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Lloyds Bank Customers Opt Out of Bank Calls; Lloyds Calls Anyway
By Steve Anderson, Contributing TMCnet Writer
Perhaps one of the greatest developments of the last decade or so was the advance of do-not-call legislation allowing potential call targets to opt out of sales calls launched semi-randomly throughout users' lives. It certainly went a long way toward keeping a lot of users' phones quiet, and the relief of being able to eat dinner without fear of marketing calls was certainly welcome. But there have always been some exceptions to this rule, and according to a report from The Daily Mail's “This Is Money” section, Lloyds Bank seems to be working the exception side of the scale rather hard, calling customers regardless of expressed preference against receiving calls.
Reports have emerged from no less than Lloyds Bank employees, who say that the organization's management has required said employees to make calls to urge customers to establish savings accounts with the bank. Lloyds reportedly calls this a move to add value to its processes, seeking to “...help them (customers) manage their money better.” Such a move, Lloyds reportedly suggests, constitutes not the marketing call that customers have opted out of, but rather a service call, which is approached somewhat differently.
But the employees at the Lloyds branches—who all reportedly requested anonymity—say that the “service calls” in question go to build sales points, otherwise known as “needs met”, when customers make the accompanying moves. Additionally, staffers report being pressured to work outside of normal working hours in making these calls, with an eye toward meeting targets described as “unrealistic.” Personal banking advisors are reportedly required to make at least 20 cold calls each morning in a bid to further reach these targets. Moreover, reports going back to May suggest that most advisors aren't actually reaching the targets in question, and thus the bank has stepped up pressure on the reps accordingly.
Generally, the rules against this sort of thing are rather clear: banks need permission in order to make sales calls, according to the Information Commissioner's Office, and those customers who opt out of marketing calls should not receive marketing calls. If subscribers specifically direct to not receive telesales calls, the office further notes, these calls “...should not happen.” Yet there doesn't seem to be much information regarding service calls, even when these service calls are treated internally like sales calls and designed to generate much the same effect as sales calls.
While it seems on the surface that Lloyds is playing fast and loose with the rules here, trying to call a sales call by a completely different name so as to allow it to slip under the rules unscathed, it's sort of a double-edged sword. While there's a clear value in letting customers know about sources of better interest rates or the like that may not have been familiar to the customer, the customer also made it clear that he or she wasn't interested in such calling to begin with. It would seem that Lloyds might be better off not making such calls; even if not specifically covered by rules, customers won't be too interested in getting bank calls previously declared unwelcome. Why try to sell to people who specifically don't want to talk to you and have made that desire about as concrete as it gets? The end result here is that this isn't likely to be a great success for Lloyds. Even if the rules issue doesn't come back to haunt it, the target market isn't going to take it very well either.
Edited by Rory J. Thompson