UPDATE: The New York Times reported that Bank of America no longer plans to implement its debit-card fee.
On a recent segment of “ABC World News With Diane Sawyer,”1 Sawyer reported that many bank customers are closing their accounts due to the new debit-card fees. Since Bank of America announced its new $5 monthly charge for debit-card usage, these Americans have been withdrawing their money and closing their bank accounts.
Other people are taking further action. Credit Unions Online2 reported about Kristen Christian, a small-business owner who started “Bank Transfer Day.” The Nov. 5 event encourages bank customers to move their money to credit unions.
Customers have already been doing so, according to another “ABC World News With Diane Sawyer” report.3
ABC News also reported4 that JPMorgan Chase, PNC Financial, Key Bank, and Citigroup will not implement fees as Bank of America has. Chase tested fees in parts of the country but won’t expand them, according to the article.
While Bank of America may never see a blip in its profits from this transfer movement, small-business owners should take heed and remember the power of the consumer. The customer may not always be right, but he can take his business elsewhere in an instant.
Most small-business owners do not have the luxury of treating the loss of customers as an afterthought. They need to realize the risks involved when increasing their prices and fees, which could alienate their customer base. Maintaining good customer service, providing quality products and services, and actually listening to what customers want before they go across the street to a rival are even more important than ever!
It’s crucial now to be aware of the buying power of your customers and what you can do to offer them the utmost in customer service. A small business should be easily accessible to its customers. While your brick-and-mortar store may only be open during certain hours, a website is available 24/7/365. You should maintain communication with your customers through all channels and always answer emails and return phone calls in a timely manner. You may even consider making yourself available on Twitter or adding a Facebook account for your business.
No matter what methods you utilize, treating every customer like he’s your only customer will go a long way toward keeping him happy and keeping him coming back!
For more information, visit:
1: “Bank Customers Close Accounts”
2: “Bank Transfer Day Is November 5th — Are You Going to Move Your Money?”
3. “Bye-Bye, Banks: 9 Tips Before You Switch to a Credit Union”
4. “Big Banks Say No to Debit Fees, Won’t Follow Bank of America’s Lead“