The Banks: What Value Goodwill and Reputation? – Free PR Advice for CEOs

It is a shocking revelation that faced with legitimate complaints from customers the first thing Lloyds Bank do is drag their feet and draw out the process in the hope that the complainant will go away.  Do these people have no ethics?  See the article in the Guardian for the full story:

We had very similar experience of shoddy service from another high street bank that is currently in the hands of the Financial Ombudsman.  This is not the right way to do business.  Complainants may go away, but the complaint does not.  Customers will share it with their friends and in the end the company’s reputation – what’s left of it – finishes in tatters.  After all the shenanigans that the banks have been up to you would have thought that they would have learned their lesson.

Perhaps it is only human when faced with a complaint to become defensive.  But this is not a particularly intelligent response.  The best approach is to acknowledge the problem.  Be concerned that someone feels let down, find out why and sort it out.  Only then, you can move on.  Be quick, be honest, be open and, with luck, reputation may be saved and even enhanced.

Here is what marketing guru Seth Godin says: 

“If a customer service protocol (your call center/complaints department/returns policy) is built around stall, deny, begrudge and finally, to the few who persist, acquiesce, then it might save money, but it is a total failure.

The customer who seeks out your help isn’t often looking to deplete your bank account. He is usually seeking validation, support and a path to feeling the way he felt before you let him down.

The best measurement of customer support is whether, after the interaction, the customer would recommend you to a friend. Time on the line, refunds given or the facts of the case are irrelevant. The feelings are all that matter, and changing feelings takes humanity and connection, not cash.”

Kevin Ainsworth, Partner, Ainsworth Maguire Public Relations

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