I finished closing out my bank account this week; since I became an adult (feel free to insert your own joke here), I believe I’ve had five bank checking accounts, primarily dictated by where I lived. What’s funny—and scary—is how many of the banks don’t exist any more—my first was Sovran, which was the result of a merger (the original bank served Robert E. Lee), which then merged with another bank, then merged with another bank, and now (in some form) is Bank of America. The next two banks were swallowed up in similar fashion. The bank I just switched from was my local bank—not part of a big banking conglomerate out there.
So why’d I switch? Well, like many customers of different businesses, I felt taken for granted. The bank recently announced “free” checking would become “$8.00 a month” checking, although part of the fee would be waived if you utilized the bank’s Bill Pay option at least three times a month. What?!
So I switched to a different “local” bank, one that is bigger and has more branches across the state, but is not one of the national banks that seem to be everywhere. They offer free checking, although they do charge fees for some things and in some ways don’t provide the same services as my old bank. So far, I feel like it was a good idea—I think.
All this has me thinking about how we all make decisions as consumers, and naturally, it prompts me to also think about our members and why and how they choose to join ABMP. We ask them about such topics, and get helpful feedback, and I’d like to think the overwhelming majority of our members don’t feel like I did with Bank #1. But I had an exchange yesterday with a member who did indeed feel she wasn’t being served. What I like is that I have a chance to directly connect with our members and learn about how we can do better. I want to make sure we’re not Bank #1.
The other lesson on my mind is that while Bank #2 has its merits, it’s easy to sell yourself on one facet of a situation and not think more broadly. There’s a chance at the end of a year that I’ll consider the charges incurred from Bank #2 and determine I didn’t save any money. Occasionally we hear from our members that another outfit that is “cheaper” solicited them or is having a sale, but when they look more closely at the other offering the extra costs tally up. That other outfit really isn’t cheaper. Or—even more importantly—their service, resources, or quality of liability insurance doesn’t stack up to ABMP’s. Apparently, the grass isn’t always greener.
Remember the slogan, “Choosy shoppers choose Jif”? Do you know why and how your clients choose you? Is there a chance they feel like you take them for granted?
My job: to make sure our members don’t feel that way. So, for starters, thank you. I treasure your support. If you do feel that way, let me know. Before you switch.