Posted by William Charles on September 16, 2019
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Published on September 16th, 2019 | by William Charles

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Discover Ending Secured Message System On October 15th, 2019

Discover has informed customers that on October 15th, 2019 it will no longer be possible to send secured messages. Important “e-mails” (secured messages) will still be sent to to your inbox, but they will be directing customers to use the messaging (live chat) feature instead. Full announcement (sent via secured message) is as follows:

On October 15th we will be turning off the ability to compose and reply to emails. You will still receive important emails in the Secure Inbox. To contact us, we encourage you to use Discover’s messaging service. You can reach a live agent and review a history of your conversations with Discover in one thread. Discover is continually focused on providing the best customer experience possible and we believe you will find this change helpful.

Citi removed the secured messaging system in November last year, only to somewhat bring it back in December. Personally I love secured message systems, somewhats I want the answer to a question and I’d prefer that representatives have the time to find me an accurate answer rather than being pressured to provide an immediate answer as I’m on live chat.

Hat tip to sexy_kitten7



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HaveMiles
HaveMiles

I think Amex removed it a while ago, too. And their chat reps are incompetent. And real time communications is often a waste of time. I don’t have a Discover card, but if Chase were to follow this trend, I would probably send them questions via USPS if I don’t need answers urgently. 😉

René
René

My experience is not that they are incompetent, but useless. I think there is a difference between being incompetent and not being equipped to help (which is a question of both permissions and training).

If the chat rep tells you to call? Do you call? If the answer is yes, Amex has no reason to ditch phone support. It’s what they always did and people, especially banks resisting changes.

Kevin
Kevin

Discover chat works just like a secure message at this point. It’s not real time and you can reply at your convenience.

atexit8
atexit8

I hate having to use the telephone to discuss problems/issues.

With secured messages, you are pre-verified. No time wasted with verification.

Steve

With online chat, if you’re logged in, then you should also be pre-verified, in theory. Though, I think they still ask some verification questions. But it might be a little faster than a phone call at least.

René
René

I assume you haven’t used the discover chat (in a while). It does all that in a less 1999 format.

PoorChurner
PoorChurner

It’s not helpful. I prefer to write the message at night and get a response in the morning than have to babysit the chat window.

Alicia
Alicia

“we believe you will find this change helpful”

This is just so condescending. Add me to the pile of those unhappy when companies do this. Of course I love to be tied to the phone, laptop, PC while attempting to get an answer to a non-urgent question or while I wait for (eg) Discover to research a problem rather than alert me that an answer is waiting for me when it is convenient for me to get to it. Of course my time is worthless, and under absolutely no circumstances may I attend to other business for fear of their rep disconnecting me if I have to actually do something, you know, urgent. We should always remember that ‘customer service’ means that the customer serves them, not the other way round (how quaint and old-fashioned that would be!).

Mike
Mike

What’s the angle here for these changes? How does this benefit the banks / cc companies? Gotta think it would be cheaper to pay someone to reply to sm than having people on stand by for live chat right?

HaveMiles
HaveMiles

They probably won’t staff it to have agents stand by. You (the customer) wait for them to become available.

AA
AA

This has been my experience with Discover. I’ve used the chat feature two times via the mobile app. It worked just like Secure Messages in the sense that: 1) I didn’t get an instant response, and 2) I got an email letting me know that I had received a reply. The only thing that seemed different was that the communication was displayed in a chat/messaging style view, rather than an email type view.

Steve

I’ve had long delays with Discover chat; it seems like just a more annoying interface to the old message system.

Maybe their goal is to make it more annoying to contact them. If people just give up instead of contacting customer service, Discover doesn’t need as many customer service people.

René
René

At least for discover, it’s the same. Probably the same workforce, probably the same response time. They just change the presentation format from an email inbox anno 1999 to a thread view like you know from pretty much any other messaging app.

missjenniferd1🦉 🦁

i prefer the secured message as my first option over ANY other option.

i dont have to sit and wait for them to ask me stupid questions that they are required to ask (or they’ll be counted off — (i worked in banking call centers and they REQUIRE you to restate the customer’s concern, make small talk, say the customer’s name, etc) which is all wasting my time since i’m just really wanting my question answered. they take 5 minutes just to type out “how are you today jennifer” it’s like, seriously???

and i prefer for my question and answers to be in writing so that if i have to escalate it, i have proof right there for them to review the whole banter back and forth of false information, etc, the things i was promised/advised, etc, so that when it all falls flat, i can refer them to my secured messages.

furthermore, with discover, the chat window times out even though you press “more time”. it’s a real pain, i’m not sure why they wouldnt rather us send the message, and they respond when they have time.

i think what it is, they would actually prefer us to call, and chat is sooooooo long and drawn out, that without secured messaging, we might call them instead. but i cant stand that, so i sit in the chat window.

i would soooo much rather just send them a message, and they respond back when they can, even if it takes longer than chat, at least i dont have to be monitoring the conversation.

tl/dr – this blows.

