Closing branches to enhance customer satisfaction

A bold new strategy from HSBC in Hong Kong.

In an era in which it is is assumed the military has cornered the market in misleading language ('collateral damage', 'friendly fire', 'non-viable civilian target'), HSBC has proven it is not so - and has come up with some exciting definitions of the term 'relocation' and the phrase 'enabling us to serve your needs better'.

In a recent walk past one of its formely bustling branches - the Hysan Avenue branch in Causeway Bay, Hong Kong - we discovered the ATMs had been bricked up.

Given the branch was nestled next to the busiest Starbucks in Hong Kong we were somewhat surprised and read the poster explaining why the branch was, in military terms, 'lacking operational functionality'.

The poster told us that HSBC was "pleased to announce the expansion of our Hysan Avenue branch, which will be relocated from it existing location to 463-483 Lockhart Road". This was a mere 15 minute walk away.

I took a moment to contemplate this exciting development.

And exciting though the 'expansion' of the Hysan Avenue branch undoubtably was, I couldn't help observe that this expansion would involve closing the said branch. The fact that, there had always been a branch in Lockhart Road, made the expansion theme an interesting one.

Then the piece de resistance: "We have full confidence our relocated branch will be able to provide you with a more comprehensive range of services enabling us to serve you better."

There you have it: closing the branch, HSBC would serve the customer better. Less obviously is more.

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