We can’t resist overpaying celebrities but struggle to invest in customers

Companies will pay over the odds for celebrity involvement, but they seem to be failing to meet customer demands. This shouldn’t be the case, writes Caroline Bullock

Monday 09 May 2022 00:25
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<p>Ubiquitous presenting duo Ant and Dec are being paid around £2m to advertise banking giant Santander</p>

Ubiquitous presenting duo Ant and Dec are being paid around £2m to advertise banking giant Santander

Apparently, ubiquitous presenting duo Ant and Dec are being paid around £2m to advertise banking giant Santander, an interesting revelation in a week in which we learnt that its remaining branches would be closing earlier on weekdays and Saturdays.

It’s reflective of some skewed priorities in a society that can’t resist overpaying celebrities while struggling to invest in the paying customer. Because whatever spin is put on it, the gradual erosion of face to face customer service, and the removal of choice that comes with it, fails the public, particularly when the requirement to use digital services can still be prohibitive to many. The banks argue that they’re simply responding to demand – though I’m not convinced the appetite is as universal as the rhetoric implies.

As bricks and mortar alternatives disappear, isn’t everyone having to “go digital” by default over preference? Customers are railroaded into alignment with an agenda that brings cost efficiencies and faster market penetration for the business – things that, incidentally, are rarely passed onto the consumer, as those assigned to a call queue by a chatbot will testify.

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