Why I cancelled my credit card and what it means about customer service.
Part of my personal curse (and also one of my best business assets) is that I’m always looking for the best deal. I want the best deal on airfare, on office supplies, on everything! And a coupon . . . oh man, that’s like sweet, sweet nectar from the small biz gods.
My staff is taught to always get 2-3 competitive quotes on anything we’re thinking about buying, so we can make the right choice for us.
(Side note: one thing I’ve learned over the years is that sometimes the right choice involves paying more money. In the first sentence of this blog, I said I wanted the “best deal.” Don’t translate that to mean the cheapest. The best deal for me means what gives me the most value. And that can actually be more expensive. This important distinction is especially true when shopping for talent.)
One of the most competitive industries out there is the credit card market, and it’s something that all small businesses should spend a lot of time researching before deciding where to put their charges. You can negotiate better interest rates, annual fees. . . and of course rewards. Cash back, miles, there are a ton of different options out there.
And I will drop one credit card for another in a rabbit’s heartbeat if I can get a sweeter deal.
A few months ago, I did just that when I noticed the Capital One “Spark” card was offering 2% (!) cash back . . . a full double what I was getting from my current card. And I charge a lot . . . a lot . . . so that measly 1% could add up to some significant savings for my company.
And that’s where the fun ended.
Almost every time I went out of town (which is quite often), or every time I spent over a certain amount of cash, Capital One put a stop on my cards. “Fraud protection,” they said. They’d call me. And rarely get me because of my schedule. And I’d be left card-less. And when they did get me, I couldn’t answer half of their questions because the VP of Finance in my office handles all the accounts and their passwords, etc. It happened time and time again. “We’re concerned about your card being compromised,” they said. I appreciate that . . . but no card had ever contacted me this much. No card had ever shut down my account this often. And we had 5 or 6 cards on this account – and they’d all get shut down! (And, we all know, they aren’t worried about me – they are worried about having to pay for charges that I didn’t make).
Protect me, yes, but there is such thing as too much protection, if it prevents me from actually using your product.
For example, an alarm is a good thing for all homes to have. But an alarm, plus an armored gate, plus two bodyguards, plus a Pitbull on a leash out front, and a giant sign that says, “DO NOT ENTER – WE ARE WATCHING YOU!” Not many people would want all that on their front lawn, would you?
Safeguarding your customers and yourself from fraud is essential, but you have to find the balance, so you don’t turn your customers away.
What does this have to do with the theater?
I’ve shopped for tickets on way too many sites that have impossible to read Captcha, or that require account setups, or need email confirmation of the account, or have terms and conditions that have to be agreed to that, once you agree, you’re kicked out of the sales funnel and you go back to searching for your product again.
And sometimes, I just don’t.
I canceled my credit card with Capital One and went back to my good ol’ Amex, even though I wont’ be saving as much money. But I will be saving time, and that, for me, has huge monetary value.
Keep your customers from doing the same. Protect them. But don’t annoy them.
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