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Great products but Bad Experience = DETRACTOR

Posted on February 25, 2010 , by Steve Bernstein
CATEGORIES: Loyalty Research

I’m completely perplexed. I have been a huge fan of Schwab for many years – great products, even better service, and a no-hassle way of working with their customers. But someone in their organization is making some bad decisions, and I hope Charles Schwab will fix it.

Schwab seems to understand that “promoters” (like me) buy more products from the vendors they love. And that holds true for me. When I found out about Schwab’s credit card product it seemed like a complete no-brainer like other Schwab products: a great offering, with great features, and from a company that has historically provided great service. But Schwab seems to have outsourced their banking functions to 3rd parties. And that experience stinks. Is this a one-off – Schwab can’t manage their outsourcer? – or a sign that Schwab has decided to abandon their principles?

Here’s my experience so far (3 weeks with a new credit card)

Does Schwab think they're providing outstanding service by forcing me to call them...?

1. Credit Card activation is normally an easy process when you get your credit cards in the mail.


Just activate from your home phone. But this outsourcer wants to try to sell me something, so they transfer me to a live agent, where I waited on hold for 20 minutes, only to have them tell me that everything’s fine and I could’ve skipped that step. Sure, now they tell me, after I decline their offer and complain…

2. After a few weeks of using that credit card I tried to buy software online using that card. The purchase was declined. I figured I must have typed in the number wrong so I used my AmEx card just fine. Now, today I was hosting a business lunch and my card was declined…very embarrassing! Again, I took out my trusty AmEx and all was fine. Turns out that software purchase was billed out of London and they wanted to “verify my spending patterns” before allowing the card to be used again. And then they tell me ”it’s for my protection.”

I say, bullsh*t, it’s for their protection: if it was for my protection then they would have called me to verify instead of just shutting down the card. After all, they made me verify 3 pieces of personal contact information when I called to find out what was up (phone number, email address, and home address). So if they had all my contact info, why not proactively notify me for my protection? Instead I wasted my time, AND THIERS. And now I’m getting annoyed with Schwab.

There’s not yet a third strike yet… let’s see what happens… So while the product provides “value”, I can’t exactly recommend it due to the hassle factor involved.

This is what happens when products move from one organization to another – things slip through the cracks. Those cracks are called “the customer experience.” And despite great features at a great price, this customer experience isn’t worth it.

Chuck, are you listening?