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You can search the blog for 'bank' if you want to steep yourself in the most recent five years of blthering idiocy, but it's been something like 18 years in total now since I first walked into the British Bank of the Middle East and admired the two gun-wielding bedouin guards at the door.
These days, I try and avoid going to the branch at all costs. It makes me physically angry even to walk in. (So please do take my remarks with a pinch of salt, I am not my usual calm and Zen-like self when it comes to issues related to banking.)
It's one reason why telephone and Internet banking has been such a Godsend. The vast majority of transactions can take place in a nice, automated phone call or browsing session. I actually only use phone banking because I can't remember all the passwords, PINs, forgettable questions etc. And even then, HSBC asks that you remember (and key in) your 10 digit personal banking number or your 12 digit bank account number, your date of birth, your six digit personal identity number and the average velocity of an African swallow.*
Now they've found a new way to get to me. They have started playing an advertisement for some financial service or another to their customers when they call up to use phone banking. The advert not only drones on in English, but is then repeated in Arabic. While.we.wait.
You can only imagine what kind of drooling nincompoop would have thought that interrupting customers using a service that's part of a service package they are paying for (and we pay plenty) and rendering them helpless to do anything other than wait out the interruption would be a good idea. It's frustrating, irritating and annoying. It clearly demonstrates the bank has nothing but disrespect for its customers, their time and their convenience. And it's clearly symptomatic of a failure to understand the nature and role of corporate communications at the most fundamental level.
Irritating and inconveniencing your customers is not smart marketing. It just shows your contempt for them.
* Okay, so I made the last one up.