A Brilliantly Awful Customer Experience

How ineffectual can a multinational be?  Here’s a real, ripped-from-the-headlines email from [BigFamousBank], who we’re working with on a financial transaction.  A free copy of TAOPM for the first person to correctly identify the culprit.


To: [us]
Subject: Mortgage from [BigFamousBank]

Hi [us],

Congratulations!! Your file is conditionally approved. You will be receiving a package via UPS next week. Please ignore the package and shred it.

You will be receiving a second email that will require you to create a password in order to open all future attachments through secure email.

Once a password is created, please let me know and I will forward the loan disclosures to you.  […more detail about the mountains of personal information we must send in…]

Please feel free to contact me with any questions.


[Our helpful loan officer’s name]
Senior Lending Specialist


Hard to believe that one of the largest financial institutions in the world automatically and routinely sends customers huge piles of paper along with requests to shred them.  Note that simply recycling this heap of climate change isn’t acceptable, since the pages will be chock full of our personal financial info.

I can imagine the room full of product managers, IT leads and customer service ambassadors who have spend the last year negotiating ways to unwind this problem.  (“Patching OldMortgageSystemOne to suppress this documentation package will take 290 story points and six or seven months.”  “Won’t it be easier to email 10,000 customers each month and ask them to throw it away?”  “Sure.  We’re unreasonably hopeful that ReplacementMortSysTwo will be online as planned next March and won’t have any bugs.  That means only 120k more document packages to print|package|mail|receive|shred before customers can go directly to our secure online application.”) 

Does your product have some unintentionally infuriating features? Dreadful experience?  Consider some small, sensible improvements before one of your users decides to tweet/blog/Instragram it.


Institutional name changed to protect the bone-headed, since we do want to complete this transaction.  And I have little belief that similar institutions would be much savvier.

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