Pick Up The Goddamn Phone!

Ellen has to put up with a lot of my financial experiments.

I open so many new financial app accounts and move my money all over the place to see how companies and people behave with our money.

In the last month I have completely closed our Wells Fargo Accounts and Schwab accounts.

I never expected much of a plea for my money to stay at Wells Fargo. The bank is a disaster. I had to physically go into the bank to make the wire (because of the amount…so they say). I was prepared for a final plea for my account and business. Nothing. In fact, all I got was an inappropriate ask about why I was wiring money.

In all my years at the bank, nobody ever thought to pick up the phone and try and find out if I had any needs for my savings or plans for the future.

I feel like a cloud (shaped like a year 1900 stagecoach) has been lifted from my back.

They never really deserved my business, but in the 1990’s, banking was different and retail locations probably mattered.

Closing (doing ACAT’s) for all my Schwab accounts was much different.

For the last decade Schwab has held most of my investable assets. I never negotiated fees. I was a fantastic…dumb customer. They knew everything about me and nothing about me. I have been mad at myself for letting them neglect me, but I am in a spot where I am trying to learn some new aspects of the financial business and I wanted to see how they would react if I were to close my accounts.

I expected some emails or calls wondering why I was leaving.

I got nothing.

Zero friction to leave.

I am not mad, just sad that a company like Schwab (I did well owning the stock for a period) would let a 10 plus year easy to maintain customer digitally walk right out the door with zero effort to keep me.

I can’t imagine a young Chuck Schwab would be happy to hear how easy it was for a long time high net worth, low maintenance customer to wire to a competitor.

Everyone in this new digital economy talks about the costs of customer acquisition. It is incredibly important for startups.

I see very few fintech and ecommerce VC’s, ‘experts’, founders, execs and larger company CEO’s focused on customer satisfaction and retention. I am living proof.

While software can do almost anything in 2019, I still think a creative use of digital and analog customer support is the best way to grow and retain customers.

Marketing and customer support engineering (code, human touch and creativity) matter, not just digital sales tactics and funnels.

In 2019, make sure you hire people that will pick up the phone on the first ring, or be smart enough to pick up the phone and use it when it matters.