Mint and Chase, When Our Financials Drop the Ball

Wednesday morning I woke to half a dozen blank, no subject emails from I was unsure how to treat them, being on my iPhone I did not know what type of content might be in the messages and if my technology would be compromised. Needless to say, I was also concerned about the security of my account information I have linked. It took me until I actively searched @mints twitter feed and to access a link they directed in another @reply to discover the messaging below. It wasn’t until Thursday evening that Mint sent me the apologetic email (after the jump). Despite it’s crafty wording and sharp personality, this was 36 hours after the event was noticed by me, and 36 hours too long.

Now why are we discussing messaging from a financial institution? If you recall, back in September, Chase had a similar issue where customers were unable to log into their accounts. At first glance, the system appeared to be down for maintenance. Definitely a nuisance, nothing seemed critical to the account access. In fact, the biggest breakdown in that issue was in the email response sent to their customers as commented on by Netbanker.

Rather than criticise Chase for the issue, Netbanker was more concerned with the lack of responsibility for the incident. The email received was not signed by any single individual and was vague about the issue at hand. But at least it was listed on the homepage. Mint on the other hand had no notifications on the homepage, made no effort to reach out to me until a day, and forced me to search out this information. That is fine if Facebook or Twitter goes down and I have to search to see if my buddy list is temporarily down, but this is my money. There are few things society is unanimously concerned with as their personal finances. Mess with that and there are issues. Mint not notifying me of an issue, Chase being vague; as companies desiring our trust and confidence drop the ball like this it becomes the handling of the situation more than the fault itself. Humans accept error, within an acceptable range, and know technology occasionally hiccups. But at the end of the day these are human experiences. It is important moving forward in design and technology to remember that despite the power of our systems it is the human interaction that will ultimately win or lose customers and confidence, human contact that will encourage me to return to these institutions or seek alternatives to their product offering. Technology is powerful, but don’t underestimate the power of a sincere apology and analog messaging.

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