Why was I treated badly in the bank as prospective business customer?


I went to two banks today: Stanbic Bank & Barclays Bank Tanzania.

I went there to enquire about specific business accounts that I am looking to get because I want to see if I can change the financial structure of my work so I can ramp things up.

Example 1

I get to Stanbic Bank in Mayfair Plaza in Mikocheni in the morning and there are hardly people there. I speak to the lady at enquiries about who I speak to about business accounts. I spoke to this young customer service executive and after ignoring me initially to the point where his supervisor was like ‘speak to the customer’, he then remembered that I was there – and we started talking.

I spoke to him and explained that I wanted to get a brochure on the business accounts that Stanbic provide because I want to see how fees work such as making international payments, receiving cheques or electronic payments.

He told me that their business accounts were for ”businesspeople”. Well that’s mindnumbingly clear – if I am coming to ask for a business account, why wouldn’t I be interested in a business account?

The result? – He gave me a sort of blank look and looked in the back office. Came back empty-handed to say that there are no business account brochures at that branch. Yes you heard me correctly – no business account brochures for prospective customers to look through so they can shop around for the best deal.

Needless to say I left empty-handed.

Example 2

After that Stanbic fail, I headed over to Barclays Bank Tanzania that also has a branch in Mikocheni. I waited for a while, the security guard seemed to know who to speak to rather than the cashier which points to who actually should be behind the withdrawal desk! Anyway, I then spoke to the business account liaison and needless to say, it was again terrible customer service. I asked him for all the things I would need (a laundry list trust me) to open a business account here and he gave me a sheet of paper from Barclays Bank that was covered with scribbles from annotations from a previous client.

I asked him: ”can’t you get me a new one?”

To which he said: ”We only have this one left – sorry, should I photocopy it for you?”

It is this lack of attention to detail that irked me. I need to have attention to detail to my work or I don’t get clients or worse, I could lose the ones I have. Why didn’t he think as the business manager at Barclays that he needed to get new checklists, not shitty ones with annotations on them.

The result? – After speaking to him, I just found him to be a bit patronising and lazy. With such a huge lack of attention to detail for prospective customers who are clearly shopping around (he also did not know account fee charges for their business accounts), what is the point going with such a shit presentation?

Verdict: I am wondering whether they would have treated me like this had I been wearing a Rolex, a suit and if I had a swinging dick. Honestly, why are prospective customers treated badly in some banks. Does it matter that I am a woman with a business or in traditional societies such as Tanzania, is it really the men who are taken seriously?

What do you think?

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4 thoughts on “Why was I treated badly in the bank as prospective business customer?

  1. I think they didn’t take you seriously because you are a young woman. I don’t think dressing up would have helped much either. Also, it just doesn’t seem like they are used to customers requiring business accounts either.

    Perhaps there is a smaller bank that may be better for you and where they are happy to have customers.

    • Hi Aisha, I think you are right that it was because I am a woman. I just got that impression which was so annoying!! Why does it matter what gender I am?

  2. True, if you were all dressed up you would have gotten a different treatment, but the business problem you set out to seek a solution to would still be mostly unsolved. Your experience is more a reflection of the current level of preparedness of these two institutions to meet the needs of the business people behind the wheels of growing enterprises.
    My verdict would be that neither one of those banks is the bank for you at this moment in your business history.
    Why don’t you go find one that would really meet your needs? They might be among the most prominent banks in Tanzania, still I want to believe there are others who also offer the particular facility you require.

    • I was wearing heels and a black shift dress – I think I looked business like but I was still treated badly. The banks should be prepared to meet my needs because that is their job. It was frustrating to be there to say the least!

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