Citigroup Splits Out Credit Cards; Now Get To Work

There’s a story on the wires today that Citigroup is splitting off its credit card business. If that’s the case, here’s some advice for Steven Freiberg (who will likely run the newly independent business) that is very similar to advice that I gave to Vikram Pandit, Citi’s CEO: Fix Citi’s customer experience problem. Why? Because it’s good business.

To start with, I just published a report that examines the linkage between customer experience and loyalty. It turns out that there’s a strong connection in credit cards. Consumers are much more likely to buy another product from a credit card issuer and be more reluctant to switch from that issuer if the firm delivers a good experience.

Our research also shows that credit card experiences, especially at Citi, are broken:

In a research report that just went live late last week, Customer Relationship Snapshot: Credit Card Providers, I looked at credit card relationships across generations of consumers. It turns out that credit card firms have the biggest problem with consumers younger than 40; so that’s probably a good place for Freiberg to focus Citi’s attention.

The bottom line: Splitting the business is an opportunity; hopefully Citi’s credit card business is up to the challenge.

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I am a customer experience transformist, helping large organizations improve business results by changing how they deal with customers. As part of this focus, I examine strategy, culture, interaction design, customer service, branding and leadership practices. I am also a fanatical student of business, so this blog provides an outlet for sharing insights from my ongoing educational journey. Simply put, I am passionate about spotting emerging best practices and helping companies master them. And, as many people know, I love to speak about these topics in almost any forum. My “title” is Managing Partner of the Temkin Group, a customer experience research and consulting firm that helps organizations become more customer-centric. Our goal is simple: accelerate the path to delighting customers. I am also the co-founder and Emeritus Chair of the Customer Experience Professionals Association (, a non-profit organization dedicated to the success of CX professionals.

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