other categories. One interesting point to make is that they don’t consider spending patterns in the calculation (or the confessor just didn’t mention it) because even if you get 1% cash back, the credit card is still earning money on transaction fees. I also disagree with the idea that they won’t waive fees for Non-Profit customers, I’m pretty non-profit and I get fees waived.

Six Months Time Limit

Very valuable to learn, you can get fees waived about once every six months – especially if you’re nice. I would try to get them waived even if you do get hit more often than every six months and then I’d try to fix my behavior so I stop getting dinged all the freaking time.

Those are the things I learned reading that article, did you get anything else out of it?

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8 Responses to “Lessons Learned from Confessions of a Chase Representative”

  1. Frugal Dad says:

    I used to be a call center representative for a 3rd party processor that handled outsourced credit card customer service, etc. I agree with all of the above, particularly the points about being civil and getting to the point. Most call center reps are judged on productivity (number of calls, low talk time, etc.) and quality (through monitored or recorded playbacks). Keeping your story short helps the rep’s efficiency and they are more likely to pay you back through a fee waiver.

  2. RacerX says:

    Thanks for linking to that post. It was really interesting and will provide fodder for the next time I call my card companies.

  3. I read this over at Consumerist too, and thought the most interesting thing was the classifications. It was something of a shock to discover that I’m a nonprofit, completely unvalued customer, and that I would have no leverage whatsoever (I never would have guessed that a threat to take my business elsewhere would result in a “let me close that account for you right now”). I’m really close to earning a $100 check in rewards points on my Chase card, and once that’s done, I’m taking it out of my wallet and not using it anymore (I won’t close it, since it’s my oldest account). I don’t use it very much anyway, but this made me realize that I want to minimize my contact with Chase!

  4. CFO: These thoughts aren’t unique to Chase – all credit card companies feel the same way and have the same game plan for how to treat customers.

  5. mbhunter says:

    CFO: There are other Chase cards that pay rebates monthly as credits to your account.

  6. AnotherChaseRep says:

    I am also a Chase rep and I completely agree with the prior rep.

    * Treat me like a person and I will treat you like a person. I am just doing a job. I am not your enemy.

    * The longer you take to get to the point or the longer you “rant & rave” just makes other customers wait longer. Have you ever stood in line behind someone who was taking forever for no reason? A call center is the same, there are many people “standing in line” behind you. Get to the point. We want to help you AND the other people waiting behind you in a reasonable timeframe. You don’t want to wait on hold ten minutes, don’t make others wait on hold for ten minutes.

    * Why do you wait on hold to hear your balance? The automated system has the same information. Why wait? Let the reps help those who actually need help.

    * Want to give your opinon? Write a letter. We are not the complaints department. Giving your opinion to a rep doesn’t go anywhere. Writing a letter will be forwarded to someone with decision making ability. If enough letters are received relating to the same issue, that’s how changes are made.

    * Please, Please, Please…. take more than one credit card with you when you are travelling. Then you are not stuck if we have computer issues, or the card is being declined because of security issues.

    * Fill out your surveys. You want to make a change? This is the most useful method. The surveys WILL be read by the “top dogs”.

  7. Brenda says:

    I have had multiple accounts with Chase and never once had a late payment. I had a Chase credit card that I hardly ever use. Recently I had one late payment on a balance of $25 (only because I forgot I used the card) and they socked me with a $15 fee. Everyone refused to waive the fee. I canceled my card and will NEVER have business with them again.

    The last time I had a late fee with a different card, about 3 years ago, they waived the fee because it was the only time it ever happened. Not Chase. This customer is gone.

  8. Shawnel says:

    I’ve been waiting on Chase Mortgage to refund my double paid city and county taxes for over 4 months now. Every time I call it is still in processing and it is going to be 2 more weeks or 30-60 days. I don’t see how this is right to make me wait this long for money that is mine when they made the mistake. I’ve talked to a manager and everything but they are still making me wait. Not very good costumer service if you ask me.


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