Last week I needed to apply for a travel visa and part of the requirement was that I tendered a Statement of Account from my bank.  So I did a letter requesting for it; duly signed with an undertaking to pay whatever charges may accrue as a result of the service.

I sent someone to the bank with the letter of authorisation and then the drama began.  Within a few minutes that she got into the bank and presented the letter, I received a debit alert for the service charge.  I took that to mean that my Statement of Account was well on the way to me so I settled into work.  Two hours later the person who went to the bank was yet to return.  She called to say to me that the Customer Service Officer who attended to her had just informed her that he was unable to release the statement to her because my Accounts Officer needed to authorise the release.

Up till this point I didn’t have a problem, but now I clearly did; because I have run this account for over ten years and cannot tell whether my ‘Account Officer’ is human or not.  I have never spoken to him/her or had anything to do with whoever it is.  To now be told the bank couldn’t release my SOA until I spoke to the person was a night mare.  Nothing I said could change their mind… eventually I had to call the bank, where the call was transferred to another Customer Service Officer who after speaking to me for two minutes cut the call on me and told the Switchboard Operator to tell me when I called back that he was not responsible for my account and that I should call their online service centre.

Imagine, that flesh and blood couldn’t deal with the customer and they say the online centre should…

Why am I telling this story? Because in talking to my husband and a few other people who use the same bank, we agreed that the culture of the bank nose-dived when the leadership changed.  Apparently, a bank that used to pride itself as being Customer centred and focused and gave us permission to send in a complaint if we were not attended to in five minutes now takes pride in keeping people for hours without being able to resolve the issue.  It is a shame… at least that is my opinion.

What can we learn from this?  First thing I learnt is that you cannot separate the person or the leader from how the business or vision is run.  What was important to the former chief executive of this bank was service and professionalism; apparently, this new one thinks that the glitz of how they dress and paint their buildings is more important than how they treat customers.

It cannot be different for you and your dream… whether you want to run a really big bank or a coffee shop at the street corner.  Your business will reflect the ethics and principles that you live by.

Secondly, I learnt that when we begin to make mistakes, we do not need to arrange a seminar or workshop before our staff will follow suit… they can tell when we begin to lower our standards and it just takes a short while before they follow our example.

I can say this because a few people who have had close dealings with this CEO all say the same thing about him; the verdict is that he is arrogant and brash; no wonder his staff have imbibed the arrogance and brashness too.

Like I told them, I may be one customer and I may not be big business but if I take my business elsewhere it still will be their loss.

So the next time people come near me and want to talk about their business ethics; I will be quick to let them know that ethics are ethics… what you live by is what you will translate into your business.

Till next time, remember that your dream is the sum total of all that you can ever be; do not allow your character; which is the sum total of who you are destroy your works.

You will make it NeverTheLess…because character can be improved upon.

Here is to your success.


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