You’ve seen the commercial about the guy who calls his credit card company and the phone is answered by Peggy, who is actually a middle-aged man. He’s in a small office – in the middle of Siberia – and is surrounded by many Soviet-style phones. When he gets a call, he can only introduce himself and say “yes” to every question.
Well, I had a similar experience yesterday with my bank. First of all, they messed up on some transfers on my accounts. And then they tried to sell me a new credit card. I said, “But I already have three. I’d rather just have two. But if I do this, will it hurt my credit rating?”
The customer service rep just talked about the benefits of the card and never addressed my concern. I asked several times but he just kept to the script. I was talking to Peggy.
I’m obviously not alone. Unfortunately, this mess is actually a big problem for small businesses. Can a big bank really understand the needs of its customers?
Just take a look at a recent program from Chase. It attempts to provide incentives to small businesses to hire more employees (Read more here: http://investor.shareholder.com/jpmorganchase/releasedetail.cfm?ReleaseID=483977). Essentially, if your business is approved for a Chase line of credit, your interest rate will be 0.5% for the first three people hired. This is supposed to show that the company really, really does care about small businesses and restoring the US economy.
But it doesn’t. It’s really a pathetic attempt at PR.
According to the Chase press release: “a small business owner could save about $4,000 over three years on an outstanding balance of about $65,000.” Really? Let’s assume that it involved hiring only one new worker, who will be putting in 30 hours per week at $8 per hour for the year. Even for that relatively small contribution by the employee, the business would still be paying that worker $11,520 for the year. Therefore, what incentive does this program actually provide to a business in this economy? In the end, the business is still raising its costs.
Maybe instead of using such useless programs, Chase should do something more innovative. Hey, why not hire employees itself – so it can better help customers.