Don’t make marketing promises you can’t keep

This entry was posted on Friday, September 10th, 2010 at 12:43 PM

I’m in the business of writing succinct, punchy copy for my clients. It needs to engage their audiences and persuade them to buy a product or service. But neither my pithy, persuasive copy nor their eye catching designs count for anything if my clients can’t back up their claims.

Yet all too often we are lured in by smart advertising and clever words, only to find out that the service doesn’t live up to our expectations.  And if my experience this week is anything to go by, I’d suggest banks are the worst offenders.

One high street bank is apparently aiming to be the UK’s Most Helpful Bank. Well, based on their performance so far with my partner’s business account, they have a long way to go.

It’s taken him five weeks so far to get online banking for an account he’s had with them for 18 months. It’s not sorted yet. When he opened the account they lost his paperwork in their internal mail. It took him considerable time and effort to track down a phone number for the person he’d been told was his personal banker. It would be funny if it wasn’t so frustrating and wearying.

I should point out that a contact in that bank who I met through networking stepped in and has made things happen. It’s reassuring to know that at least one person in the organisation is doing a good job!

We are also trying to open a business account with the bank we’ve used for over 25 years. They claim to be ‘Good With Money’. Apparently, this is what they do for business customers:

‘First and foremost we organise ourselves to deliver what we believe you and your organisation need…

We provide support with a team of people dedicated to providing the best levels of service to you. And our 5 customer guarantees make sure we look after your business from day one.’

Sounds good doesn’t it? We filled in an application form four weeks ago. Last week we were told our account would be open this week. Today we’ve been told nothing has happened because they are busy. Super.

Really, what is the point in spending a shed load of money on promoting claims you can’t support? It’s frustrating for the customer and incredibly alienating. Surely it would be better to spend the money on making sure the infrastructure is sound before making a noise about it?

Ironically, my partner is a management consultant who focuses on business process and organisation development. Perhaps both banks should employ his services so they can deliver their promises.

An ‘infestation’ of ‘inverted commas’ | Think like your customer

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Hello. I'm Elaine, I'm a copywriter and this is my blog.

It's mostly about words and writing - things that inspire me, entertain me, and make me smile. Sometimes it's about things that horrify me so much I want to scream and shout!

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