Monday, August 04, 2008

Lose that customer

According to a MasterCard Worldwide survey on customers' relationship with the banks, Singapore is the only country in Asia-Pacific where people (61% of them) switch banks because of bad service and not lousy rates and high fees.

Well, this survey finding is spot on where I am concerned. About 10 years ago, I got ditched from being rewarded by a bank whose credit card I had been using regularly for well over 10 years. Credit cards accumulate points which can then be exchanged for rewards. I had a very hectic schedule then and didn't notice that my accumulated points were expiring, until one day after. I called the bank to waive that one day. The guy said he needed to check and duly reverted. I was refused. So this was a higher up decision, not just the front line staff making a hasty 'go-by-the-rulebooks' decision. This meant that the points that I had accumulated, which was quite substantial, was simply just wiped off my account. In a sense, that's cash. I thought that if someone higher up did not value my business, and could be so mercenary with its customer's cash, I'd take it elsewhere. I stopped using that credit card and in all that 10 years since, I have only ever used it a grand total of once. Even today, under the pecking order of cards that I have, it is my least preferred card. There is such as thing known as the lifetime value of a customer. While I don't spend in the 6 digit figure range every month or every year, for that matter, I settle my bills on time and don't give them any problems - re delinquency.

Just the other day, I canceled another credit card one year after I signed up because it slapped me with a card membership fee of S$192. I thought that I had 2 years free use on that card because the telemarketeer said so and the expiry date printed on the card confirmed that. Call me naive if you want, but I do dislike people, and especially businesses, who do not keep their word or who do not have a customer orientation in their business dealings.

Since then, I have only ever used a vanilla credit card (gold, platinum, whatever...they mean nothing nowadays) which rewards with cash rebates. I get the cash which is accumulated through use of the card. So the next time I visit a store that has the facility to inform me of my rebate earnings, I offset my bill at point of purchase - simple, clean and clear. No more having to keep track of expiry dates, no more having to deal with people who cannot waive a one day expiry, or a one year premature membership fee...and the list may go on for others based on my experience with the banks.

Banks are not unaware of this, yet I am still canceling cards. There must be something wrong with the processes in some banks. Ah well, I don't need that many cards, really...

Image source: Author: Kevin Rosseel


Eileen said...

Bad bank service has always been a problem in Singapore. But after i switches to Citibank, I discovered that they not only offer good service but also great schemes. Now they have also introduced fingerprint authentication technology from San Francisco-based Pay By Touch to launch a cardless payment service for credit card transactions. We no longer need to carry the plastic card but cardholders need to simply press their finger to a biometric scanner and key in a seven-digit "Personal search Number".
This is really going be to awesome. Check this site for more information

Epilogos said...

My issue with Citibank is that it is an expensive bank, where charges are concerned. I suppose I cannot get away from the good and cheap mantra, although there are some who say that its days are well nigh over.

SC said...

Hi, you have a very insightful blog and I thoroughly enjoyed reading your entries. I was wondering if you would provide me with the link to that Mastercard survey because I was hoping to use it in my essay. Thank you!