UK bank takes fraud protection to a new ‘handmade’ level

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Bank rant? No. Bank high five? Yes.

I lost my debit card last week (not big news, I tend to lose one every 6 weeks or so).

So, I followed the normal process, cancelled it and ordered a new one.

They say it takes 4-5 working days to deliver a new one.

I woke up Saturday morning (day five) praying that my card was in my mail box, I opened it up and there, to my disappointment, was just one letter. It had a hand written address label. My heart sunk. No cash for me this weekend then eh?

Agony to ecstasy to amazement…

I walked back up the stairs, feeling a bit miffed with my bank that I would be left stranded until Monday.

In a huff, I opened the letter that was delivered and my jaw dropped (OK, I’m exaggerating, but I was massively impressed), and here’s why…

So, within the handwritten letter was this note and the original formal bank letter with my card enclosed – how very clever.

I won’t show you the outer letter, there’s nothing that special about it (and it has my address on it!) but its ‘normalness’ is what is so great about this.

What can other brands learn from this?

We all talk about wanting to put the customer first.

We all say we want to do things to in a bespoke manner.

But do we do it?

(Note: there is the argument here that banks have even more of a reason to invest in fraud protection because of the cost associated with it. In effect, they are not taking all this care in delivering my card for my protection, but rather for their own. You make your own mind up.)

No matter the motivation, this is a great example of customer service evolving and adjusting to the environment we now live in.

Often as communicators, we are given the challenge to amplify the customer service efforts of brands.

But, how often do we develop physical solutions?

How often do we create products that have an inherent story in them?

How often are we really given the chance?

Where are we really at?

The onset of social media has had several impacts but one is becoming increasingly apparent…well for me anyway.

The ‘story’ is still, in some cases, being created after the event – not during the embryonic phase.

When the story is an afterthought, there isn’t a whole lot you can do with it, no matter how proficient you are as a communicator.

This view isn’t anything entirely new.

My (long-winded) point is that I don’t think we are are any closer to working in an integrated manner yet and even though we know the IDEA is what makes or breaks things, we’re still not creating that many great ones.

The revolution is…erm…

Social media was earmarked as the evolution that would break the walls down, but perhaps it has created even more?

So, while I love this example of my bank taking things up a notch, I don’t think it is an example of a revolution.

It’s a one off…but a pretty damn good one.

  • Have you spotted any other examples of brand activity that you are impressed with?
  • Will we see more solutions like this?
  • Who will instigate them? 
  • And, are you making note of the brand lessons going on around you everyday?

I’d love you to share your thoughts.


1 Comment

  • Reply August 24, 2010


    I’m with a major UK bank who does a similar thing. Might even be the same one in fact. The outer envelope and address looked so genuine that for a while I thought it was from my grandmother. Very clever, but I hope they have some variations of it because when my girlfriend received a similar letter it was quite obviously from the same company for the same purpose.

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