Hoping to capitalize on consumers’ general frustration with poor customer service, Discover Financial Services today launches a new TV advertising campaign touting its fast response, promising to provide cardholders with live customer assistance within 60 seconds of their call.

The campaign marks a departure from Discover’s longtime focus on its cash-back rewards cards, though the card issuer says it also continues to emphasize rewards in its general advertising and marketing efforts.

One of three new 30-second customer service-oriented TV spots breaks Aug. 16; a second will air Sept. 6 and the final spot will run later this year, Riverwoods, Ill.-based Discover says. In addition to getting a human being on the line promptly, Discover also promises to solve cardholders’ problems within a single call, Julie Loeger, senior vice president of brand and product management for Discover, tells PaymentsSource.

“Consumers want to speak to a real person and don’t want to spend an hour on the call,” Loeger says.

Each TV spot demonstrates frustrating experiences consumers typically face during customer service calls, emphasizing that good customer service is possible.

Discover sees an opportunity with the new campaign to set itself apart from competitors with its customer service promise because consumers “are rethinking what they want in a credit card company” in today’s economy, Loeger says. “We really think the ads will strike a chord with consumers because everyone has experienced poor customer service,” she says.

The campaign’s goal is to reinforce Discover’s benefits to existing cardholders while piquing interest from potential new customers fed up with frustrating customer service calls, Loeger says.

One advantage Discover offers over competitors is the fact that all four of its call centers are located in the U.S. and have been since the company launched in 1986, she says. Discover operates call centers in Arizona, Delaware, Ohio and Utah.

Discover also continues to aggressively market its 5% cash-back bonus programs, Loeger notes. The company in July expanded its rewards program options, enabling cardholders to buy merchandise through Discover’s shopping and rewards website with a combination of card payments plus rewards points (see story).

The company also this month is introducing videos featuring real Discover customer service representatives sharing stories about helping cardholders solve problems. Discover will distribute the videos via its social media channels including Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, the company says.

The Martin Agency, based in Richmond, Va., is Discover’s ad agency.

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