How to Win Some Customers Back

Free CheckingSmall miracles really do happen! People may admit mistakes. Companies can be wrong. And bloggers are able to apologize.

Yesterday in the mail, I received a letter from my favorite financial institution based in Wayzata (Minneapolis), Minnesota. You may remember them from a previous post. See here.

In summary, they made a decision late last year that essentially killed one of their main differentiators in the marketplace – free checking.

As a result, a parade of customers, including my business account, marched elsewhere, most likely to credit unions. Their CEO admitted that there was an exodus of accounts impacting the bottom line on their first quarter earnings call.

Originally, when I quit the company, it wasn’t because of the fee. Yes, it irked me endlessly. I was sick and tired of being nickeled and dimed by too many companies. Unfortunately for them, they came around at the wrong time with their hand in my wallet. What really pissed me off, however, was that they were killing off one of their strongest competitive differentiators. Now they looked like everyone else. My loyalty turned to animosity.

As I dove into the details, though, I discovered a way to avoid the fee on my personal accounts. However, there was no relief for my business checking account. For the privilege of storing my cash in their vault, they we going to charge me a fee. So like a Survivor contestant, the tribe had spoken and it was time to go.

And it cost them an account.

It was about to cost them two others as well. Until I received a little note in the mail.

Was the news too good to be true?

The letter stated that starting in July, they would automagically transfer my “terms & conditions” checking account to a new free checking account.

It will be back to the good ol’ days! Yippee!

They have a differentiator. Again.

Since I was no longer a business checking customer, I called their contact center to see if they restored their free business checking. Unfortunately, they had not. Swing and a miss.

At least they will stand out from the crowd in personal banking again. Time will tell if the customer crowd returns.

For now, I have a house divided. I will keep my new free business checking at the credit union and retain my personal accounts with the company from the land of ice and snow (and beautiful summers, btw).



What mistake do you need to correct today?


For a list of 16 Easy, No Cost Ways to Express Gratitude on a Daily Basis shoot me an email and you score it for free!


Todd Brockdorf
Better than Average Guy
#1 Best-Selling Author, Speaker, Thought Leader
[email protected]

Post to Twitter Post to LinkedIn Post to StumbleUpon Post to Delicious Post to Reddit Post to Squidoo

Deep Gratitude

Better than Average Book #1 on Amazon.comYesterday, my first book, Better than Average: Excelling in a Mediocre World, was published. It hit #1 on Amazon Best Sellers for Hot New Releases in Business Motivation & Self-Improvement. It peaked at #17 in Business Motivation & Self-Improvement.

But here’s the thing. I couldn’t have done it without some help.

And for that, I am truly, deeply grateful.

When was the last time you said “thank you” and meant it? I’m talking about that time when you felt it in your soul.

When I saw those numbers yesterday, my hands were shaking. Not because I did it. But because WE did it. I simply provided the ice rink. It was the players would played the all-star game.

Thank you. Two words, yet so powerful.

What if we lived in a world with greater gratitude and less gimme gimme? What if there was more merci and minimal “mine”?  What if we dared for “danke” and had fewer desires?

Deep gratitude is a whole body experience.

To my friends, supporters, and those who have joined the Better than Average, I offer you my sincerest, deepest thank you. I am truly blown away.



Who do you need to thank today?


For a list of 16 Easy, No Cost Ways to Express Gratitude on a Daily Basis shoot me an email and you score it for free!


Todd Brockdorf
Better than Average Guy
#1 Best Selling Author, Speaker, Consultant
[email protected]

Post to Twitter Post to LinkedIn Post to StumbleUpon Post to Delicious Post to Reddit Post to Squidoo

How To Kill Off Your Customers

My Grandfather's Gun I used to be a customer of a certain banking institution based in Wayzata (Minneapolis), Minnesota. I say used to because they used to stand out from the crowd. They used to be different from the rest of the banks that typically make headlines. They used to have a different attitude. Until they didn’t.

One of this bank’s main differentiators was Free Small Business Checking. Believe it or not, it was still relatively “free”. There is always an asterisk after “free” these days, but their terms and conditions were reasonable. So much so that I don’t even remember them because I was able to easily meet them through my normal banking activity. If you can meet terms and conditions without needed to think through your activities, those are decent T’s & C’s.

That was until December, 2011. That’s when they slaughtered their purple cow. They killed their differentiator. They left small businesses out in the rain. They added a $4.95 per month fee to their “Free” Small Business Checking. That’s almost $60 per year just for the privilege of having a business checking account. Ridiculous! So much for helping businesses get back on their feet during this economic recovery.

Sure, the fee irks me. But what really chaps my lips is the fact that they blatantly killed a method that makes them look and feel different from their competitors. In this age of ever increasing and more complex fee structures, simplicity is the new black.

Understand that I’m not just a business owner with an axe to grind. I was a 14+ year loyal customer. Do banks even have many of those any longer?

Just to confirm that the fees charged to my account were accurate and not some computer slip up, I called customer service. Sure enough, those fees are now being charged to “Free” Small Business Checking accounts. While Edgar was kind, he said, “We’ve held off fees for as long as we could. I think you’ll find that our fees are competitive with other FDIC banks.”

Ok, that’s nice, but the game has changed. Your competitors are not just other FDIC banks.

“I can go to a credit union and get truly free small business checking,” I said.

“Well, they’re not FDIC,” he replied.

“I don’t care. They are still insured.” Seriously, does the consumer really care who insures his money as long as it is safe?

As a result, this bank will lose not only the small business checking account, but my personal checking account and my personal savings account. Three accounts for one stupid fee. Is it really worth it?

With the elimination of their “Free” Small Business Checking, the only remaining differentiator is longer banking hours than other institutions. While this is a nice perk, will it be enough to attract and retain customers?

On a related side note, on their first quarter investor conference call, their CEO sited “checking account attrition” as an item weighing on their results.

In the interest of fairness, Edgar did say that he would waive this month’s $4.95 fee as a one-time courtesy. That’s nice. It should give me enough time to set up my accounts with my new credit union.

Post to Twitter Post to LinkedIn Post to StumbleUpon Post to Delicious Post to Reddit Post to Squidoo