A Message to Capital One and Other Companies Who Sell Commodities

A Message to Capital One and Other Companies Who Sell Commodities


I recently received a phone call from the Capital One Fraud Department. Apparently they ‘detected’ fraudulent activity on my account. When the woman started asking me for my account number or social security number, I became a bit suspicious. I told her that I would call them back. I forgot. A few days later, I received another call letting me know that my current card would be closed and a new one would be sent to me. Still a bit leery, I called them back using the fraud number I found on their website. I had to wait on hold for awhile. I thought this was a bit odd that they would have a high-hold time for their fraud department, as it really affects their bottom line - I won’t be responsible for any fraudulent charges, so you would think that they would want to help the customer ASAP. I tweeted out my thoughts on this matter and Capital One’s Twitter account responded immediately. I didn’t notice this until after my phone call.

After waiting for about 5 minutes or so, a man with a foreign accent answered. As an aside, everyone that I spoke with in the fraud department had a foreign accent… is this department outsourced? To this man’s credit, he was friendly. However, it seemed that he couldn’t get any question answered or make any changes to my account without putting me on hold multiple times. When he asked about the recent charges on my account, he seemed very surprised by the fact that they were fraudulent charges. These two charges were in New York/New Jersey…. I’ve never been to either. After 30 mins of talking/hold, there was a resolution to send me a new card and cancel the charges.

Two weeks later, were the charges canceled? No. I was outraged! I don’t and still don’t understand why it’s so difficult to remove the charges. So I tweeted out a response to their first response to my first tweet. I received an email on Sunday notifying me about my statement balance. I checked the statement, and the charges were still there. I lost it. I called, and fortunately the woman that I spoke to was friendly as well. I prefaced our conversation that I was really upset and that I realized that it wasn’t her fault, but unfortunately as a representative of the company she needed to listen to my anger. I was very clear that the last two charges were fraudulent and needed to be removed. She said that she would instantly remove them and that credit would show up on my statement. I just checked, and I’ve been credited. Phew.

What Capital One and Other Companies Who Produce Commodities Should Change

Let me first state that I believe that my experience with Capital One reflects a company who is at least trying. Their customer service was friendly and the fact that they have a Twitter account demonstrates a willingness to care. However, more must me done.

See, companies who produce commodities (credit card companies are a dime dozen)… need to go out of their way to create loyalty, as consumers aren’t loyal to commodities. Customer service is marketing. If I tell five of my friends that I’ve had problems with Capital One, they are less likely to choose Capital One. This problem is exacerbated in our modern social networked world. Now, all it takes is a Facebook status update or a Tweet for 1000’s of people to know of my subpar experience with Capital One. If Capital One had a zero wait-time when I called, cancelled the charges immediately, didn’t keep me on the phone for over 30 mins, and their Twitter users took more initiative, I would be one satisfied customer.

I know, I know… there is that argument that companies who produce commodities operate on razor-thin margins. Well, if Zappos can sell shoes and deliver a great customer service experience, then I’m convinced most other companies can too. Even Reflect7 is a living model of this. We get constant complaints, most of the time people receive an email response right away.

The real lesson here is that industries with so much competition need to leverage personalization and caring as a reason as to why consumers should stay with them.

If you enjoyed this, you might enjoy:

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  4. Focus on Your Customers and the Money Will Follow
  5. Be Exceptional and People Will Market for You

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