Three Banks in a Mall

by Jan Yuill

My free business banking service, available through, is closing its virtual doors on November 30th. I have had my accounts with them for several years. It has operated much like the Canadian for personal banking – no transaction fees, debit card, ATM access, free cheques – but geared to the small and medium sized business community.

My Resource Management quadrant is being shaken up! And I am shopping for another bank.

So, I went to the local mall, where there are three banks.

Let me tell you how it went …

  1. At the first bank there was no reception area and a fairly long line up for the teller, so I took my place in the queue. On low tables beside the line were Halloween (note the date) goodies – cupcakes ladened with icing, cookies, and candy. Nothing was wrapped or covered and, although for a second I was tempted, I thought of all the others who had already passed this way with their sneezes, coughs, flowing hair, icky fingers, etc. I changed my mind about indulging.

    The wait for the teller was significant. As I waited, I looked around. There were cardboard boxes on the floor with papers in them! Yikes. Whose files were those?

    When I finally spoke to the teller, I told her that I wanted information about opening a business account. She was dumb-founded (well, that was what the expression on her face told me, anyway). She asked me to wait while she went for help. There was no help available on that floor, so she went downstairs, and I waited and waited some more. She returned with a brochure, application form, and a business card of someone in the business department. She suggested I call him to make an appointment.

  2. The second bank had a reception area off to one side, and no line up! I asked for their business banking information, and a woman gave me a brochure and business card, saying that the application forms were available from the website, and that I should call if I wanted to make an appointment.

    Hmmmm. That was twice I was told to go away if I wanted to make an appointment. But this second one was also, “Go to your own computer if you want our documents.”

    Actually, it all felt like, “Just go away.”

  3. The third bank was newly renovated. The first thing inside the door was a large, round reception desk. A young woman greeted me and I told her what I needed. She gave me a brochure, an application form, and offered to book an appointment (right then and there!) with a business specialist to discuss my options. I left with information, forms, and an appointment!

Now which bank would you choose?

There is a lot riding on first impressions. You may have great brochures, a terrific website, business cards, a reception desk, software for scheduling appointments, etc. etc, but if your customers are getting the don’t-bother-us-we-are-busy-working message it may be time to really get down to business!