What Bank of America Can Teach You NOT to Do

bankThe other day I was in my local Bank of America branch to cash a birthday check from my aunt. As I waited in line (for over 15 minutes!), I couldn’t help but notice the large signs hanging above each teller station – “Get MORE with Bank of America!”  Of the seven teller stations, only one was staffed.  More?  Hardly!

It was annoying enough to wait 15 minutes while one teller tried to take care of everyone (a misplaced debit card, exchanging bills for coins, ordering new checks – a close-up view of each customer’s business), but being told in huge, bright letters that Bank of America was giving us MORE was just plain insulting. And a good example of a total disconnect between messaging and actions.

Don’t say one thing and do another.  It seems simple enough, but if one of the world’s largest banks can get it wrong, so can you.

Customers aren’t stupid.  They quickly realize when you’re just feeding them a line.  And they don’t like it.

They won’t usually tell you that they don’t like being lied to – they simply take their business elsewhere.

So take a close look at what you’re saying about your business. Touting your speedy customer service? Have a few people call in and time how long it takes to resolve their issue.  Proclaiming the great value you provide? Do some comparison shopping to see how your prices and service stack up.  Talking about your high-quality products?  Check to see if any recalls have been issued.  And if you find that your claims don’t match reality, fix it – immediately.

The longer you go around saying one thing but doing another, the more your credibility will be damaged.


  1. Ricardo Bueno on August 17, 2011 at 5:41 pm

    Re: “Customers aren’t stupid. They quickly realize when you’re just feeding them a line. And they don’t like it.”

    Yep, totally agreed! And in the age of social media, where everyone can see everything, even more so. For example, take the designer who doesn’t answer the phone or hasn’t responded to your emails but yet, he’s Tweeting away a bunch of links and chatting it up on Twitter.

    Consumers aren’t dumb. They know when you’re full of it.

    In terms of your example, what ticks me off (at any Bank), is when you’re waiting in line, there’s only two tellers, and 3 Bankers/Managers standing around, just observing, chatting and laughing it up.

    It’s not the waiting in line that bothers me. I’m patient. I can wait. But what really bothers me is when those 2-3 bankers/managers are just standing around laughing and having a good ol’ time rather than actively doing something to speed up the process.

  2. Monica Hemingway on August 17, 2011 at 9:17 pm

    I think that’s what got me so frustrated – watching all those managers watching the customers as if we were animals on display at the zoo. What, they didn’t think we could see them? Or notice that while the one teller was working his @ss off, the managers were doing nothing? Not a good message to be sending.

    It always amazes me when things like that happen. Not quite sure how companies like that manage to survive – but, somehow, some of them seem to…

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