Chase Visa is Destroying Their Tribe

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I was just going through my mail/bills and found a note from Chase Visa.

Canceling is helpful?

It thanked me for being a customer… and then proceeded to tell me that because my account hadn’t been used in a while, they assumed that I didn’t need it and had closed it! The whole thing was presented as if they were being helpful.

I couldn’t see how so I called Chase to find out what had happened. They said, oh it helps you because your credit score will go up, and in this crisis we can’t have open and unused credit lines because the credit bureaus charge us (in case you might use the credit).

Is this about me?  Or them?

Aha! So, it’s not about ME at all. It’s about THEM!! The scary thing is, I just nearly used the card about 10 minutes ago. I was buying model train stuff for my dad, and the site didn’t take Amex.

I finally settled on my debit card instead because a) I figured I hadn’t used the Visa card in a while and model trains were so odd (for me) they might think it was fraud and b) one less addition to my credit card bill next year. Imagine if I’d tried to use the card!!!

Chase doesn’t care

I promised to blog about it. They said they’d seen lots of other people complaining too (including today). But, they didn’t seem to care. It didn’t bother them at all that thousands of their customers were angry. The rep said there was “nothing she could do” and she didn’t even seem sorry about it.  Guess they forgot there’s a person at the other end of the bill.

Don’t hurt your tribe – build it

I wonder, instead of canceling the account, why not send me a letter offering me something to get me to use the card? A discount? Coupons?

Many years ago, when my dad hadn’t used a gas card for a while, the company sent him a letter saying , “We miss you”. Got his attention AND he talked to other people about it. It was viral! Why not make people feel happy instead of angry? Encourage/strengthen your tribe of customers, rather than break it.

Dell’s Marketing is Broken

Hugh at Gaping Void said, “.. if I randomly asked you to make a list of the world’s top ten most “Creative” companies, would Dell make it on to the list? I’m guessing, for most people reading this, they simply wouldn’t.

Yes. I happen think this is a SERIOUSLY huge problem.”

This got me thinking. Dell’s problem is they have no tribe. They haven’t reached out to their customers, or given people considering a new computer any particular reason to prefer Dell over HP or any other brand.

Apple is famous for its “cult” of enthusiastic, loyal customers, a tribe if you will. One reason is that they provide first-class customer support. Several months ago, the display on my iMac wasn’t working properly (everything had a green tinge). I have Apple Care, and they sent a technician here (twice – because he didn’t have the right part the first time) to fix it. For free!

When a Dell customer has a problem, they’re routed to an outsourced customer “service” rep in India, who has been given poor training, may not speak English well, and is forced to rely on a script. I know of one instance (and could easily get more) in which a Dell rep talked a customer through “fixing” her computer. At the end, she said, “OK, where are my files?” They were gone. She’d just deleted them!

Why not encourage Dell owners to talk to each other? Have a forum to discuss problems, work-arounds, and new updates. Have executives hang out and answer questions.

Post software documentation written in plain English (have you seen Microsoft’s online documentation? It’s unintelligible). Offer special upgrades for higher quality tech support. Or heck, just offer the best tech support. Have it stand out, be so remarkable people talk about it.

Are You Marketing Like McCain or Obama?

And now a few words about the election. This is not about politics, but about marketing. Regardless of who you voted for (or whether you are in the US or elsewhere), there are important marketing lessons to learn from this election.

I noticed during the primaries and the campaign, that Hillary Clinton and John McCain kept talking about themselves. It was a classic marketing mistake. They kept focusing on their years of experience, how they’ve made change, everything they’ve done, rather than the voters. They said things like, “I have experience,” “I know how to fix our economy.” Lots of “I” and “me”, but very little “you” and “we”.

Barack Obama, on the other hand, said “we”: “Yes we can”, we can change, we can hope. He brought people together in a way that the other candidates didn’t. Plus, he made excellent use of his Web site, email, Twitter, and new media tools to keep his followers engaged. He sent (as Seth Godin says) personal, relevant, anticipated messages. No robocalls, no interruptions, just permission marketing. He created a “tribe” of people who were eager to hear from him. And, he sent an email thanking every one of them after the election was over.

So, which kind of campaign are you running? Are you talking about yourself? Or, are you talking about your customers’ problems? Do you give them a reason to talk about you? Are you remarkable or average?

by Ten marketing lessons from the Barack Obama Presidential campaign