Can you ever stop shopping around?

In today’s column, I talk about a small business owner who believed in the values advertised by his Big Five bank. He thought that RBC had his best interests at heart.

He was turned down every time he asked for a Euro account until he said he was going to move his business elsewhere. Then, the bank offered to give him what he had been denied for two years before.

This kind of behaviour is commonplace in the business world. Companies fight to increase their market share by offering juicy incentives to new customers. Meanwhile, they ignore their existing clients, who only get their attention when they threaten to leave.

This means you have to change your behaviour as a customer. Instead of being loyal to a long-time supplier, you have to keep an eye out for bargains offered by competitors and always have one foot out the door, ready to decamp.

You can’t take it for granted that the companies you patronize are giving you the best deals. They don’t take you seriously until they’re about to lose you — and that’s when they hand over the discounts.

You can never let down your guard, assuming that you have the lowest prices or most attractive service plan. Instead, you have to keep checking what’s offered by others and asking your own supplier to match them.

It’s exhausting, time-consuming and disruptive to keep moving your accounts around. But in the new world of cut throat capitalism, it’s the only way to make sure that companies really value your business.