How a brand determines experience: The ATM story

In 1989, Midland Bank, a traditional British high street bank, with a history of low customer satisfaction scores, decided to launch a separately branded, phone-based operation. This was to be called “First Direct” and was the first phone banking operation of it’s kind in the UK.

Not only did this new venture look very different to it’s old bricks and mortar cousin, the new brand also behaved very differently. Significantly, one of the key criteria for frontline staff was that they had never worked in a bank before.

The launch was a great succes. By May 1991 the bank had 100,000 customers on its books. Not only that, these customers were also saying that they were much, much more satisfied with the service than they ever had been with their traditional banking experience.

By May 2001 First Direct, now with the highest customer satisfaction in the market, was gaining one third of all it’s new business through referrals, with customers recommending the service to friends, on average, once every 4 seconds.

This difference in satisfaction ratings was most evident in the use of ATMs.

Midland  Bank customers continued to give low satisfaction scores for their ATMs – around 25% – while First Direct customers were giving satisfaction scores of up to 70%.

The extraordinary thing was that they were both using the same ATMs.

In other words, their attitudes to the two brands were having a significant, and measurable impact on their actual experience.

Even though the physical experience was exactly the same.

By Mike Garner

A highly experienced creative practitioner, Mike Garner is also a strong creative leader with a deep understanding of the effective use of creativity in all aspects of communication.

With widely recognised creative abilities, combined with a practical understanding of commercial requirements, Mike has an exceptional track record in helping start up and grow a number of highly successful creative businesses.

Over the past thirty years, Mike has played a key role in establishing and building three separate (and creatively and financially successful) creative agencies from scratch. These are: Saatch&Saatchi/Equator (1991), OgilvyOne Worldwide (1993) and Chemistry (1999)

One of the most highly awarded creatives in Ireland, Mike has won a vast number of national and international advertising awards, including Cannes, D&AD, The One Show, and ICAD as well as awards in more specialist disciplines such as sponsorship, direct response and direct mail.

With a strong set of practical craft skills that include, art direction, print design, packaging design, typography, copywriting, photography and film direction, Mike is a keen believer in leadership by example, and is happy to getting involved in any aspect of the creative process

Unusually, for someone with such a strong creative reputation, Mike also has formidable strategic planning skills. Having developed and implemented many highly successful strategic planning solutions for a wide variety of brands, he has also he has won two ADFX Advertising Effectiveness awards. (Including Gold, Silver and Bronze for Lidl at ADFX 2018).

Mike has always been a champion of a highly integrated approach to communications, at all times arguing for an active role for the brand, and always placing the consumer at the centre of things. With his diverse skill set, Mike provides the link between initial research, insight and strategy, right through to concept and final execution.

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