The Musings Of An Opinionated Sod [Help Me Grow!]


Say It As You Mean It …
February 23, 2009, 7:00 am
Filed under: Comment

As seen in a HK public toilet …

I think this ‘courteous vulgarity’ could be the new trend in CRM/customer service.

Let’s face it, with the amount of companies that give you cheap excuses whenever you enquire about something, this approach would be kind of refreshing – and even though you might not like the answer you get, at least you’ll know where you stand and be grateful for being treated with a modicum of respect.

I reckon this is the answer the banks have been looking for, don’t you?



20 Comments so far
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Never confuse CRM with customer service.

Comment by John

I don’t John …

Just like the people who think ‘blackboard’ has racist overtones are probably racist themselves, the person who thinks I was saying CRM and Customer Service is revealing their own issues. 🙂

Saying that, maybe you could aim that comment at many companies who DO think they are one and the same … and not in the sense their joint goal could be defined as “keeping existing customers and individuals who have expressed an interest in our brand/product, content and informed in the hope we can eventually convince and/or encourage them to purchase again” but in the sense they view it as “an ability to bombard people with offers or to sacrifice people who we feel will not spend money with us again”.

BTW, I was talking to Lee about you yesterday 🙂

Comment by Rob

get a fucking room you sad fucks.

that sign might be mildly funny but the one in chuck berries restaurant would be fucking hilarious. and campbell why are you doing these photo things? youre not george parker. youre not even george and mildred

Comment by andy@cynic

i would have appreciated it, if some banks would have said that they are sorry. i cannot think of one that did. but then an apology makes people expect a change in behaviour/business practice as a consequence. and the banks in question don t want to change anything i guess. because that could loose them some more money. they are rather forced into a change by laws and regulations, hoping that it is minor… if regulations will ever come. debates about that will go on for a bit longer i think. which is not the best thing in terms of reputation… and to get trusted again, they ll throw out ads and spots and wonder why it does not work as they thought it would. i dont get why they are not a bit proactive. and that sign is funny

Comment by peggy

looking at banking through my “THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS ALTRUISM” © position – (you would be amazed at how many pitches I have won with this.. I guess it makes the clients feel vindicated)I needed to change banks last week – HSBC had huge signs up saying how they had not got bailed out – but took 30 mins to see me, offered me a debit card which they admitted couldn’t be used outside of Singapore and then tried to stick me at the back of a queue to pay in the money to open the fucking thing. So I walked out. Rob, you would have been proud. Remembering “THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS ALTRUISM” © I went down the street to Citibank – no queues,(no people actually) lots of staff wanting to help me, a big choice of accounts, tea and coffee brought every 5 minutes, comfy leather seats, it was great. whole thing done in 20mins. there is a lesson here – but I’m fucked if I know what it is..? fortunately I’m a planner so I don’t have much for them to lose..

Comment by Mr McG

To be fair Peggy, the ex-heads of RBS have made an apology. Of course it’s the kind of “sorry” a 5 year old kid gives their Mum when they want to be let off the ‘naughty step’ so they can go and impregnate their 15 year old girlfriend, but it’s better than the car industry who have taken billions, said they need more and basically regard the car buying public as the enemy.

As for HSBC/Citi … I’ve actually had to open accounts with both organisations recently and I know EXACTLY what you mean.

To be fair, the HSBC people were helpful, it just was a very convoluted process to open the account [and I did get the ‘end of queue thing’] and Citi were kind, but needed 10 tons of info. Infact the only reason I persisted was the fact Citi is the only organisation that allows me to internationally transfer big amounts via the internet without having to go in to fill out telegraphic transfers. It is the ONLY reason I have accounts with them in the UK, US, Australia, Singapore and now HK … and yet they never talk about this, it is something I found out for myself. No wonder they’re in shit when this feature – which is genuinely beneficial for people who move countries fairly regulary – isn’t promoted, especially because they are one of the few financial organisations that can let this happen because they blew a small bloody fortune on creating their own international banking process which is different to the majority of their competitiors.

As for the ‘There’s No Such Thing As Altruism’, may I suggest you do another slide called ‘There’s No Such Thing As Free Customer Service’ so you can win all the telecommunication business as well, ha!

