A long time ago, my bank, TD Canada Trust, ran a promotion to show that they had the lowest wait time among all the Canadian banks. They, or their ad agency, decided that it would be a cool idea to give customers five dollars if they had to wait in line for more than five minutes.
The promotion was designed to accomplish two things. The first was to inspire the staff to improve their productivity. The second was to show bank customers how confidence TD was in their fast customer service. If the customer waited in line for less than five minutes, they are happy for the fast service. If they waited in line for more than five minutes, they get 5 bucks and they are happy again. What can possibly go wrong?
There was no one at the bank to time how long a customer waited in line for. The promotion was on the honor system. If you waited for more than five minutes, you just have to tell the teller and she will give you five dollars. This guarantee even extended to the ATM machine. Just go to the customer service desk, tell the lady you waited more than five minutes for the ATM and she will give you five bucks. You did not need to claim your five smackers on the same day either. You can walk into the bank the following day (or week), tell them the last time you were there, you had to wait more than five minutes for the ATM and they will give you five dollars. If you tell them that during the week, you waited more than five minutes, five times, they will give you $25.00. What can possibly go wrong?
The bank had set aside an amount they felt would be given away over a six month period, which was how long the promotion was to last. If it did well, then the $5 guarantee would become part of the bank’s branding. The six months worth of five-dollar bills lasted barely three weeks. The next day TD cancelled the promotion and fired the ad agency.
During the time the promotion was running, I made $50. Hey! I really did wait for more than five minutes! Honest!