The Satisfaction of Leaving

Ok, so I might be drawing a long bow to say that this post about the satisfaction of leaving has anything to do with web design and development, but bear with me.

I’ve been banking with the same regular, normal bank since I was a child. There’s never been any realĀ  incentive to change banks, no matter how frustrating the bank behaves, because, well basically, you still end up using another bank. Its kind of like voting. It doesn’t matter who you vote for, you still end up with a politician! In this case, it doesn’t matter who you bank with, you still end up having to deal with a bank.

Well that’s all changed.

I recently opened an ING DIRECT savings account like so many people before me. What I soon discovered was that they also offered an everyday banking account that doesn’t charge fees, in fact they actually pay other bank’s fees for me (if I draw out more than $200 from a bank’s ATM, they pay the “other bank’s ATM” fee). Compare that to my old bank that charged me $60 a year ($5 a month account fee) for allowing me to bank with them!

I should thank my old bank though. Banks have done such a great job training us to not come into the bank. Over the last few years they’ve trained us to use ATMs, they’ve trained us to use internet banking.

They trained me. Too well.

There was something very satisfying about going into the bank, for the last time, to close my account. Of course, I had to stand in a queue in my lunch time for nearly 15 minutes, but that was ok. It gave me time to reflect. A chance to think about how things are changing for old world businesses like the old banks, and how the internet has provided the opportunity for modern, progressive businesses to provide services and new choices for consumers. Intelligent businesses can now offer products and services and leverage the the power of the internet to turn reluctant customers into vocal fans.

There is a lesson here for all businesses. In the age of the internet, you can’t stick to your old ways, hoping that consumers will just put up with you because there’s no alternative. Your competitors are innovating. You need to keep up, or get out of the way. The internet is changing people’s expectations of business.

Now if only the internet could help us vote for someone that wasn’t as frustrating as a politician!