Is AmEx Customer Service Better Than Citi?

Last year, the Costco branded credit card switched from American Express to Citi.  Since we use ours to gather the maximum cash back rewards, we decided to carry both.  We opened an American Express card after the switch.  This is a great strategy for us.  When the switched was announced, we heard a lot of complaints about customer service.  Specifically, many said that American Express had good customer service, and that Citi did not.  I decided to give a spot test.  While this isn’t conclusive, I thought it’d be fun to share whether AmEx customer service came out ahead, behind or equal to Citi.

Traveling Notification

We were heading on vacation.  I always like to notify the credit card companies.  That way, the company won’t see us making a bunch of charges from an unusual location and disallow charges for potential fraud.  I couldn’t imagine it’d be fun to be on vacation and have your card come up declined.

Since we’ll probably be using both of these cards during our trip, I decided to call and notify both companies.

Honestly, the process and the experience was about equal.

Number

Both cards had the phone number for customer service on the back of the card.

Routing

Both cards pick up and ask what you’re calling about.  The voice recigniton systems used are very similar, if not actually the same software package.  They will try to get your request handled. I knew I’d want to speak to an agent so I told it ‘Customer Service’.  Both of them tried to convince me to provide more detail, but after repeating ‘Customer Service’ took me to the next step.

Verification

Both systems knew that I was calling from my primary number.  Citi only asked me to punch in the last four digits of my card.  American Express made me punch in my full card number as well as the last four digits of my social security number.

Helpfulness

Both of the calls were picked up right away.  Both of the agents were friendly.  They both knew exactly what I was calling to do when I explained it to them.  They both made sure to verify the dates and locations where I’d be making charges.  Both thanked me and wished us a good trip.

Follow Up

Citi actually sent me an e-mail verifying the conversation and the travel information.  I thought that was a nice touch.

Summary

In the end, both companies provided top notch service.  I know it was a simple request and it was only one, but both experiences made me happy to be a customer with their company.  That’s really what it’s all about, isn’t it?

Readers, have you had any really good or really awful experiences with a credit card company?  Please share your experiences in the comments below.  Thanks very much for reading!

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7 Rules Of Gym Etiquette

I’ve been going to the local Planet Fitness for quite a while.  I think it’s been almost three years.  Over time, I’ve sort of figured out some do’s and don’ts.  Of course, I’ve learned most of this by having someone bugging me!  So, what is proper gym etiquette?  Here’s a few tips.

Don’t Hog The Equipment

Whether you’re alone or part of a group, taking excessive time using something is inconsiderate.  Even if nobody is waiting, there might just be someone that would like to us it, but doesn’t feel comfortable asking.  Limit your time on the equipment so that everyone has an opportunity to use it.

Leave A Buffer Zone If Possible

People get in habits of having their favorite equipment.  I have two or three different treadmills that I prefer to use. So I get wanting to use your favorite.  But, if your favorite is right next to someone else, and there’s a row of empty machines, find a different one!  I seriously had to give up my top favorite because one guy would constantly come right next to me, even though there were literally 20 machines in a row wide open.

Wipe Down Your Equipment

When you’re done using something, wipe it down.  Any reputable gym should provide paper towels and spray.  Use them.  You’d think this would be obvious.  But, I’ve seen enough people NOT do this that I will usually wipe my equipment before and after I use it!

Don’t Be The Smelly Person

I sweat heavily when I run.  So, I know the importance of making sure to take measures so that I don’t smell.  I wash my stuff regularly.  I put deodorant on before going to the gym.  Being the sweaty person is OK.  Just don’t be the stinky person.

Use Your Inside Voice

Are you coming with a workout partner? Do you have a group of friends that you come with to keep each other motivated? Great!  What’s not great is if you hoot and holler so that people clear on the other side of the gym can hear you.  While your conversation might be fascinating to you, it’s not fascinating to anybody else.  Trust me on this one.

Stay Off The Phone

This one should need no further explanation.  Exercising and phone calls don’t mix.

Mind Your Business

Two times, this guy has come up to my wife and started lecturing her on how she’s using the equipment wrong.  Both times, it threw her off enough so that she kind of brushed it off.  And both times she realized that it made her pretty uncomfortable.  Now she keeps a lookout for him, and has promised to say something to the staff if he bothers her again.  Seriously, as much as you might want to be helpful, butt out.  That’s what trainers are for.

