Recently I was looking to open a business bank account for a new venture I’m looking to start- so I thought I would do the rounds with the banks to see what was on offer. I’m not going to name names here, but I was actually quite shocked at what I found. I went in as a start-up business, completely ignorant of what I needed to do and what I needed in general- just to gauge what support the banks could offer.
In this climate of austerity, and at a time when very often not a day goes by without someone in Government or a captain of industry saying “we need more entrepreneurs and small businesses, they are the lifeblood of the economy”, I would have thought the banks would be keen for some new custom. Not just to start a potentially lucrative relationship, but maybe just to show they were prepared to play there part in encouraging people to start a business and support them in their journey- as they are a key cog in the business machine. Now, I’m only speaking for the area that I live in, so this might not be representative across the board, but the experience was not good.
Of all the major banks I visited in person, they just handed me a leaflet with a tariff guide on it- bar one. No pack, no chat, nothing- just a tariff guide. The one that did send me to see someone, I was initially impressed- but then I got someone who knew very little about the products they offered. It did not install much confidence.. I was always under the impression that the banks had some fairly good ‘swag’ to give away to potential business start up customers- but I did not get anything.
Having worked with literally 1000s of people starting up, I know that what most people want is encouragement, and lots of it. Many people have left a job to do this, many have been made redundant, and some are coming from being unemployed. Increasingly, some have turned down jobs to chase their dreams, or been disheartened by the fact a good degree has not scored a good job- and entrepreneurship is the only route left.
So come on banks (and to be fair maybe some do offer a great service- but it was not my experience)- there are people out there who are keen to start and need all the help, support and encouragement they can get! Surely a little bit of extra training in customer service would mean these people where dealt with in an enthusiastic manner? I realize that business managers might be out and about seeing the bigger clients, but surely front line staff could do a little more than hand people a tariff leaflet, and get them on their way? To date- I still really have no idea what most of the banks are offering, I’m sure it’s all online- but you know what?- if they want my custom- I’d at least like a quick chat, to make sure things fit…