On customer service

I’m going overseas in a couple of weeks and in a fit of panic I applied for a new credit card for the trip last week, as the credit limits on our other cards have always been deliberately low. I filled in the web form on the Virgin Credit site, and sent it off. I got a confirmation email from something pretending to be a human, and thought nothing more about it until lunch time yesterday when I though that perhaps I should ring the company and work out if the card was going to arrive in time. I didn’t bother, because just as I was about to ring them, Catherine called and said the cards had arrived. That’s impressive. From go to whoa it took a week.

Today I rang up to activate the card. Let’s talk a little about that shall we? The person on the other end of the phone answered within a couple of rings. She gave me her full name (which was surprising). She was helpful, polite and casual. When I had another call come in, she offered to go onto hold so I could take the other call. I’m at home, and the lady in the call center is offering to go on hold! That’s never happened to me before. It took a total of 8 minutes to setup the card completely, including doing all the security stuff.

I told the lady that I was going overseas, and asked if the card would work in the US. She said it sure would, but that they would put a note on my file for the length of the trip so that the fraud department wont freak out that my location has changed. That’s fairly standard, Amex did the same thing for me. What was cooler was that she pointed out the international version of the call center number on the back of the card, and let me know that if I had questions I could call reverse charges and they would accept the call. Did I mention that the call center is open 24 hours?

Perhaps it’s different in other parts of the world, but a fast, efficient, polite, 24 hour, reverse charges accepting bank is unheard of in Australia. I’m very impressed.

Oh, there’s other little things too. I got to chose the colour of the card (a little thing), they have great graphic design, and best of all they have a sense of humour — the small print is clearly labelled “small print”, and the terms and conditions booklet is labelled “our legal guys asked up to put this in”. It might be a boring document, but at least the title made me smile.

Coincidentally, I flew down to Melbourne on Virgin Blue. It was my first trip with the discount carrier which is the sister company to Virgin Credit. No mucking around. No attempt to pretend it’s a religious experience like Qantas does. Brand new plane. Clean. No mucking around. The same sense of humour — they boarding announcements all started with “hi ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls”. They even let the plane empty from both ends in Canberra, which is unheard of for Qantas. Oh, and the flight was on time, unlike many of the Qantas flights I take where the planes seem to break all the time.

Over all, I’m very impressed with the Virgin services I’ve used this week. Keep up the good work.

Update: Did I mention humour? I just used Virgin Credit’s online form to let them know how happy I am and got this message in return:

    	Thanks Michael for your cry for help/advice/general rant.
    	We will be sending you an email response as soon as we can!

Again with the making me smile.

[tags: virgin credit bank blue discount airline customer service]