We are customer friendly, our mission says

Mission, vision and strategy. Mapping it is a lengthy process that requires a large amount of introspection and honesty. The reward? Direction to the organization and the individuals within. Ha! That is about as far as the theory goes. In practice they are usually little more than fun tools to lend some more prestige to the communication plan.

Even worse: sometimes it is empty words that still make it further than the communication plan does.


My husband was approached by his bank the other day. Because he had graduated about ten (10!) years ago, the bank claimed he no longer had a right to his student account. The same account of which he himself had repeatedly asked if it wasn’t about time to remove it. Apparently there was a new CMS. Hats off to that!

The bank had also conceived that my husband should go to the sales office to sign for a more expensive account type. And with that there was a conversation included concerning insurances, mortgages, and a few more of those things that nobody wants to talk about voluntary if it is not necessary. All of that during the office hours of this bank. No, it was not possible to just convert it. An appointment at home in the evening hours was not possible either. Imagine.

Healthy distrust

The consumer within me with not a lot of time and a healthy distrust against salesmen, banks and practically everybody that wants something of me of which I do not know whether I even want it myself, frowned because of this somewhat bizarre situation.

The communication professional within me looked surprised when my husband came home with the business card of his contact. During that conversation which he did not need and for which he had to go to an awkward location at an awkward time, he received the business card with the following text:

“We want to be your house banker with the service that makes the difference: always personal, where and whenever you want.”

Hollow words

The consumer within me looks at this as hollow words of which the bank proves its ridiculousness in the everyday interaction.

As a communication professional I cringe because this organization seems to think that it can get away with an impersonal and customer unfriendly approach as long as the reverse is described in its vision. We are friendly to customers, because someone has written that down for us so nicely.

Very hard work

Mission, vision and strategy start with who you want to be. That is quite boring. Do you want to be customer friendly and personal? Then you need to work very hard on that. You could start with the purchase of a good CMS for example, with the adaption of your processes to fit your clients, or the changing of your opening times. If you are customer friendly and personal then, then you should work very hard to maintain that. And then, then you are allowed to print it on the back of your business card.

And communication professionals? They are not just needed to put that vision, mission and strategy in nice words, but also to indicate the importance of the run-up trajectory to companies and organizations

Originally published by Maud Geerbex under the title “We are customer friendly, that is what our mission says”. Thanks for allowing us to reproduce it.