Thursday, May 03, 2007

Another dumb marketing decision - Citibank

For the price of one letter and the 60 seconds of customer service time it would have taken to send the letter, Citibank lost my business. Brilliant.

I have had a Citibank credit card for 10+ years now. And I'm sure it's been profitable for them given the finance charges I've paid over the years. Had recently opened a checking/savings account, too, but either didn't receive or had misplaced the PIN# for it, so I could not use it or sign up for online banking. I asked for another PIN# to be sent to me. Was informed I needed to go into a branch and do it live. There's a branch about 8 blocks from me, and it's open Saturday mornings, but I'd rather not spend time on a Saturday morning visiting a bank branch to get a freaking PIN# so I could use their services.

The front line rep who handled my call was pleasant enough and seemed sympathetic, but she had to go to her supervisor on this one. Obviously this is a big call to make. So, I asked her [quite civilly, too - I wasn't one of those clowns who loses his sh*t to the unempowered CSR] to inform her supervisor of the fact that I did have a longstanding, certainly profitable credit card account with them and that I would in fact just prefer to close my checking account with them than be bothered to go visit a branch on a Saturday morning.

Held the few minutes I was asked to hold. Then was informed that, no, they wouldn't be mailing me a new PIN#.

To ease the blow, the front line rep noted that they've even told people who live 20 miles from a branch that they need to go there live rather than have a new PIN# mailed to them. I appreciate what she was trying to do, but if that's really the case, all that does is further underline how moronic of a policy Citibank has in place. Who made that decision? And who is training their customer service supervisors? Brilliant work on their part.

The story may not end there, either, as I recently learned that my employer's preferred airline is likely to change. My Citibank credit card is a miles card associated with the current airline. Might be a useful time to flip the credit card account to someone else, too, no? Something I really wouldn't have otherwise considered. But, the CSR sup did save the price of that letter she would have spent to send me that PIN# so I could deposit funds with them. So she's got that going for her, which is nice.