Banks have lost credibility

Unlike the expulsion from paradise, lost credibility is not a one-way trip, but the journey back for banks is arduous, full of trials and habitual hubris that takes a long time to unlearn.

As our communication standards point out, just getting noticed by customers, let alone being listened to and acted upon, depends on credibility. If an organisation loses its credibility with the public, it must regain it before people will pay attention to its communication and information.

Faced with a similar situation, some years ago a major institution that had lost credibility with its customers embarked on a major advertising and public relations campaign, telling its customers how good their services and products were, all to no positive effect. Indeed the reaction of the public was increasingly hostile. As one customer put it:

Why are they wasting their money on all that advertising?
Why don’t they spend it on improving their service?

The organisation then turned to CRI.

My advice to the institution’s senior management, though metaphorical, was, brutally frank:

One of the most successful ways to avoid repeatedly shooting yourself in the foot, is to stop pulling the trigger.

Not surprisingly, they did not take my advice, and many years later they are still struggling to regain their credibility.

Had they stopped their expensive, highly slick advertising, radically changed their business culture, and slowly made improvements to their services that were visible to their hostage customers—the people who have no option but to use their services—things might be easier for them today. After a while, media and other social information sources might have noticed the changes and commented on them positively. At the point where credibility would have returned, they could have gained new business on the strength of their rebuilt reputation. Alas, they continue to struggle and their advertising spend is greater than ever.

This organisation is one of many. Think of banks. Check out to see if the habitual hubris in our bankers stops them thinking they are like the god of old. Perhaps they will then realise that the real gods who keep them out of the Garden of Eden are the customers they serve.

Consequences of credibility lost in Hieronymus Bosch - The Garden of Earthly Delights - The Earthly Paradise (Garden of Eden)