Customer Service Hinges on Personal Connections, Chase Exec Says

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Personal connections and leading with purpose are the cornerstones to helping “customers make the most of their money, so they can make the most of their lives,” Thasunda Brown Duckett, chief executive of consumer banking at JPMorgan Chase, said at CBA Live last week.

Duckett, who previously served as chief executive of Chase Auto Finance, recognizes that as an executive, it is difficult to talk about Chase’s purpose without acknowledging her own.

“For me, when I think about the purpose of Chase and I think about my own personal purpose, they’re absolutely connected,” she said.

She went on to note that her purpose in life was not to be a chief executive, but rather to simply inspire others through her own personal goals. “I think that’s why I’m a CEO today.”

The personal goals she set for herself — to establish a foundation, adopt a child, travel the world — provided her the experience to be a successful leader, she said.

“[In traveling the world], I wanted my kids to understand that they have a role, and they are connected to everyone,” she said.

Duckett believes that acknowledging that connection with others is key to understanding customers’ needs in order to better serve them. But connecting with your colleagues is equally important to the customer experience.

“When I was named CEO of [Chase Auto], within the first 90 to 120 days I went to the mailroom,” she said, noting what it was important that when talking about customer experience, connecting with the people furthest removed from earnings, furthest removed from the customer experience was paramount.

“If I could connect to them about the purpose and the vision for the business, then I was onto something,” she said.

Duckett wanted the people in the mailroom to know they were appreciated. “When people make their auto payment, you start the process,” she told them. “Because you do your job with excellence, their payment posts on time. When you don’t do your job with excellence, the client is unhappy.”

“I told them to brush their shoulders off and know they had a role in our results,” she added.

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