When companies get too large to have a personal relationship with their customers, other forms of communication become increasingly important. Get it right and the semblance of a personal relationship can be maintained. Get it wrong and you reinforce the lack of a meaningful relationship.

For example, I recently received two letters from Barclays Bank and they started thus:

“Thank you for registering for Barclays online banking ….” – I hadn’t!

“By requesting a passcode for telephone banking …” – I hadn’t!

Actually, what had happened was that Barclays acquired Standard Life, where I had an account. I was then forced to become a Barclays customer but they couldn’t be bothered to write a separate letter for the thousands of former Standard Life customers. No, they just trotted out the same letter that goes to people who have made the requests cited above.

Furthermore, when the other documents I needed to go with these didn’t arrive in time (and still haven’t) the process of even getting through to someone who claimed they could help was tortuous, to say the least. It remains to be seen whether they will actually sort out this problem.

So actually what they’ve done, simply by failing to recognise the importance of communication with their customers, is alienate me and encourage me to look around for alternative banking arrangements. Way to go Barclays!