It has just come to our attention that a high diplomacy skill DOES affect the loot given in chests. We have done extensive testing on this and we have come up with the following procedure to guarantee that you get the best possible loot every single time:
1) Equip all of your best +CHA items
2) Circle the chest three time moving counter-clockwise.
3) Use your Diplomacy skill
4) Open the chest from the north-facing side of the chest.
Also, "looking for ham" may, in some cases, affect loot-gained. We still aren't sure at what point in the process you should turn on /lfh though. As soon as we know, we’ll be sure to let you know.
We apologize for the confusion on the matter and we are truly sorry that you have gotten any less than the maximum loot for the past year. Following the steps above should ensure this doesn't happen again.