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: morgueFile.com. Author: Kevin Rosseel

3 comments :

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 https://www.citibank.com.sg/SGGCB/APPS/portal/loadPage.do?tabId=home&path=/promo/det/cb_promo08.htm

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!