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Press Zero Anytime

February 21, 2006

You may have noticed, via its humorous commercials involving a little Woody Allen-like guy attempting to get through to his credit card company and setting his kitchen on fire, that Citibank's CitiCard credit card division is offering a powerful new incentive to switch credit card companies: When you call the company, you can press "0" at any time during the IVR spiel and be connected to a live operator.

So what's a great differentiating point among credit cards? It really tells you what kind of world we live in when a company offers "being able to talk to a human whenever you want" as a superior selling point, and the rest of us fully agree. Many of us would be happy to pay a few extra points in interest rates if it guarantees us frustration-free calls to our credit card companies.

Large retailers and service providers of the world, sit up and take notice: you've been handed the challenge, and it's not going to be easy to meet.

Of course, I'm not whether "press zero at any time" guarantees you a human within X number of seconds, or guarantees you'll be put into a queue for a human, at which time you'll wait an hour and 47 minutes to speak with a representative. There is a vast difference between the two.


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