Why did my bank call me just to say hi?
April 26, 2013 6:56 AM   Subscribe

I recently got a "courtesy call" from a local branch of Chase bank, asking me if I was happy with their service and if there was anything they could improve or anything else they could do for me or something. Why?

Specifically, I'm wondering if it's related to several large-ish deposits I've made over the last couple of weeks, bringing my account balance to like five times the usual. (Which is still not very much... roughly in the ballpark of $2K -->$10K.) Are they kissing my ass because I've crossed a threshold and am now considered a more valued/valuable client? Or was it more likely just a quality-control type call to a randomly chosen customer who had recently done a transaction at that branch?
posted by désoeuvrée to Work & Money (17 answers total)
Are they kissing my ass because I've crossed a threshold and am now considered a more valued/valuable client?

Yeah, once you go above a certain balance ($10K is one) you become eligible for all sorts of Gold, Prime, Superior, Platinum, whatever account instead of a regular joe-shmoe account. I actually switched to one of those accounts -- after they promised they would waive the yearly fee -- and I like it better than my original one. Especially because I can use the EXCLUSIVE CUSTOMERS ONLY line at the bank and customer service no longer treats me like someone who can't tell his ass from a hole in the ground.
posted by griphus at 7:01 AM on April 26, 2013 [4 favorites]

It's not complicated: In almost every industry, happy customers do more business.
posted by NotMyselfRightNow at 7:03 AM on April 26, 2013 [3 favorites]

Could be either. Outbound calling can be relationship-based or transaction-based (or based on any other criteria, such as being within x distance of a branch they're trying to boost up or being age x with a car loan somewhere else). That change in your balance is a likely trigger but I am surprised they didn't offer anything specific to you.
posted by headnsouth at 7:06 AM on April 26, 2013

I got a call from my bank out of the blue last week. It came from the branch.

Some places are just getting friendly like that. You should see how Macy's treats me!
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 7:10 AM on April 26, 2013

Yes, it was probably the transaction size and/or your balance that triggered the call. For a big bank, Chase is actually pretty nice from a customer service standpoint. If you don't already have one of their premium checking accounts, they will probably start sending you vouchers for $100 or more to open one, now that they have identified you as a big fish.
posted by kindall at 7:10 AM on April 26, 2013

As a paranoid counterpoint it could have been the early stages of a phishing scam using a spoofed caller id number. Whomever called you now knows you bank at Chase, perhaps in the future you'll receive an email or phone invitation to log in to a fake Chase site and upgrade your account to super platinum.
posted by ChrisHartley at 7:15 AM on April 26, 2013

Best answer: I do consulting work for a fairly large bank. Griphus has it. You have gotten their attention with the amount of money (and potentially frequency of large deposits) that you are putting into their coffers. They have different names for this type of customer and different levels of treatment prescribed for them. You might be getting calls or mailers for new sales offers (like CDs, investment accounts, etc.) in the upcoming weeks too.

Next time they call, specifically ask to be taken off the calling list for sales and investment campaigns. At least for the bank I do work for, they are required to note it in your account and cannot call you, period.
posted by Flamingo at 7:19 AM on April 26, 2013

Most companies are aiming to have a more social relaionship with their clients instead of a market-based thinking. The reason is it increases loyalty because clients tend to be a lot happier when they're treated like individuals and not another customer. The reason for the call might have been to actually ask you about what you thought about the bank or service so then they could score the person that helped you as well as gauge how that specific branch is doing. I've worked at a bank and it seems to be the approach most businesses are following nowadays. Just like how Starbucks would sometimes try to ask you to fill out a survey about their service in hopes of you giving them a high rating so the employee and branch can stand out and compete against other branches for company incentives and etc.
posted by Trinergy at 7:27 AM on April 26, 2013

I get calls like this at my job. A company that we do business with will call me out of the blue to "check if they have the correct address on file." Yes, duh. "Oh, and since I have you on the phone, let me tell you about the awesome new widget we have on sale right now for the low low price...". I have another business that I work with that will call me "to let me know that an invoice is on the way...oh, and since I have you on the phone let me tell you what ELSE we can do for you!" I've told them that they do not need to call me to alert me that there is a bill in the mail. The bill arriving in the mail is all the alert that I need. *sigh*

