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Here’s a true story that many of you have already experienced and which resulted in a incredible feeling of frustration. It’s the story about looking for a company to provide a service or a product you need.

Sending a request for appointment to all the biggest banks

My story begins with the quest for a new bank; a bank that could host my private as well as professional accounts. The bank I’ve been with for 10 years now is not fulfilling my needs anymore: they have shown little flexibility and their availability is a disaster: 9-13 and 14-16 is the best what you can expect. Not really the can of opening hours an entrepreneur can cope with.

I made my choice: I’d rather quit and look for a new bank. I started sending requests 10 days ago. I was explaining that I was needing a new bank, that I would transfer all my accounts, I attached statements showing the cash flows as well as the balance sheets of the company to make my request look appealing.

And getting no answers

This may not surprise you but after 10 days I haven’t received any feedback. Axa, BNP Paribas Fortis, Belfius, Bank Van Breda … none of them took the time to contact me. Even reminders didn’t trigger any reactions from them. I must conclude that in Belgium banks have not made a priority to attract and retain new customers or that Belgian banks have enough customers and are not interested to acquire new ones.

Same story for many sectors

Many of you (especially if you live in Belgium) have experienced the same. You desperately need something, you are willing to pay for it, but nobody seems to care. What do you do eventually … you chose the only provider that took the time to respond and showed some decent level of customer service. That’s the sad way it goes in this country and I’m really wondering whether people want to work.

I’d even prefer potential suppliers to be honest with me. If you don’t want to work just tell it. That’s what a famous Brussels-based plumbing company did with me a few years ago. When I called them for an intervention they just said they had enough customers and they were not willing to serve new ones!

Advice for your business strategy

I’ve never had so much work to do because I hate waiting and I hate making others wait. If someone took the time to ask me a question or requested to be contacted, it means he/she needs it. We, as an organization, must therefore do everything to get back to him/her as quickly as possible.

In actuality 50% of the contracts we sign are the direct consequence of our answering as quickly as possible to their request. People got used to low quality of service; whenever someone does his/her job correctly it appears so unexpected that people immediately buy-in.

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Author: Pierre-Nicolas Schwab

Dr. Pierre-Nicolas Schwab is the founder of IntoTheMinds. He specializes in e-commerce, retail and logistics. He is also a research fellow in the marketing department of the Free University of Brussels and acts as a coach for several startups and public organizations. He holds a PhD in Marketing, a MBA in Finance, and a MSc in Chemistry. He can be contacted by email, Linkedin or by phone (+32 486 42 79 42)

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