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Mary Schmidt Business Builder & Renovator


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Why Jamie Dimon Should Hire Me

Mary Schmidt

Feb 16, 2012

Jamie Dimon Fortune CoverFrom Top 10 Career Tips from Jamie Dimon:
2. Know your business. Dimon is a hands-on manager and heavily involved in what managers are doing three to four levels down.

Mr. Dimon is one of the most powerful CEOs in the world. He’s at the very top of the 1%. He’s been on the cover of Fortune as the “Toughest Guy on Wall Street.”  JP Morgan Chase & Co. is one of the largest financial conglomerates in the world. They spend gazillions on customer marketing and support.  They support many worthy causes.  Their 4Q 2011 net income was $3.7 Billion. 

So, why on earth would he need to hire me?  Here’s why.

I’d tell him:

What he doesn’t want to hear. I’ve worked with and for a number of big-time C level people. Rarely if ever does anyone tell them what the customers are really saying (screaming).  Minions spend DAYS scrubbing, fluffing and puffing presentations (“Oh, he won’t like that color of blue.”  “Oops. She will hate that number.”)  By the time the “field report” makes it to the board room, it bears little or no resemblance to field reality.  (Sorry, “three to four levels down” isn’t enough. And, I’d bet that a whole lot of pretty, triple-checked spreadsheets are involved.)

Of course, if you believe what you read, he intentionally surrounds himself with people who’ll disagree with him.  Well, that sounds great.  How many of those people actually talk to customers? Visit field offices (in fly-over country, not just Manhattan)? Answer their own phone? Consider the people behind the numbers on those purty spreadsheets? Hmmm….

Don’t ignore your customers. Those frightening barricades around your home, Mr. Dimon?  I feel for you. (Really, I do. I don’t think he’s evil incarnate.)  But, all the signs were there (in some cases literally) way before the mob showed up at your door.  It’s actually pretty amazing we don’t have more marches and demonstrations, given how the financial sector treats most of its customers. 

I wrote two letters to Chase regarding my mother’s retirement account over a couple of months. (I’ve got POA). Both ended with my contact info if they had any questions, concerns or issues.  No response. Nada. No letter. No call. No email. Not even a postcard. (And, I’m ridiculously easy to find on the Web. Do a google search and I pop right up.) 

Fix the phone system.  I’ve called Chase several times.  Flaming IVR hoop after flaming hoop.  By the time I get to a live person, I’ve moved beyond upset to frothing anger.  Which is further frothed as I deal with the person’s tenative grasp of the English language and his/her lack of authority or empathy.

Of course, I’m one of the little people.  I’m sure if you’ve got a few million, you have a direct line to your very own Chase banker.  Which is fine, really.  I understand that.  However, all those “little” accounts add up, don’t they?  And, he might want to chat with the folks over at Bank of America about how the little people get together online. (Apparently, Chase understands that little numbers add up.  Why else would they decide my mom’s money is really theirs?) 

Here’s a reality check for everyone (not just Mr. Dimon): When you install that terrific, automated phone system, are you doing it to save money or keep customers? Years ago, I was meeting with Compaq (Remember them? Big-timus company at one time) about their outsourcing their tech support. Their whole focus? 1. Saving money; 2. Never having to actually talk to a live customer.  Ouch.

...and that’s just the first 10 minutes of my first meeting with Mr. Dimon…:) No spreadsheets will be harmed in the exercise.

Oh, and I’m writing Mr. Dimon directly regarding my mom’s account. No more IVR hell in Bollywood for me.
More to come on that as it develops.  Wonder if anyone in his office (maybe only five or six levels down) will actually read it?  I typically make it at least as far as the executive assistant when I go to the top. Shaping up to be a great marketing troubleshooting case study.

Update: I didn’t send the letter to Mr. Dimon.  I thought the matter had been resolved, thanks to @ChaseSupport.  Unfortunately, Chase managed to turn a great #servicerecovery into an #epicfail.

Related posts from my archives:
CEOs Are Walking the Wrong Street (From 2006. If Mr. Dimon had read this, he might not have had all that nasty unpleasantness with barricades around his home.)
Customer Service: Are You Gruntled?
Customer Service Tip: Hire Grandmothers
Of Customer Service and Bovine Biosolids
Corporate Inbreeding (Why I became a corporate refugee)

In Marketing Troubleshooting, Pet Peeves

mattttt says:

rather than shooting from the top down (ie hoping he’ll have one of his diminutives help you out), try aiming from the bottom up. if you have poa which no one will recognise there are real, stress REAL, people at Chase branches who will help you. Plead your case with them, and they WILL escalate the issue. When I worked with E-Trade requests to speak with the CEO were literally laughed off. It’s just not a possibility. As a Chase employee I now truly feel empowered to get issues like yours taken care of. Good luck.

Mary Schmidt says:

Matt, on the slight chance this isn’t a spam comment…and for the other readers,

I tried from the bottom up (several times), as noted in the post.

That’s precisely why I was planning to write Mr. Dimon (Registered, return receipt) at his office and homes.  I’ve learned through the years that you often get better, faster results if you go to the top. My time is too valuable to spend any more time leaping through IVR hoops (as noted above) to no avail.

Note: Writing to home addresses gets their attention. However, I don’t recommend it as SOP. Several years ago, on another matter,  I was told by the assistant to the CEO of a financial firm (comparable in firm size and power rank to Dimon) that I had made him a bit nervous.  I assured her I wasn’t a stalker, simply persistent. Things got done.  I even made her laugh a time or two. The trick is to get to the people behind the logos and marketing hoo-ha.

As luck would have it - I did some research and found the VP of Social Media for JPMC.  And, they were launching @ChaseSupport that very day. Tweeting worked. I got a real person who helped. 

I’ll be writing up the experience as a social media case study (What they did right. What they could do better.)

Mary Schmidt says:

BTW, there are no branches of Chase in New Mexico. I was told to send everything to a PO box where it was ignored, repeatedly.

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