The Tweet Heard Round the Banking World

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So let’s suppose you’re a big bank and want to send out a helpful, a useful, a thoughtful tweet to your hundreds of thousands of loyal customers. It has to be brief, of course, and insightful. It should be sympathetic and non-judgemental, it goes without saying. Done right, such a tweet will be a marketing plus, and maybe a publicity bonanza.

But Chase Bank’s tweet to its customers this past Monday missed the mark, just slightly . . .

In a fictional exchange with a Chase customer, who asks the ATM why he has so little money in his account, the ATM, which has suddenly learned how to talk back, tells said customer to drink coffee at home, eat the leftovers in his fridge, and shun taxi cabs — a little walk will do you good, fatso.

It’s a paraphrase, just a bit; but the response from other Twitter accounts was immediate, and wrathful. Senators weighed in with reasons why the economy is to blame for slim bank accounts, not spendthrift account holders. Chase customers erupted in fury, many of them threatening to cancel their accounts with the bank.

Long story short, Chase Bank kept the tweet up for just a few hours, then hastily deleted it. And while they didn’t issue a direct apology for the insulting tweet, they did sheepishly post a tweet saying that their next big customer motivational campaign would be to get better at posting tweets.


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