Meredith L. Patterson (maradydd) wrote,
Meredith L. Patterson

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Professional Courtesy

Everyone I know dislikes having to get in touch with their bank, except for people who bank with USAA.

The United Services Automobile Association is a financial services group with its origins in insurance. It has a membership base of about 10 million; members must have served in the military or be in the family of another member1. Wikipedia credits them as a pioneer in the field of direct marketing, and while I am no expert on marketing and know nothing about USAA's corporate strategies, "get the attention of your desired customers by offering them products they want and can use, and keep it with outstanding customer service" is a pretty good description of how they have always marketed to me and seems like a workable strategy as long as you don't have to be growth-oriented.

This has the pleasant side effect of reducing my likelihood of procrastinating about bank-related Shit What Has To Get Done. I have been running a near-constant executive function deficit since, oh, probably mid-2006, and trivial inconveniences are a huge cognitive hazard when you're running low on executive function. I am the kind of customer that banks with scummy transaction processing order practices wish were theirs, because the amount of inconvenience required to dissuade me from picking up the phone and demanding that they process my paycheck before my rent check is not that high. It's higher than picking up the phone to talk to someone who wants to help me solve my problem, but it's lower than picking up the phone to talk to someone whose motivations are "keep call times low" (because that's a metric their job performance is evaluated over) and "don't give the customer anything" (because that's what management impresses on them, perhaps something they've seen others fired over).

This observation brought to you by the so far really quite impressive customer service of the small group practice where my new therapist works. More to come, perhaps.

1I got my membership through my dad, who 4-F'ed out of Vietnam due to a heart problem. He became a member through his dad, who was in the field artillery in WWII and Korea and retired as an LTC. So I already had an account with them when I enlisted, which was handy.
Tags: game theory, health care, improvise adapt and overcome

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