The Good, the Bad and the Ugly of Corporate America

  • This morning I woke from a bizarre dream that seemed so real. In my dream, my husband Darryl and I went to go play miniature golf. I was given a pink ball, but the outer coating of the golf ball was peeling away rendering the ball unusable. When I asked for another ball, the woman at the counter gave me a telephone number and told me I had to call this number to get another one.

    Reluctantly, I called the number, only to have someone answer the phone, “Hello Zappos– How may I help you?” Obviously I was taken aback, but explained the situation. The woman at Zappos was very helpful, telling me that even though they don’t sell golf balls, she’s happy to find a pink one and FedEx it to me for use the next day. I thanked her, rescheduled our game and promptly woke up. (I know, very strange. I imagine Freud would have fun with this!)

    Although it was just a dream, I woke extremely impressed by the level of customer service on which Zappos has built their entire company. To me, Zappos and Virgin Group share the rank as the ultimate in customer service.
    (I’m not getting paid for this endorsement- but LOVE both of these  companies!) If only the world were full of companies that understand customer service like Virgin and Zappos do….

    And just how we have to reward the companies who do things right, I want to blog today about a most UNinspiring one as well- CitiBank. Goodbye Citibank

    I canceled my CitiBank credit card this morning. After years of banking with them, I received a letter yesterday telling me that my interest rate was being increased from 13.24% to 29.99% APR!

    That’s a whopping 226% increase in my rate!

    I called CitiBank this morning and was told by Cheryl, my operator, that 100% of her calls lately are from irate customers who’ve received the same letter. She explained that it’s an “across the board decision that affects hundreds of thousands of customers”.

    I use this card primarily for business and it won’t be a problem for me, but what about the other folks that can’t pay it off or don’t have another card? Does CitiBank care how they’re affecting real people?

    To add insult to injury, as I was on hold waiting for a representative to pick up the call, I was listening to a nice CitiBank ad- encouraging people to “transfer your balance from your ‘high rate’ cards, to one of CitiBanks’ low rate’ cards”. Not only is this dumping salt in the wound, but CitiBank, just what do you call “high rates” if not 29.99% APR? (Are those rates even legal??)

    CitiBank recently announced that if you don’t use your card, don’t carry a balance and don’t spend more than $750/month on the card that  rates would increase. I’ve never been delinquent, carry a balance and use the card for more than $1k/month so I thought I would be spared. I was wrong. This credit crunch is affecting everyone.

    I voiced my outrage at their 226% increase in my rate. When I told the operator “I can’t believe you’re increasing the rate to 30%”, she was quick to point out that it’s actually only going up to 29.99%, not 30%. Ah, sigh of relief- it’s not as bad as I thought. 🙂

    CitiBank,  I have canceled my card with you. If a credit card company can’t be there for us when we need them, what’s the point in being there at all?  Because of your blatant disregard for your loyal customers, you have lost one, for good.

    So Zappos and Virgin… here’s the opportunity. Please open a credit card company that provides quality customer service. I’ll switch all of my remaining accounts right now. The need is great and you have the ability to shake up this industry!

    To our loyal readers, I invite you to share your stories of companies doing good things in the world. Do you know a great credit card company that provides amazing customer service? After all, every day we “vote” for which companies succeed and which ones fail- with our dollars. I’d rather support the good ones and weed out the bad ones. Goodbye CitiBank. hello inspired companies!

    Let’s find a way to welcome a world of Virgin and Zappos type companies where customer service is the foundation of the business. That’s an inspired world that I’m willing to invest in any day!

    Your comments are welcomed and appreciated.

    Gail Lynne Goodwin

    Gail Lynne Goodwin is the founder of InspireMeToday.com, bringing the best inspiration to the world. InspireMeToday.com provides free inspiration, each day from a new Inspirational Luminary, to a global community of folks from over 150 countries. Gail has interviewed many well-known names including Sir Richard Branson, Guy Laliberte, Seth Godin, Tony Hseih, Gary Vaynerchuk, Michael Gerber, Marci Shimoff, Jack Canfield and hundreds more. According to Mashable, Gail was one of 2009's Top 25 Most Inspirational People on Twitter. Prior to InspireMeToday.com, Gail spent several years as manager for her recording artist daughter, Carly. As a result of the success of their co-penned song, "Baby Come Back Home", Gail accompanied her daughter to bases in the US and to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba where Carly performed for our troops. Gail and Carly created the 'World's Longest Letter' of love and support and delivered the 18-mile long scroll on a month-long tour of Iraq and the Persian Gulf in 2006. Gail is excited to present her latest course, Love in 21 Days, a step-by-step guide to finding love online. Love in 21 Days is founded on a logical process that has been tested - and proven! - by not only Gail, but also by students around the world who too have found love. Gail is a published author and a regular writer for the Huffington Post. She offers mentoring and mastermind services to clients worldwide from her home in Whitefish, Montana. Follow Gail on Twitter or Google+.

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    1. Michelle Gannon
      Michelle Gannon says:

      Great idea. I look forward to seeing which credit cards have outstanding service.
      I agree-Zappos is the best service for shoes! Gail, maybe you and your Inspire Me Today crowd need to develop your
      own credit card service!

      Reply
    2. Gail
      Gail says:

      Thanks Michelle. I love Zappos- for anything, not just shoes. Well, almost anything- (not pink golf balls)

      I’ll have to think about the credit card from IMT. Hmmmm…..

      Big hugs and thanks for being in my life.

      Gail

      Reply
    3. Dale Carter
      Dale Carter says:

      Love Zappos; also love USAA. We’ve been customers since 1971. Their customer service is excellent; our current credit card rate is 7%. USAA has recently expanded their membership to include anyone who has ever served honorably in the US Armed Forces (and their spouses and children).
      I highly recommend USAA.

      Reply
      • Gail
        Gail says:

        Thanks Dale. I’d love to qualify for USAA! Although I never served in the US Armed Forces, think they’d make an exception for someone who spent a month in Iraq to entertain our troops? I’d sign up with them in a heart beat!

        Thanks and hugs,
        Gail

        Reply
    4. Julius A. Titus
      Julius A. Titus says:

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      Reply

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