With Hurricane Sandy tearing up to the mid-Atlantic, Chase Consumer Banking sent out an email that reflects the highest order of customer service.
The email described a package of temporary policies to meet the banking and financial needs and worries of customers in a crisis. I’m talking delay of deadlines, waiving of fees, access to aid, etc., (see below for direct quotes):
The policies are designed: they identify and solve a problem, creating a well thought-out and sincere interaction between customers and Chase, whether the customers use the offered help or not.
The keystones of Chase’s strategy:
Honesty Chase was honest with itself about the image of banking as impersonal, rule-bound, uncaring, incomprehensible and fee-seeking and designed policies that would help overcome these image problems…at least for Chase!
Value It anticipated how a customer would feel and what they would need, building a bridge of relevant value, putting customers’ peace of mind ahead of corporate rules (and short-term profit) and
Timeliness It sent the message out before the crisis hit!
Sincerity By nailing all of the above in a letter whose tone was personal, professional and, above all, non-promotional, Chase conveyed a sincere desire to serve
All together, Chase managed an unprecedented communication coup. It built brand loyalty and thus—you guessed it—long-term profit. In fact, the policies’ lack of explicit self-interest sets it apart from anything I’ve received from a bank in 15 years.
You may not always be in crisis, but you can always anticipate your customers’ concerns and best interests and respond in advance.
What Chase sent: Here are highlights (not in order) from the email:
“We will be calling many of our customers in the hardest hit areas to see if there are other ways we can help. ”
“Our branch and telephone bankers are empowered to go the extra mile for customers with storm-related problems or concerns.”
“…we are waiving the following Chase fees through Wednesday, October 31st …
“º Overdraft Protection Transfer, Extended Overdraft, Returned Item and Insufficient Funds Fees for deposit accounts.
“º Late fees on credit cards, business and consumer loans, including mortgages, home-equity, auto and student loans.”
“…we will generally waive the early withdrawal fees on CDs to help customers with their cash flow.”
“We hope these efforts can play a small part in easing some of your worries…if you need help, please call us…”
The voice and focus of this letter showed me a company that has it’s customers’ back. It was the first time I might have dreamed of thinking a bank could be a force for good in a community.
Who should have sent this email but did not? My insurance company!
At least someone learned the lessons of Hurricane Katrina and the BP oil spill!
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