Magazine article Marketing

OPINION: Banking Bosses Set Agenda for Customer Focus

Magazine article Marketing

OPINION: Banking Bosses Set Agenda for Customer Focus

Article excerpt

The recent headlines about the soaring levels of consumer debt are just the latest to taint the credit card companies in particular and the financial services sector overall.

The general tenor of the criticism is the usual one: these companies practise bad marketing, in that they use all sorts of dubious offers to hook new customers, whatever their financial condition. The unfortunate result is that, yet again, marketing is established in the public's mind as something untrustworthy, because it is equated with over-zealous promotion and, more damagingly, a whiff of dishonesty.

So while the chief executive is spouting the latest line in customer service , the hapless marketing department is under pressure from all sides to do whatever it takes to get those customer numbers up. That makes it all the more interesting to see whether two of the UK's newest banking chiefs will be able to translate their marketing-focused philosophies into reality.

First, there's Eric Daniels of Lloyds TSB, who took over as group chief executive on June 1. In a newspaper interview last month he made the sort of comments not usually associated with one of the high-street banks.

Here's one example: 'It's very easy for any organisation to forget that their reason for being is customers, and if we do not satisfy the customer better, the customer will refuse to do business with us.'

Even more unusually, he makes explicit the link between staff and customer satisfaction and the role of the chief executive: 'If you do not have the strong sense that people are united behind a common purpose, they do not know what the right thing to do is. So probably one of the most important things is to set the values of how we wish to treat each other and our customers. …

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