Thursday, October 13, 2011

BoA is DoA when it comes to PR

Whoever is running the PR department at Bank of America better own stock in Rolaids.

This summer a homeowner in Florida foreclosed on a BoA branch after it refused to abide by a court order and pay his legal bills. This was after Bank of America tried to foreclose on the house, even though the home was bought with cash and BoA never held a mortgage on the property.

They're the butt of jokes regularly on Colbert, The Daily Show, Letterman and other late night talk shows.

And just a few days ago, when two customers, following an Occupy Santa Cruz rally, tried to close their accounts, the bank manager refused and threatened to have the customers arrested.

I'm not here to talk about the politics of the situation, rather the marketing.

Here's a tip. If your customers don't want to be your customers anymore, let them go as quickly and quietly as possible. If the manager had just said, "I'm so sorry you feel that way. Come with me, we'll take care of the paperwork and get you your money right away." The video would have ended there and the protesters would have looked like whiny, privileged middle-class suburbanites out for a thrill.

Instead the bank looks like a bully and those they are trying to silence have been able to amplify their voices via Youtube and the news.

The lesson: Don't deal with difficult customers by being difficult. Kill them with kindness and you'll lower the noise.

(Oh and for all you would-be documentarians out there, don't do what this woman holding the camera did. Keep your mouth shut and let the action play out. You're not the star of your movie, they are.)

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