True story: I once got a $60 cheque from Citibank Visa for overpaying on my credit card account. I charged $40 onto the card, endorsed the cheque and sent it back to Citibank, whereupon they destroyed it and closed my account. Why? Because I’d used a non-sanctioned method of payment.
This is just a small side story of my epic battle to get $130 back from Citibank Visa. I’d like to go into detail but space and mental health is limited. As I kept a spreadsheet on each customer service call, I can share the numbers:
10 calls to customer service reps (in)
3 countries (U.S,India, Phillipines) +
1 e-mail to the Better Business Bureau of Nevada all over the course of
Even more annoying was the fact that after each call I’d get an e-mail from Citibank asking me to rate the customer service experience. Since we now know that corporations are people too, I’ve decided to write a letter to my friend and giant corporation, Citibank.
I hope that you are well and hope that you have found the stimulus package, stimulating. Possibly some of your ailments were caused by a customer service deficiency; it seems to be quite virulent. Here are some tips on how to improve. No need to listen to lil’ ole’ me, these come from a master, Tony Hsieh of Zappos.com
1) Customer Service DOES NOT begin with the customer service rep.
IN a 2008 interview with Success Magazine, Mr. Hsieh said, “It doesn’t matter which position you [accept]. You can be an accountant or a lawyer, and you still go through the same training that our call centre reps go through . . . . If we want our brand to be about customer service, then customer service needs to be the whole company not just a department.”
Upserving means making customers more satisfied with their decision to do business with you. An increase in customer satisfaction means an increase in returning customers. In the words of Hsieh, “On any given day [repeat business] is about 75% of our orders”
3) Make Surprises Pleasant
Finding out that Citbank Visa didn’t accept Citibank Visa cheques was a surprise and a very unpleasant one at that. Compare this to what Mr.Hsieh has implemented at Zappos, “We promise customers, that they’re going to get their shoes in four to five business days, but actually for almost all of our customers we do a surprise upgrade to overnight shipping.”
Citibank Visa, I know you are a mega corporation but you can still learn from a company that went from zero to one billion in sales in under ten years, and consistently ranks high in customer satisfaction. By the way my newest Visa credit card is gathering dust in the bottom drawer of my nightstand, I don’t have the nerve to call your customer service center and activate it.
Your friend who is scared of you,