Did you know that if you walk into a Starbucks store, instead of go through the drive through, that it is Starbuck’s policy to wait on customers in the order they are received? Over the last month I have found myself waiting at the counter watching barista’s focus on serving their drive through customers while they chat with their team mates and ignore those of us standing inside waiting for our drink we have already paid for.
I use to like to go inside of Starbucks, instead of using the drive through, because I loved their can do customer oriented how-can-I- serve-you attitude. Starbucks shift into a wholesale distributor is making it clear whom they see as their new BFF.
Did you know that BMO Harris Bank advertises to its commercial customers that if you sign up for their credit card processing service, your funds will be available the next day? Except its really a gotcha because it is only technically true.
Most credit card processors take 48 hours or 2 business days to deposit the funds into your account. BMO Harris, however, tells its merchants that if you charge a card today your money will be in the bank tomorrow. While tomorrow after 5pm is technically the next day- which gives them technically the right to advertise next day funding- don’t expect to have access to these funds in anything less than 2 days. Interestingly, while I did report them to the Better Business Bureau and the Federal Trade Commission for false advertising, no one seemed to care because technically they are doing what they claim simply by posting the deposit after 5pm the next day.
Oh and did I mention that to sign up for credit card processing usually requires you sign a 2 year contract? In this case BMO Harris uses Moneris as their credit card processor and they could care less what BMO Harris has promised you. I had to report BMO Harris to the OTS (Office of Thrift Supervision) to get them to finally agree to apply pressure to Moneris to release me from the contract I signed based on their false claims. Had I not been successful, Moneris claimed I would owe them over $4000 to get out of the contract. Both BMO ( then Harris) and Moneris each pointed the finger at the other leaving me, the customer, poorly served, feeling deceived, and stuck in the middle holding the bag.
Did you know that while credit card companies heavily advertise how fun it will be for you to earn free travel for using their credit card, they actually you will be offered very little of a reward when you try to cash in on all the business you gave them?
Over the past 10 years, as a result of making sizeable business purchases on my credit cards (and paying the balances off in full every month) I have, frankly, not to had pay for a plane ticket in a decade. And while this once upon a time truly felt like a reward, it does not anymore.
It use to be you could look up a destination and find not only a seat on the date and approximate time you wished to travel, but usually also a direct flight. Now not only are most of the dates blocked or booked but also you can expect to make 2-3 stops to make it to your destination. And when you are able to use the miles and book a seat expect to be reminded of your value, as you will be one of the last to board.
The irony of all this is that credit card companies are making an OBSCENE amount of money from even me. When a merchant accepts a credit card the merchant has to pay typically about 3% of the total to the credit card processor for the privilege of accepting credit cards. Unreal huh? So the 100K I run as charges monthly on my cards is equal to roughly $3000.00 of income per month to the issuing bank and or credit card processor. And of course if I kept these balances on my card, because I was unable to pay them, that does not even take into consideration the typical 14-21% annual interest rate they charge. But actually by paying my cards off in full and using them like I do, I am actually paying them even more than a balance carrying customer. 3% X 100,000 of charges X 12 months of use is an annual rate of 36% a year! And boy are they doing a great job showing me how much they value my business with their travel reward programs too.
If you intend to stand out of a crowd in business you need to provide exceptional customer service. A business that goes the extra mile for their customers and does not fill their coffers with clever self-serving promotions and ‘gotcha’s’ are the one’s who truly stand out in the crowd to customers. These are the companies we need to keep rewarding.
About Lisa Canning
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