Comment by Rob

hahahah! I just got a phone call from Citi (really) – they need me to bring in more paperwork! I asked to see the manager at HSBC to understand the rationale as to why the worlds local bank had cards that couldn’t make it past changi/the causeway – his reason (and I swear this is true) is that it is a security benefit – if someone has my card/details, it is unlikely that they would find a vendor that they could use them with!!! therefore my money is safe from fraud (it would also be safe from me spending it too – which is a double benefit!.) now thats bank logic. we can’t keep your money safe from abuse by us – but we can keep it safe from being spent by you. BTW, its been 48 hours – you spilling the beans on the karma thing yet? C’mon…

Comment by Mr McG

Come on McG, you of all people should know what I’m talking about given it relates to an agency in your country.

And don’t talk to me about ‘bank security’ … I had quite possibly one of the most stupid things happen to me whilst trying to buy a house in Oz recently.

They wouldn’t let me confirm whether I signed my cheques R Campbell or Robert Campbell [I didn’t want them to send me my signature, I just wanted to know whether it was written with my full name or my initial because I hadn’t written a cheque in 15 years] under the excuse it was for ‘security’, despite the fact they had managed to approve thousands of dollars to be unlawfully sent from my account to someone I’d never heard of, let alone dealt with.

My favourite bit was when I was put through to the ‘SOLUTIONS DEPARTMENT’ only to be told “no one here will help you”. Nice!

Comment by Rob

rob, at least they said sorry then. that is one step ahead. but that rbs were forced by the government into a change of behaviour like cutting off boni makes it look like that naughty step thing… and the car industry. they crashed with their ultimate growth strategy like the banks with their’s. i could really go on, but i m afraid they d sue me if they d ever find out.

Comment by peggy

But I live in my little intellectual bubble at the top of the hill! if Rob won’t tell me – will someone else please spill it? who got their just desserts?

Comment by Mr McG

considering australians are supposedly known for telling it like it is, i’m shocked that we don’t have more forthright signage and/or comms by the big guns. in fact, all the big bureaucratic corps seem to revel in beating around the bush with ‘your call is important to us’ type bollocks.

and yet it’s the reverse for england! the english would rather die than tell you something slightly demeaning or confrontational to your face, but the banks/airlines/tfl don’t mind telling you how it is – eg – major delays on the northern line (= 5 minutes’ wait), or in the post office ‘get to the back of the queue please sir!’. it does my head in every time.

Comment by lauren

Australia only conveys their unique “telling it as it is” trait [or as the rest of the World sees it: arrogance] when they’re “winning” … when they are in a situation where they’re not able to be classed as the uber-victorious, they resort to the kind of beating-about-the-bush that the typical man adopts when trying to get “invited in” for a coffee.

England on the other hand embrace this blunt truth only when detailing negative news because it helps feed their ‘class system’ ego.

What I mean by this is that we have been educated to believe those with ‘power’ could afford to speak their mind, regardless of consequence whereas subordinates, just played the game and smiled through all pain. In short, if you can be blunt, you are subconciously telling yourself you have power and authority.

And if you believe that, you should be working for Halibut Fischer [www.asianyang.wordpress.com]

PS: Mr McG … READ THE MEDIA MAGS!!!

Comment by Rob

Has everyone been sniffing glue today?

Comment by Bazza

good morning.

Comment by Marcus

My lovely Marcus … good morning, it’s been bloody ages. How are you?

Comment by Rob

bazza, yes. would you like some? i find it works best in a tetra-pack.

Comment by lauren

oh, and rob, i really wish you told me that about 2 years ago! it all makes sense now (well, the whole english class thing. why australians are so bloody arrogant, well, that’s still a mystery.)

Comment by lauren

Lauren, there’s a few things I’ve been meaning to tell you….

Comment by John

this is just like school, when all the cool kids knew the secrets and no one would tell me. next you will all be coming round to give me a wedgie – I’m off to hide in the toilets. I will leave my dinner money on my desk for you all. hope you are happy rob

Comment by Mr McG

Mr McG, would you like to see the ‘blue goldfish’?

Comment by Rob




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