Gadget 🕵️

There are times where sending messages does take longer, and actually more work than picking up the phone.

Example: PNC – This weekend I sent a SM to close my old savings account. They responded two days later, on Monday, with a very long message. It said a whole lot of reminders – save your e-statements, make sure you have stopped all electronic transactions. Most people don’t read all that crap, if they even follow up to find the bank’s message. There was no obvious signs I had a response message (no text alerts, real e-mail, etc). Finally, said they needed me to reply to confirm the last four digits of the account number, and my mailing address.

So…. what if I am the average Joe and don’t log on for another week, or few weeks…. nothing is getting done. Fees would eventually hit. Now average Joe is getting nastygrams in the mail… And, the bank isn’t going to follow up until you reach out again.

So, I understand why banks don’t care for SM. Chat & phone is really how things should work. SM and E-mail are one-way communication devices. There is no telling if the messages get read or understood.

Steve

I just had the opposite experience with PNC, closing 2 accounts. For the first one, I used chat. They said all those things you mentioned, but each sentence was in the form of a question, for which they waited for me to respond before continuing (Have you written any checks that haven’t cleared yet? etc). It was annoying and took longer than necessary.

For the second account, I sent a message. I received an email saying I got a response. I quickly read their list of reminders and responded to verify my mailing address. Done, much faster.

Gadget 🕵️

But, is it done? You don’t know until you log back in again and see they responded, or, been locked out of online banking. Or, get the final statement in the mail.

I was merely using that as an example. You can imagine the wide range of questions they get, from transaction coding questions, mag strip/chip/card/swipe issue, fees, promo’s, supposed fraudulent (forgotten?) charges… and probably more times than not they need more info back from the customer to figure out how to proceed. And, although most people that read this site are actively logging in and out their bank accounts, esp. when they submitted a question, I’d bet a vast majority of people are not that way.

And to think that SM’s are thoroughly more researched over chat/phone, I am not so sure. I think that is wishful thinking, as they probably have metrics to meet and just trying to clean the queue. Probably depends a lot on the bank, and the luck of the draw on who picked up your ticket.

As a customer, the only real positive I see for SM is having something in writing that says what a CSR determined, which is nice, but that’s not a consideration in the banks favor. And they are the one paying the CSR’s and deciding on how to support the customer.

And BTW, I am banned from Discover Banking per their Fraud Dept, so feel free to let them know how much you hate this decision. I have no say!

M
M

Would it help reverse the trend if you give uniformly bad reviews at the end of each chat? There is no other way to express dissatisfaction that could be measured and tracked. The banks seem to want the metrics, and SM provided none. So let’s give them the metrics, and make them negative!

René
René

I don’t think it’s a bad change. It’s 2019 and it seems absurd when banks rely on human tellers in banks, calling like its 1982 or using email (in a usually badly formatted contact form) like its 1999.

The ability to directly contact support via life chat is the norm, and it’s cheap. Most of those systems allow offline/async communications, which is essentially secure messages in a less terrible format.

Also, I think it’s a fallacy to assume that a rep spends more time to find an accurate answer when responding to an email. The request load doesn’t significantly change with emails and I’d argue that having a single rep — even with context switch between multiple chats — is more productive than having a new rep for each new email/response in a thread.

As always individual experience and opinions vary, and I don’t have data to back it up. Email support has never been useful to me, chat is often somewhat useful — i never call due to religious reasons.

Gadget 🕵️

Religious reasons? Oh, you don’t want to have to swear?

Seriously though… not all banks offer Chat/SM for account issues.

To sum up my opinion on SM, a large percentage of SM’s probably require follow-up info from the customer before the CSR can proceed… so if the customer doesn’t include enough information, then the SM chain can go on for days or weeks. That’s if the customer is actually even reading & understanding the response. And that goes for the CSR too, if they understand the question, and not just copy and pasting the boilerplate terms.

Whereas, when you do a chat or phone session, communication issues can usually be solved right away.

Dan
Dan

I love online chat bc my accent makes oral communication more difficult than writing it. Also agree with DoC’s post that I prefer a well-researched response versus a rushed one

Doris Foster
Doris Foster

Well that dampens my confidence in their ability to be demure anywhere on site. I’ll be rethinking my relationship with them

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