Readers, do you go to the gym?  Have you seen any etiquette violations?  What do you think are some of the most important things to remember when working out?

 

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How To Make A Bad Day Better

Have you ever had a bad day?  Of course.  Has it ever been the kind of day that you wish would just end?  I’m sure we’ve all had those.  I know I have.  Nobody wants to have  a bad day, but they happen anyway.  What I’ve often found is that when a day starts bad, it’s easy to start seeing the bad in everything, where soon it’s impossible to have a good day.  So, how do you get out of that mindset?  How do you make a bad day better?

My Idea To Make A Bad Day Better

I’m not sure if this will work for many, but I know that it often works for me when I’m having a bad day.

It’s pretty simple.  I look at the calendar.  I look at what day it is.  I think about how many years I see myself living.  Say it’s 85 years.  I then think that I’m only going to get 85 of this particular day on the calendar, and as I’ve already had 42 of them pass, I have only 43 or so left.

It then hits me that I don’t want to waste a single one of them.

So, try it.  Next time you’re having a bad day, look at the calendar and do some quick math.  Whether you think you have 24 April 10th’s left or 70 June 15th’s in you, realize that each one is important.  Think about how you have to go through 365 more days before you can try this day on the calendar again.

Here’s the thing.  We’re all going to have bad days now and then.  It’s impossible to think otherwise.  But, don’t wish away any day just because things are bad.  You only get so many.

So, that’s my idea.  I hope it works.  If not, then go find a puppy to play with.  That always works, too!

Readers, what do you think of my idea to make a bad day a good day?  Or even a slightly better day? Do you have any tricks to get out of a funk so that you salvage a day?  Drop a comment below and let me know.  Thanks so much for reading!

Copyright 2017 Original content authorized only to appear on Money Beagle. Please subscribe via RSS, follow me on Twitter, Facebook, or receive e-mail updates. Thank you for reading.

6 Ways To Be More Productive

I don’t know about you, but there just don’t seem to be enough hours in the day anymore.  There are just so many things to do and not enough time to do them.   We can’t ever get more hours, but we can find some ways to be more productive.  This will allow you to get more accomplished in the same amount of time.

6 Tips To Be More Productive

  1. Remove Distractions.  I always find that when I have a lot going on around me, I get less done.  Find a way to stay focused by taking away external influences.  Turn off the TV.  Turn down the ringer on your phone.  Close the door.  The more you stay focused on the task at hand, the more efficient you’ll be at getting it done.
  2. Set Deadlines. If your to-do list is filling up with things that you want to get done, but don’t have deadlines, this could spell trouble.  After all, there’s always tomorrow with no consequence, except that you start getting overwhelmed.  Add deadlines for things you want to get done and work on sticking to them.
  3. Prioritize.  If you have 20 things to do, figure out the most important ones, and work from that list first.  Too often, we spend time just trying to decide on a task.  Setting priorities will make this an easier process.
  4. Work on one thing at a time.  It’s tempting to bounce from one task to another.  Resist the temptation.   If you divide your time 25% each working on four different task, you’ll get less done than if you focus 100% of your time on one task.
  5. Take breaks.  It may seem counterproductive to walk away from your work, but you need to.  After working on one thing for too long, you’ll start dropping off in efficiency.  Taking a few minute break here and there will let you reset and better focus when you return.
  6. Track your progress.  Make sure you keep track of how you’re doing.  Getting things done and crossing things off your list will help keep you motivated to get more done.

There’s No One Productivity Solution

I hope that the suggestions above help.  In the end, they may work for you or they may not.  Each person works differently, so some of the items may help you, and some may not.  There may be others I haven’t thought of. But, these should be good starting points for anybody looking for ways to be more productive.

Readers, how do you improve your productivity? Do you have any tips or tricks that you can share with me and other Money Beagle readers?  Please drop a comment below.  Thanks for reading.

Copyright 2017 Original content authorized only to appear on Money Beagle. Please subscribe via RSS, follow me on Twitter, Facebook, or receive e-mail updates. Thank you for reading.