Do you know the one thing to never say to a customer service rep if you're late on your bill? Do you know how Chase ranks you, and how you're ranked determines whether they help you out in a bind? Do you know the best way to get what you want from customer service? After you read these 10 confessions from a Chase customer service rep, you will.
"HOW WE RANK CARDMEMBERS
There are 3 levels of cardmembers at Chase. They are segregated as BEST, VALUABLE, or NON-PROFIT.
cardmembers make up a small minority of the people at Chase. If I talk to 100 people in a day, maybe 5 are best cardmembers. If you're a Best cardmember, pretty much anything you want to gets done. You want a late fee taken off? Done. Don't feel like paying $200 in finance charges? No problem. How do you achieve Best cardmember status? You either have to move a lot of money through the bank, (we can tell if you have a mortgage, car loan, etc thru Chase), or have a high balance that you're paying a good amount of interest on. If you generate enough fee revenue from finance charges, say $100 per month, and you want a late fee taken off, no problem, we'll take $39 off this month to make you happy and make sure that $100 monthly keeps rolling in.
cardmembers make up the majority of people we talk to. Valuable basically means you pay your bills on time, and are in general a good customer. You can get a fee waived also, but not nearly as often. I don't mind waiving a late fee for you, but usually only every 6 months. Thats standard, but we can base our judgment on it all the way back to a year. And if I remove a late fee for you, dont think you're getting anything waived in the foreseeable future.
These are the cardmembers who know what they're doing. They're the group of people that pay their bill off, in full, every month, like clockwork. They don't pay finance charges, and they're never late. They don't go over their credit line, they don't have returned payments, and they earn rewards. Which all amounts to the bank isn't making any money on your account. So if you get a late fee, you have absolutely zero chance of getting it waived. That late fee is revenue for the bank, and it uses it to offset the maintenance on your account. Maintenance includes your statements mailed to you, sending you replacement cards, dealing with customer service, and cashing out rewards point / miles / dollars. For this cardmember, if you threaten to close your account if we don't do what you want, don't be surprised to get an offer to close your account during that phone call. Why? What is the incentive to keep you? I know its pretty cold hearted, but thats exactly how it works. You do a great job on your account, but you can get punished. Hey, I don't make the rules, I just enforce them.
HOW TO GET WHAT YOU WANT FROM CUSTOMER SERVICE
7. I WILL GO TO BAT FOR YOU IF YOU TREAT ME LIKE A HUMAN
First and foremost, remember we are people. If you're the type of person who calls up and rants and rave with a "you better do this or else" attitude, honestly, it's just going to turn a service rep off. Remember, we talk to a hundred people a day, 5 days a week. Its a thankless job, and in there somewhere, I'm cursed at, yelled, spoken down to, please God knows what else. Think about it like this....are you more likely to want to help someone treating you like a human being, or someone who is degrading you? It's only natural.
I've waived significant amounts of money off of accounts if I feel its deserved, I've reduced APR's, I've contacted credit bureau's to get your record fixed, I've deferred your payment to next month, I've done a lot of things. But the one constant, I've only done this for people who have been pleasant with me on the phone, and in layman's terms, haven't been a douchebag.
6. STATE WHAT YOU WOULD LIKE DONE AT THE BEGINNING OF THE CALL
I understand its human nature to explain why you're payment showed up late, how you're a good customer, this has never happened before, etc, but if you just tell me you want a late fee waived, I'll immediately look at the account and decide if you're eligible. To us, it doesn't matter if you forgot to mail the check, were on vacation, your boss didn't pay you, bottom line, you want a late fee waived, I'm gonna judge you on our ratings system and check to make sure you haven't had other fees waived recently.
5. YOU ARE NOT A UNIQUE SNOWFLAKE
I've taken thousands of calls, and I've encountered every possible situation. The earlier you tell me what you would like your end result to be, the earlier you can get your matter resolved. Screaming at me does you know good, and honestly, makes me want to help you less.
COMMON SCENARIOS I ENCOUNTER
4. DON'T SAY "MY PAYMENT WAS LATE BECAUSE I DIDN'T GET MY STATEMENT"
Please please, don't tell me this. This is the worst excuse ever. While I dont doubt that some people somehow legitimately didn't get their bill, for the most part, its a lie to cover up the fact you didnt make your payment on time. Hmm, for the past 5 years you've always gotten a statement to the correct address on file, but the one month you're late it didn't show up. Right. Somehow, whenever the car payment or the mortgage is due, people never forget that, even without a paper reminder.
3. WATCH YOUR CREDIT LIMIT
Going overlimit- Its your responsibility to watch out where your credit line is. If you really don't ever wanna go over your credit line, but a block on it. We do let cards go over a little bit, just in case you're in a situation where you really need it. Imagine these scenarios. Imagine you're in a restaurant, and you go to pay the bill. Would you rather be declined and be embarrassed in front of your friends and family, or have it go through and pay the $39 fee. Or, imagine you're stuck on the side of the road and need a tow truck. Do you want the charge to go through so you can get out of the cold, or do you want it declined and sit there shivering for hours? We'll allow the card to go over, but usually not more than $100.
2. READ YOUR CONTRACT
Not being aware of fees, or APR's- Everything on your card is agreed upon when you accept the card. The Cardmember Agreement basically states that the bank has the right to change your limit at any time, change your apr, or close your account, no reason needed. That agreement basically leaves the bank holding all the cards. The one constant I see is people never ever read the agreement, then are surprised by things later. Please, read it, or at least call customer service and ask any questions you need answered.
1. IF YOU DON'T NEED IT, DON'T BUY IT
The only other advice I have for people with credit cards....get ahold of your spending. I can't tell you how many people I see every day who are absolutely drowning in debt. I get so many people making minimum payments, never getting ahead on their balance, or people just playing the balance transfer game to move their balance to a lower rate card, but they've moved that balance 10 times and it's still not paid off. If you use credit cards wisely, you can make the bank work for you, but instead, we see banks with profits in the billions of dollars every year."