Branch banking? Let’s get personal!

I’ve been working in financial services on and off over a period of more than 20 years and the debate over how many branches a bank needs has been going on for at least that long. So it was good to see the Financial Services Club keeping the debate going this week. Despite money becoming increasingly virtual and the growth of online banking I think the industry has a long way to go before we see a significant change in the number and style of bank branches. Banks that invest in their people as well as new technology will maintain both a distribution network and the valuable customer relationships that go with it.

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Service Smackdown 5: Apple and the road to power

This is not so much a straight fight but more a series of skirmishes along the road to power – the power in this case being the power supply enabling my wife’s new iPhone to function effectively.  It’s a story of persistence in the face of supply chain problems and one customer service rep’s action turning a mediocre and frustrating experience into superior service…

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Locating the passion – do you know when you’ve been tango’d?

In my attempts at bringing humour into my work, I – and I think I’m probably not the only one – have occasionally used the phrase ‘through the medium of interpretive dance’ as a shorthand for ‘out-there, wacky stuff in the business place’. Despite my love of aforesaid wackiness I’ve never actually been to a meeting or workshop where any form of dance was featured – until last night when I attended the excellent Knowledge Cafe run by Alida Acosta and accompanying tango dancers.

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Of fonts, film and (rugby) football

As someone whose walls are decorated with a fair amount of typography and calligraphy (an abiding interest from my wife’s days as an art student) I was interested to see the furore generated by IKEA’s decision to change its catalogue font from Futura to the more screen-friendly Verdana. Is this just an issue for font-geeks or a massive erosion of the brand loyalty engendered over many years of superior flat-pack design and serving countless Swedish meatballs? Continue reading “Of fonts, film and (rugby) football”

Don’t leave me this way: switching mobile networks

Having been happily married for many years I don’t really remember my last relationship break-up – and it’s probably fair to say that any notions I have are informed by films, plays or books (or the Archers come to think of it). However I had a reminder of what it might have been like following a recent break-up with O2. Paraphrasing somewhat, it went a bit like this: Continue reading “Don’t leave me this way: switching mobile networks”

In praise of improvisation, comedy and Wallaby Lacrosse

I make no apologies for a second post on the joys of improvisation – this time inspired by seeing the Comedy Store Players (featuring Paul Merton) in an evening of hilarious improvised comedy at my local theatre last weekend.  For readers unfamiliar with the improv approach, the audience supplies the source material by suggesting film or theatre styles, character names, locations, jobs and so on. It’s then up to the performers to improvise from that starting point. It’s hard to convey the results of this without making it sound ridiculous – which it is – so I won’t attempt to. (Since it’s played for laughs the ridiculousness is all part of the equation anyway.) Continue reading “In praise of improvisation, comedy and Wallaby Lacrosse”

Better late than never – the 2008 Open Chord awards!

I’ve spent a large chunk of the holiday season reading the papers and they’re chock full of articles looking back at 2008 and looking forward to 2009. Depending on how grouchy I’m feeling it’s either a neat bit of recycling or plain lazy journalism. Whatever, this year I’m not going to be left out and so I’m proud to present the first annual Open Chord Awards for superior customer service.

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