7.13.11 by Dov
There are numerous books, articles, and theories about how startup companies are able to defeat entrenched, heavily capitalized competitors. But I’m starting to think that in many cases it just comes down to not being stupid. There’s something about bureaucracy that makes otherwise intelligent people do stupid things. I thought I’d share a wonderful example with you that came in my inbox today.
So, I use Chase’s online bill pay service periodically. Today, I received an email from them:
Dear Chase Online Banking Customer,
In March, we made a change to the way your bill payments through Chase Online Bill PaySM are funded. At that time, we changed our practice so that if you entered a payment after the 8pm ET Cutoff Time, on a weekend or on a holiday that was scheduled to be sent the next business day, we did not debit the payment from your Pay From account until the Send On date.
Based on the customer feedback we’ve received since that time, we’re returning to the process we used before our change in March.
Beginning July 17, 2011, we will withdraw funds from your Pay From account immediately for payments scheduled to be sent on the next business day that are entered after the 8pm ET Cutoff Time, on a weekend or on a holiday.
Please note that we will continue to withdraw funds from your account on the Send On date for future-dated or repeating payments, as well as payments scheduled before the Cutoff Time.
We value you as a Chase customer. Please call us at 1-877-CHASEPC (1-877-242-7372) if you have any questions.
Patricia O. Baker
Senior Vice President
Chase Executive Office
Really? Customers contacted them to complain that they’d stopped taking money out of their accounts a day before they executed the transaction? Perhaps they’re worried about that Chase’s legal troubles may put their savings at risk and want to do their part to ensure that the bank survives by encouraging Chase to use the extra 12 hours of float (on what are mostly non-interest bearing accounts in any case).
I’m pretty sure that this is not an email that would be sent by an SVP (or any other employee) at a successful startup company. If for no other reason than a successful startup wouldn’t be likely to randomly give up a good source of profit (that customers probably don’t even notice or care about) in the first place.
I wrote Patricia an email back asking her specifically what customers were so concerned about that forced them to switch back. Will let you know what she says when she writes back. Yeah – like that’s going to happen.
Update (7/14/11): I’ve now received Chase’s response to my query, so I figured I’d share it to close the loop. Here’s the actual message I sent:
Just out of curiosity, are you implying that customers actually wrote in to say please withdraw funds from my account a day earlier?
I understand why this is great for Chase (and it probably doesn’t impact customers much, given interest rates and the relatively small amounts I’d imagine most bill pays are for), but it struck me as surprising that customer feedback would actually request you revert.
Would love to hear what response you got, if anyone there is willing to share.
And here’s what I got back:
Thank you for contacting Chase.
We appreciate your interest in exploring other services of Chase.
Chase listens to customers feedback to create lifelong engaged relationship by being a trusted provider of financial services. Our services are always in adherence with our business principle. We aspire to be the best, execute superbly and build a great and winning culture.
We value you as a customer and wish for your experience with Chase to be one of satisfaction and ease. We hope that we have provided you excellent service today.
If you require further assistance, please e-mail us via the Secure Message Center or contact Chase By Phone at 1-800-935-9935.
I rest my case.
6.21.11 by Dov
Who thinks this is useful?
From my perspective, I think people have gone overboard with QR codes. I actually saw a billboard over the interstate the other day with a QR code and a message to the effect of “drive safely, use this QR code instead of typing in the URL”. Seriously? Like pulling out my phone, running the QR code app and getting it to focus on a billboard while driving (let’s say) 55 miles an hour is safer than typing a URL (not that I’m recommending that) or even just trying to remember it for later?
New media is great and all, but some common sense would make it go a lot further.