Breaking up the NAB way – Is it possible to do it amicably?

Have you seen the National Bank of Australia (NAB)’s break-up campaign? Well, if you haven’t, where the bloody hell were you? (I apologise; that’s a very bad joke on the bombed Australia’s Tourism Agency campaign).

NAB's social media team (Screen grab from NAB's Facebook)

While NAB has one of the strongest social media presence within the consumer banking sector, I have my doubts on whether this is the best mode of communication with customers. Rantings, complaints and nasty comments serve as a launchpad for uglier things to come: think trolls. But that’s another story for another time.

Now, going back to NAB: how’s life for it after “breaking-up” with the big three Aussie banks? There’s no rebound or moving on for NAB, it seems. In fact, NAB’s break-up campaign puts itself in a precarious position when its system crashed in April 2011. How so?

Screen grab from NAB's website

Strategically, NAB is doing a great service for its customers by waiving all administrative charges for its classic banking account. But Karma bites back when there was a delay in the clearing of accounts, electronic transfers and/or cheques owing to a technical error.

Is "I am breaking up with you, NAB" the latest tagline?

Enraged customers posted “break-up” threats on NAB’s Facebook wall. Could there be a better way of managing the outflow of anger other than through the many social media channels?

The NAB social media team did a great job by managing the Facebook comments posted in a professional manner (despite the curt and often rude comments) and provided an email address and helpline number in every reply.  The social media team had also tried their best to answer any queries as soon as it was posted during office hours.

On the business-end, the NAB team set up an overdraft facilities for customers who were left out-of-pocket from the funds transfer delay. You would think this would be sufficient to placate the many angry customers seeking a break-up with NAB?

Sadly, humans being humans tend to rear their ugly sides when issues tipped in their favour. And there are some issues and situations which no amount of public relations salvaging and damage control can ameliorate.

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