Customers Do a Banana Split on Westpac

One key theme that resounds in customer service is that there is rarely any benefit to be gained from telling a customer that they’re wrong.

I have to add another to that list – there’s rarely any benefit to telling the customer that they’re stupid.

In the last week, the Reserve Bank of Australia has boosted interest rates by 25 basis points (0.25%). The first bank to act on this was Westpac, which boosted its rates by 0.45%. Hailed as a widely unpopular move, especially just before Christmas, people are calling Westpac out as being an uncaring monolith that cares not about its customers, but only about profits.

In a disastrous PR move, Westpac released an add comparing banking with banana productions. Check out this condescending ad.

The ad was quickly panned by people everywhere. Even Australia’s Prime Minister blasted Westpac over the “banana slip”. Westpac has pulled the ads.

Of course, citizen journalism being what it is, there are response ads that send a clear message to Westpac exactly what people think of it.

It’ll be interesting to see how Westpac sets about rebuildings its customer image. A very clear message has been sent to customers by the bank telling them first that they’re not important, and second that they’re stupid.

Customer Experience Lessons

  1. Put thought into how your customers are likely to react when you make a decision.
  2. Be ready to say sorry and admit a mistake
  3. Don’t talk to your customers like they’re idiots



Photography enthusiastic, writer, hiker and diving geek from Canberra (and Sydney), Australia. Thoughts and opinions are my own.

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