Steve jetley, a customer of Lloyds TSB bank, was unhappy with his bank. So, he set his online banking password as “Lloyds is pants” (‘pants’ is UK slang for ‘useless’).
A mischievous employee altered it to “no we are not”.
So, Jetley tried an alternative – “Barclays is better”. The bank refused it.
Jetley then tried “censorship”. The bank refused to allow that, too, saying it was too many letters.
The rebel customer compromised with a six letter word which implied the bank was cr*p.
Lloyds then said there are new rules that say numbers have to be used, so the word was unacceptable.
Don’t you think that someone – either the customer or the bank – should have said “Thank you and goodbye: you/I am no longer a customer” before the farce unravelled to this stage?
It wouldn’t have been as amusing, though, I suppose.
The serious learning points:
1. Unhappy customers become saboteurs.
2. Baiting them doesn’t help.
3. Finding out why they are unhappy makes more sense.
4. If the relationship has completely broken down and you can’t fix it for them, say goodbye.
Southwest Airlines CEO Herb Kelleher was passed a complaining note from a serial complaining customer, with the words “This one’s for you” or something like that written on it. The note explained why the passenger would never fly with Southwest again. The things she wanted them to do so that she would fly with them again were outside Southwest’s low-cost strategy. It took the then CEO one minute to pass back a hand-written note to send to the customer: “Dear Mrs. Crabapple. We will miss you. Love, Herb.”
Source: The bank customer story was in the Times of London last week. The Kelleher anecdote is from Kevin and Jackie Frieberg’s book Nuts!