Why do I do business with you?

By Beacon Staff

A local financial institution exec recently asked me why I have my business account at Wells Fargo. He knew the answer for most people who have personal accounts there is “they’re all over Montana”.

For me, the answer is different. They aren’t in Columbia Falls, so why am I willing to burden myself with driving 20 minutes each way to Kalispell on those occasions when I have a check to deposit?

Simple: Wells Fargo fully supports QuickBooks’ online banking integration. Not partially supports, not “I have to import a text file”, but fully supports. One click and type in my pin and all my transactions are matched up with my QuickBooks and those that don’t match are in front of me to settle, quickly and easily.

Yes, I drive 40 miles round trip past two banks and two credit unions, all the way into Kalispell because of that one issue. It’s about time, and despite the occasional 40 mile drive, I come out ahead.

Offering full support for QuickBooks, Microsoft Money and Quicken is expensive for banks, but it’s more expensive if you don’t offer it because you’ll likely never know about the customers you never had the opportunity to serve because you don’t offer the level of service they require.

I was glad to hear the “Why” question, because too few businesses ask that question of their customers.

“Given all the choices you have, why do you do business with me instead of anyone else?” Try asking it. You might learn something from the answers.

Things like this tend to come in groups, and sure enough, today was no exception. A reader of this column who works at a local bank emailed me about my column that mentioned a friend who has had an account with a new-to-Kalispell bank for 40 years, and lamented that they never contacted him when they moved to town (and it got worse when he contacted them). He explicitly asked for my friend’s business and for mine.

That column came out on Sept 12. Weeks ago. The bank who is new to town will know I am talking about them if they read that column – since they’re the new bank. Yet they haven’t yet asked about my friend.

But First Interstate’s Scott Mizner did.

More importantly, he also asked for my business, knowing full well that if his bank doesn’t pass muster, he’s likely going to read about it in the Beacon and elsewhere if he follows the other things I write.

What does that tell you? Can you say the same about your business?

Here’s his note to me:

Mr. Riffey:
I just read your excellent article in the September 12 edition of the Flathead Beacon about your friend who had not heard from his bank. I passed it out to our entire staff as a reminder that we all can do a better job of providing customer service that we can be proud of.
If your friend has not yet been contacted by his bank from Minneapolis, we would be happy to give him a call and sit down for a cup of coffee to see if there is any way we can be of service. I would also like to extend the same invitation to you considering that you do not currently have an account with First Interstate Bank and indicated that you have not been recently contacted by your bank either.
Thanks again for the great article.
Scott Mizner
Vice President
Commercial Loan Manager
First Interstate Bank
2 Main Street
P.O. Box 7130
Kalispell, MT 59904-0130
(406) 756-5295
(406) 756-5260 FAX

Scott’s email was passed onto my friend. What happens from there is up to them. Likewise, what happens after you put down the Beacon is up to you.

Ask “Why?” Act on the answers. Pay attention.

Got a business or marketing question you’d like Mark to write about or want to learn more about him? See Mark’s site or contact him at [email protected].