More feedback at Discover Financial Services is more opportunity to get it right


Today’s customer feedback comes a lot faster than it used to, and there’s more of it.

“We have a very large customer base and we’re getting a lot of feedback,” says Keith Carroll, vice president, Operations Center, Discover Financial Services. “You’ve got to be able to look for the themes and then look for the individual things: ‘Yeah, we can do that; we’ve got a customer that wants this.’”

If you’re focused internally, so much data can seem like a problem, but if you’re focused externally on your customer, it’s a huge opportunity to get new information to act upon, he says.

At Discover, even the president sits in on the call listening, because customers are at the forefront. If you want to deliver exceptional customer experiences and engagements, you’ve got to make changes based on feedback, whether that’s call listening or transcripts, Carroll says.

Discover has approximately 2,200 Central Ohio employees that work in customer service, security/fraud and risk. The New Albany Customer Care Center is also one of Discover’s four customer care centers.

Carroll, who came to the company in 2008, finds the constant change in customer service an opportunity, more than a challenge.

“I think it’s fun. I’ve been doing this for quite a while,” he says. “I’m Six Sigma and that type of stuff, so change is what I’ve seen and where I came from.”

And with constant change, you can’t decide to rest for a while, Carroll says. It has to be an environment you commit to, in order to be successful with customers.

Pinpoint for improvement

In the past, Discover had customers leave because the company couldn’t understand a problem in a timely matter, or at all. Today’s technology changes that.

Discover focuses on situations where the customer experience or customer engagement wasn’t up to par and uses speech analytics to pinpoint those moments that didn’t go so well. It’s just a matter of building the infrastructure to accept all of the information that’s coming.

“We’ve had to make changes to some of our platforms, some of the agent training; we’ve had to make changes to that type of stuff, so we can actually deal with the plethora of information that we have now coming back from the customer,” Carroll says.

Once you build the process to try and retrieve the moments where the customer interaction didn’t go as you wanted or expected, you’re able to improve.

“We’re as good as the worst experience that one of our customers has, that’s the culture that we have,” he says.

PayPal eyes 7 million retail locations in Discover deal

SAN FRANCISCO, Wed Aug 22, 2012 – Online payments provider PayPal will gain access to millions of physical stores in the United States under an agreement with Discover Financial Services.

Under the deal, unveiled on Wednesday, PayPal will issue payment cards to its more than 50 million active users in the United States next year.

The cards will let PayPal users buy from merchants that already use Discover Network, a payment network with more than 7 million U.S. retail locations.

PayPal, a unit of eBay Inc., is expanding into the physical world, in search of new opportunities. In the past year, the company has signed up more than 15 retailers, including Home Depot and Office Depot, to accept PayPal payments in their stores.

Adding PayPal to Discover’s network is a big boost for the initiative, according to Ken Paterson, a director at Mercator Advisory Group, a research firm that focuses on the consumer payments industry.

“It’s a big step for both companies,” Paterson said. “This would provide a ready-made route for PayPal to get into most card-accepting retail establishments in the U.S.”

For Discover, PayPal’s large user base could become a significant source of extra transaction volume for its payment network, he added.

PayPal users will be able to pay at merchants on the Discover Network by swiping their new cards through existing check-out machines and entering a four-digit PIN, the companies said.

Discover Financial Services beats forecasts, profit more than doubles

RIVERWOODS, Ill., ― Discover Financial Services said quarterly profit more than doubled, beating expectations, as customers spent more on their credit cards and the company started to reap the benefits of its expansion beyond credit card lending.

The credit card company Thursday reported profit of $600 million, or $1.09 per share for the fiscal second quarter ended May 31.

That compared with a year-earlier profit of $258 million, or 33 cents per share.

Analysts on average had expected Discover to earn 75 cents per share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Discover, like American Express Co., both lends directly to consumers and also competes with larger card networks Visa Inc. and MasterCard Inc. to process card transactions for banks.

Lenders have struggled with weak consumer loan demand after the financial crisis, and Discover is increasingly trying to build up other businesses, including its transition-processing and traditional banking offerings. It bought a student lending platform from Citigroup Inc. last year, and last month agreed to buy an online mortgage origination business from Inc.

Discover’s overall balance of loans increased 5 percent from a year earlier, despite a 1 percent decline in credit card loans. Revenues grew 5 percent from a year earlier, to $1.74 billion, above expectations.

The company’s shares closed down almost 1.9 percent on Wednesday, at $23.59 and rose about 1.5 percent in premarket trading on Thursday.

The company’s shares have gained more than 27 percent this year. Last week it announced a $1 billion share buyback program.