How to drive your customers to start evangelising their friends to RUN AWAY FROM YOU

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Word of mouth marketing is huge, and its getting more and more important as consumers become more aware, empowered, confident etc.

Some international MNCs, NAMELY STANDARD CHARTERED BANK (in Pakistan), just dont get it.

This isn’t really a post, this is a rant. This is a public call for everyone to run away from Standard Chartered for banking services.

The part to think about is WHY the bank would drive me to actively spend my time writing rants and trying to convince everyone to run away — why spend that time?

Well, because you drove me up the wall. Here’s how you did it.

Well first of all, you’d hire ego-centric over-zealous fresh kids with absolutely no sense of professional selling.

Next, you’ll give them absolutely no training, and make a payment structure for them that PAYS them for FILLED FORMS, not for ACCEPTED FILLED FORMS (more on that later).

Next, you’ll hand them a cold-call list with ONLY ONE ENTRY — YOUR NUMBER. Your phone number will be in atleast 72 font size on this paper with big RED arrows drawn with a marker pointing to it with scribbles saying “Call” in the manager’s handwriting…. such is the depth in which training and guidance should be provided.

But it doesn’t stop there.

Next, you’ll integrate your IT systems with the SMS network but WITHOUT integrating that with your CRM so you can actually measure which message has already been delivered to which customer.

Next, you’ll outsource the “scheduling algorithm” for this SMS delivery feature to the cheapest vendor possible. The vendor will implement the following logic: “Every one hour, go through the entire set of people on the COLDCALL list and SMS them”.


Finally, you’ll pat your marketing manager on the back and give him a raise.

After all, look at what’s he’s managed to do! It’s amazing!

These enthusiastic sales people will be calling you 3 times a day to talk about packages you ALREADY HAVE BOUGHT FROM THE BANK, especially the “fun” phonecall you’ll get from t hem at 830pm right in the middle of dinner.

Next you’ll start receiving 6-20 SMSes per day — especially the “fun” one at 630am that also serves as an alarm clock for you.

I mean heck, with so much promotional information going out there to that customer, the customer is BOUND to buy from you right? Even if not, heck look at the BRAND OUTREACH that is taking place here.

[Marketing guy:] Yes exactly! I know its a good strategy because [leans in style] I have an MBA which says I’m right…

[Manager also leans in style:] … and I have 15 years of experience doing this and have a company car… so I’m right too. Good job marketing!

Meanwhile, back in the customer’s house, conversations like the following can be heard frequently throughout the day….

[Overzealous sales guy] : Sir, I’m calling from SCB. You applied for a credit card from us…

[Customer]: Yes, what’s the status of it?

[Overzealous sales guy] : Heck, I dont know, but why dont you apply for another card while you’re waiting for that one?

[Customer]: But I’m already going to get that one.. why would I need another?

[Overzealous sales guy] : … because its amazingly different … ITS MASTERCARD!

[Customer]: … but I already have a master card from you guys…

[Overzealous sales guy] : well get another! It doesn’t hurt right…

[Customer]: … err… no.

[Overzealous sales guy] : You dont have to think about it… you just sign one form, and I’ll get my cut, and you can always cancel it!!

[Customer]: [utters a phrase in ancient swear-word-language that roughly translates to “”]…

If that doesn’t get him to sign, there’s always the SMSes.


Go back and read the whole post — its probably the silliest post I’ve ever written but its evidence of literally driving your customers mad! Argh!

Facebook comments:


  • i’m havin the same trouble from the Citibank guys for the personal loan.

    Once i had a little free time, so made the guy tell me the whole detail of the scheme, asked a thousand different questions, made them look up rates for ridiculous amounts (because i wanted just that much!) and then when in the end, told him im going out of city, so i’ll get in touch after the weekend.

    he called monday, when i politely declined the loan, since i had magically resolved my money issues otherwise. :p

    i thought it’d be the end of it :( but nO!!!! today! i get another call from Citibank offering me even MORE amount!


  • I’m happy to declare that I have successfully gotten rid of SCB. I think they are the most stupid bank around and unfortunately they have destroyed a good support system of Union Bank too.

    I’ll tell you a funny story. I had a MasterCard from them, used it, payed all back and canceled it. I have the formal cancellation document with me since 1 year, but Still I get 0 Rs. bills from them regulalry :)

    And they would just ring up without knowing what they have sold me in the past.

    I think people from BPO industry need to go and fix these people up!

  • I lost my debit card and asked them to post my new card to my address in Lahore. They asked me to send them a letter by post (Are they living in 20th century? )which I did. After two weeks when they told me their “procedure” is changed now I have to email them. Its been more than a month and I am still waiting :)

    And the worst thing, I opened a new account in a different country with the same bank and now I need to send them a letter BY POST to get my on line banking activated LOL…

    now I am thinking of switching..

  • Muhammad Asif Razzaque

    SBP must impose certain risk disclosure and pre-consultation conditions for all such tele-marketing efforts focused at selling assets products i.e. personal loans, cards, lease etc. Most of the targets (clients) are simply not aware of the capture techniques that these banks employ and end up paying much over what they had bargained for.

    Further if you default the banks then really employ all means to push one into borrowing from elsewhere to pay off their debts, literally. There actaully exists no code of ethics for selling such products, there is absolutely no consultancy or health monitoring and they only know to jut their claws into your skin as soon as you become vulnerable.

    Just wanted to support Osama’s experiences 😉

  • Nice one Osama, really nice..!
    This just proves how helpful and important a role ‘rants’ can actually serve.

  • Ahmed… not sure if you’re being sarcastic. SCB really drove me mad but a good “business-sense” explanation of it later on. OR you can read Jawwad Farid’s post on SCB — that has good business pointers.

  • No I wasnt being sarcastic. It really was true…and I know how SCB must have made you feel. My grandfather, dad plus their associates often go on about their(banks) ‘methods’ in this manner. And after reading your article, it really does prove how ‘fashionable’ our banking environmment has grown.

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