Sometimes a poorly worded marketing message can have unintended consequences. Take this one from Standard Bank:
I was staggered. I certainly hadn't noticed the bank honouring payments where I had insufficient funds. In fact, I was totally unaware that the situation had even arisen. I must be losing my touchDear Mr Alcock
Using your current account as a cash flow management tool
In the past, you may have noticed that some of your debit orders or cheque payments were honoured, even if you did not have sufficient funds in your current account, or an adequate overdraft limit available to cover the payment. The bank has reviewed some of its policies and going forward, we will no longer honour payments in these circumstances, particularly if you do not have an overdraft limit in place.
As a valued customer, we would like to encourage you to visit your Standard Bank branch to either apply for, or increase, your overdraft - before the policy change comes into effect. Not only will this assist you with your monthly cash flow requirements, but you will also avoid the unnecessary fees associated with dishonoured payments, and your credit record will not be negatively impacted.
(please call us blah blah)
I'm actually quite careful to avoid that sort of thing. So naturally I had to call to find out when I had slipped up.
As it turns out, I hadn't - and neither had a few other people who had already called with exactly the same query
"Don't worry Mr. Alcock, the letter wasn't aimed at you."
That certainly shows the difference between a personal letter and a personalised one.
I'm guessing the goal was to get people to get or increase their overdraft facility (probably ones with a score that showed they weren't borrowing as much as the bank would really like) so that the bank could raise more fees. But it also got the phone ringing, and a thought occured -
Some people would actually consider that a successful result! All it would need is a closing strategy.
If dear call centre lass had said "Oops - that didn't come out as we intended - sorry about that. But while you're on the phone, do you know that according to our records you probably qualify for an OD of x amount?" who knows - they might have "sold" a few to folk like me.
Maybe the lesson is this - there is no such thing as bad advertising, just bad marketing.
What do you think?