Basically, I think it's just to get you on the phone under the guise of "being neighborly" and then trying to sell you something. Every actual person they come in contact with is another point for them. Some people find it friendly, some people find it annoying. Today I am one of those jaded misanthropes who wishes that I could bypass humanity altogether and just order stuff directly from machines.
posted by Elly Vortex at 7:45 AM on April 26, 2013 [1 favorite]

I've noticed that biggish transactions that are not part of your usual pattern tend to get Looked At. I recently bought some plane tickets online using a debit card, and literally only thirty seconds later I got a phone call from the fraud protection department of my bank asking me if I was aware that my debit card had just been used to purchase plane tickets. When I stammered out that "Uh, yes, it was me that bought them," they thanked me and that was that.

You did something that you don't usually do and they're checking in.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:58 AM on April 26, 2013

The only time my bank has ever called me is when I used my credit card on a Japanese site that did not use a secure transaction service. They were worried about fraud.

I wonder if this is some sort of social engineering hack - was it really the bank at all?
posted by KokuRyu at 8:05 AM on April 26, 2013

Chase calls me all the time; I have a pretty big balance there. Harris used to call me until I took most of my money out of that account. (I actually like Harris better, but for various reasons Chase is more convenient right now.) Both banks have been known to call me when I stopped in to make a deposit or something, just to see how it went.

I had a couple of problems and glitches with the new "concierge" (or whatever) banking at Chase, and it seems like one of my two personal bankers got fired. I think they are evaluated on how much action they create and some of them area really desperate to drum up business.
posted by BibiRose at 8:22 AM on April 26, 2013

To be clear, I don't think my banker was fired because of my problems. I just think they're going through a lot of changes there, and everyone is under pressure. One thing they want to do is take over any retirement accounts or brokerages you might have.
posted by BibiRose at 8:29 AM on April 26, 2013

Best answer: As a young man, with a small paper paycheck in my pocket after the end of the week that hardly covered rent and food, I would have been surprised to receive such a call, even though my bank treated me reasonably well whenever I went into a branch.

As I've gotten older, and now have a mortgage, multiple deposit accounts and a safe deposit box, it's not uncommon at all to get courtesy calls from my bank. I got a call from my bank just this past Saturday to check in - they weren't trying to sell me anything, they just wanted to see how I was doing and if I was planning anything new. I get a small number of personal calls each year from my bank, always from a real banker at a local branch. One or two are to just check in, one or two are to let me know about genuinely good offers that I prequalify for.

The young me and the older me have been banking at the same place - a super-regional US bank - for many years. I had a very similar experience to you, as I got my first courtesy call a few weeks after my deposit balance rose to a healthier level than it historically had been, and when it stayed at that level for a little while. While I generally hate telemarketing, all of the calls I've received from my bank since that time have genuinely been courteous - to just ask how I'm doing, or to let me know I'm eligible for a highly specific offer based on the particulars of the way I use my accounts.

These calls are something that seem a little bit weird or even corny in this day and age, where "personalized service" usually means that your name and "recommendations based on your history" are thrown into an email and you only get to talk to a person when something weird has happened. But you know what? I really don't mind my bank's calls. They genuinely don't seem to have an ulterior motive beyond wanting to make sure I'm happy with their business.
posted by eschatfische at 8:48 AM on April 26, 2013 [1 favorite]

Are they kissing my ass because I've crossed a threshold and am now considered a more valued/valuable client?

No, I've gotten this before and I am not a valued bank customer.

It's to simulate giving a shit about you.
posted by cmoj at 11:56 AM on April 26, 2013 [1 favorite]

this is a Chase thing and yes it is probably about your large deposits. frankly, i think it is annoying when they call. i tell them i will call you when i need some service. it's a super lame attempt at customer service which does nothing for the customer imo.
posted by wildflower at 6:40 PM on April 26, 2013

I used to be a retail banker like the one that called you. Your change in balance probably got you put on a calling list and they called you to check in and try to feel out if they could sell you something (add savings account or CD maybe). The bank I worked for had all kinds of algorithms to identify customers who were likely in need of specific products.
posted by VTX at 6:42 PM on April 26, 2013

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