Suddenly They’re Blind.

Posted by John Park on Aug 27th, 2009
Aug 27

As my readers know very well,  I am often writing about the good things happening in business.  However, in some cases, I have to bring to everyone’s attention a very bad thing happening in the business community.
So… as of today, I’ve decided to start a SHAME ON YOU BUSINESS category.
All of the businesses listed or mentioned in these postings are doing or have done something really STUPID to damage their brand and customer loyalty.  And more importantly, their acts are damaging small businesses and their owners—the people I fight for.  Sometimes these acts are illegal but most of the time, they are just unethical.  In most cases, it is just downright shameful.
Today’s winner is CHASE BANK.
There is a lot of negative consumer buzz on the Internet about what this bank has done lately.  After the 25 Billion bailout (our hard-earned tax money) and after they got a chance to buy WAMU for cheap from the FDIC when that bank went belly-up, this not so fine institution has decided to launch a series of tactics to increase their profits by levying new and unreasonable terms on their customers.
For the past several years, they have been one of the biggest marketers of low rate balance transfers.  These programs would promise you a low rate for the life of the loan as long as you transferred to them.  And as a result, millions of consumers did just that.
( The Shameful Act )
They recently adopted a policy to raise the minimum payment percentage from 2% to 5% of the balance on many of these same customers.  As you can imagine, balance transfer accounts have a higher balance because consumers and business owners were using these accounts to pay off or manage their debts during this recession.  And as a result, minimum payments will more than double for these people.  If a business owner carries a 15K balance, his or her minimum payment will go from $300 to $750 a month.  This is not easy to swallow for any small business owner during these hard times.
And when consumers complain, they say “sure you can keep the 2% minimum payment but we just have to raise your interest rate to a much higher rate.”
Wasn’t this once known as the “bait and switch?”
This just exemplifies again that in business… Just because you can do it legally doesn’t mean that you should.
( Some negative Internet BUZZ about Chase )
It’s kind of ironic their new ad campaign is based on the song “Suddenly I see“.  Clearly… they don’t SEE.
Shame on you CHASE!
Jul 8

When Time Magazine declared EVERYONE as their person of the year, they had many scratching their heads.  In reality, they were right on the money.  Their tribute to the way an average Joe could create content and empower themselves on the WWW was well deserved.  The flip side of all of this is that businesses must also be aware of the empowering mass media tools readily available to every customer they serve.

As of today, this video has been seen over 250,000 times.  I bet United Airlines wishes now that they had fixed or replaced the poor guy’s Taylor Guitar.  We’ve all been there but now we have free tools to let millions know about it.  Food for thought for all consumer brands.  Social and Viral Marketing needs to be taken seriously.  It’s not just a buzz phrase.  It is very serious business.

Until Next Time…

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