Archive for August, 2009

Corporations and other businesses spend billions of marketing dollars each year to entice consumers to buy their products or services. Bottom line to all the messaging: “we want your business.”

But what happens when the reality doesn’t match the marketing promise? Could you be doing the same thing in your business?

Community Bank of Nevada and Wells Fargo Bank are two excellent examples of how reality is vastly stronger than a marketing message.

I mourn the passing of Community Bank of Nevada because, as one of its many non-business customers, I appreciated being appreciated. The staff at the Sunset branch always greeted me by name, something that always surprised me since I wasn’t a daily or even weekly customer. I enjoyed being able to talk with a teller in a normal voice level without the nearly sound-proof security Plexiglas in the way. Best thing of all – again for me as a customer – was the lack of long lines even on Fridays. I could walk right in the front door, get my business done, and be on my way – in and out – perfect for the busy professional like myself.

So you can imagine my confusion and disillusionment when I stopped at the Wells Fargo branch on Eastern, north of Tropicana, to handle some business for a vacationing client.

The door I tried entering through was “Exit Only” and it took me a few moments to comprehend the signage. In effect it said that access to the bank was limited to the other side of the building.

With no sidewalk or safe walkway around to the other side of the building, I got back in my car and drove to the back. Good thing I did. Another customer nearly got flatten by a speeding motorist wanting to use the ATM.

At the entrance, I was then faced with figuring out how get inside. A disembodied voice told me to wait for the green light. That’s when I realized this was a double-entry security entry with a metal detector. The voice told only one person could enter at a time. Okay, but what about the elderly woman leaning heavily on her cane? Could she make it through on her own?

After a process of green light-red light, I made it inside, feeling as I had entered the inner sanctum of a most holy temple. The exit process looked a little easier but I could help but wonder if its security setup would encourage hostage situations.

The Wells Fargo staffer at the door greeted me warmly, though I could tell she was bracing herself for another irate tirade from a customer. The tellers behind their Plexiglass shields looked just as uneasy. No one would comment on the new security measures or answer any questions about them. I could only speculate and wonder if this is the wave of the future for banking.

Despite its excellence in customer service, Community Bank of Nevada failed because of being under capitalized and having an increasing amount of bad commercial loans on its books.

But, if these new security measures that shout “I DON’T TRUST YOU” are widely implemented, how will Wells Fargo continue to attract customers based on marketing messages of “Welcome, we want your business”?

Only time will tell.


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