People who know me and who read our blog on a regular basis know that I am not one to complain without a good reason and, although I am a direct person, I rather promote good work than point accusative fingers. Sometimes though, some professionals’ service is so bad fingers have to be pointed. So for all of you, dear readers, here’s a little story about horrible customer service and how it affected our perception of a company forever.
Spoilers: The story has a surprise happy ending.
All I wanted was to open a business bank account…
Seriously, that’s all I wanted. Emilio and I have been running Veodesign for a while but since most cheques we receive were in either of our names, we didn’t feel the need to open a business chequing account before. But the day comes for every business when you must do it (usually when you receive a nice cheque made out to the name of your company and realize you can’t deposit it in your regular bank account).
And so we went to Caisse Desjardins since I have a personal account there and it was recommended by family. I also believed it was the cheapest option (I was wrong, I would later discover). We went straight to a branch in downtown Montreal, in Complexe Desjardins. We had gotten all the papers we needed to open the account from a branch close from home a month before. We had decided however not to go back to that particular location as the agent who served us then had been a bit cold and demanded papers we did not have and, as it was later confirmed to us by a government employee, that were useless to the registration process. We had the proof we were a registered business and of our identity. What else did they need? Opening a bank account shouldn’t be hard… After all, we’re basically asking for them to take our money, make profit out of it and charge us monthly fees. Making it a complicated process is an extra we really didn’t want.
We stepped inside the downtown branch, I said hello with a smile to the receptionist and handed her the paperwork explaining we were a business wanting to open a business account. She eyed us suspiciously before questioning us about the papers. Yes, we had gotten them from another branch. Yes, they were recently filled out. She then asked us a question in a cold tone that surprised me: “Why are you coming here?” I looked at her and wasn’t sure what to say, so she rephrased differently: “Why are you coming to this branch?” I nodded, finally understanding her peculiar question, and told her it was because the location is practical for us. And seriously, why does she care? I could have picked any branch. Already, I felt her cold eyes slicing through me and I didn’t like it. At all.
The dirty-blond woman took the papers, looked at them briefly and pointed out in a condescending manner that I forgot to fill out parts of it. She handed me back the papers, telling me she couldn’t do anything as long as they were not completely filled out. I explained her that I wasn’t sure was some parts meant and that I would have liked some help with some sections of the document. For instance, I wasn’t sure what they wanted me to write under procuration and what some more sophisticated financial terms meant.
Her service has been pretty bad until now, if not by the way she talked to us, the way she looked at us was pretty spiteful. We were clearly disturbing her, and she let us know by telling us: “You’re supposed to fill those papers by yourself. You should have asked your accountant if you had questions. We’re not supposed to help you do it.” Then she handed me back the papers again, gave me a pad and a pen, inviting us to sit down and fill it out in the waiting room, away from her.
I was seeing red, but I still took the pad, the pen, my papers and went to the waiting room, all while telling Emilio how horrible this service was. I forced myself to sit down and Emilio, my calmer half, encouraged me to fill the papers the best I could without making a scene. While I was doing that, the receptionist was laughing and chitchatting with her colleagues… away from us.
But this blog article isn’t about me spilling out my emotions. It’s about how bad customer service affects a business decision. However, I must say this: I can’t stand incompetence, I just can’t; it drives me crazy when I’m around incompetent people. I don’t understand who hires that people. Had I been her boss, she would have been fired in the blink of an eye. Luckily for her, I’m not her boss. I’m just a business owner who will never, ever do business with Desjardins ever again, if not for my personal account that I will most likely close eventually. All of this because of an incompetent and rude receptionist who refused to perform her job by helping us, by answering questions about a document her bank gave us. And her colleague from the branch closer to home who made sure we wouldn’t go see her again by making the account opening process so hard.
After filling out the rest of the document we came back to the reception, even if we weren’t exactly sure of the terms, and handed her the papers. She looked at them, wrote a few things and said: “It seems all okay”. I waited a few seconds for her to add something (Hint: she did not). So I asked: “how does it work for the rest? Do we meet someone?”. She replied she’d give the paper to the right person and they’d contact us sometime soon. No dates, no time, no nothing.
I nodded and we left. I was indignant and Emilio was also very unhappy of the unfair treatment we received at Caisse Desjardins.
It shouldn’t be complicated
Dear bank, we have money. We want to give it to you. Why did you have to make it so hard? Why did you spit on our money? Is our money as a design studio not good enough for your safe?
And so we went to RBC. As you can see in this article Emilio wrote, Unlimited Banking: Canadian Style, RBC isn’t generally cheap. In fact, it’s the most expensive among the local competition when it comes to unlimited chequing accounts. But at that point, I thought “what the heck” and decided to give it a try. Perhaps if they charged so much they were at least going to have a decent service?
And you know what? They DO. We entered the place and a clerk welcomed us with a smile and professionalism immediately. We asked how it worked for opening a business account and he told us it would take a maximum of an hour and a half. We only needed to be registered and findable in the Registraire des Entreprises of Québec. He gave us an appointment for 48 hours later. We came back home and we were very pleased.
A perfect service
Between Caisse Desjardins’ and RBC’s customer service, it was night and day. We didn’t wait long to be served and the account manager’s service was impeccable. The whole procedure took almost 1 hour and a half, from the moment we stepped inside the RBC Complex-Desjardins branch to the instant we stepped outside. The man who served us prepared the papers, was extremely professional, pleasant and even inviting, and when all the papers were signed, he showed us the place, introduced us to some of the employees and his manager. He was amazing.
Having worked for a year in an Apple Store in 2010-2011, I can easily make parallels between RBC’s service and Apple’s. If you’ve ever purchased anything in an Apple Store, you’ll most likely remember that the employees there are trained to give an excellent service, with reason. They want to make you feel at home, part of the family. RBC did just the same. They did everything Caisse Desjardins failed to do.
We were also pleased to find out the business basic banking fees are half the price at RBC than Desjardins. It was shocking but great news. In the end, we’re happy customers. Very happy.
I will never say it enough…
Customer service is super important. It’s the reason why your clients will keep coming back and recommend you to their friends. Companies with horrible customer service are doomed to fail or at the very least to lose important amounts of money. Most clients really don’t ask for the moon; they just want a good service provided with a smile. That’s all.
We’ve all experienced horrible and/or excellent customer service. If you feel like sharing your personal experience with us, we’d be glad to hear from you. Leave a comment!