|Whose service makes you smile? (November 2010)|
“Whose service makes you smile?”: Bankers share nonbank experiences of good service.
Special Aspirin: Whose service makes you smile?
Remedy 1: Grace under pressure
Paul Jarosz, senior vice-president and director of government compliance, Oxford Bank & Trust, $612.4 million-assets, Oak Brook, Ill.
A few years ago I went to the local Enterprise on a Saturday to rent a minivan for the weekend. The place was jammed with folks waiting for their cars, and as I recall there was only one young guy working the desk.
Folks were very irritated and this guy was doing all he could do to move product. I remember how calm and polite he was. Didn’t seem hassled, and treated everyone nicely. I was so impressed, and sorry for his predicament, that I didn’t get too aggravated waiting for the van. In fact, I was so impressed with his grace under pressure that I was actually thinking of asking for his card to see if he would be interested in working at our bank. We are really big on customer service and I figured that even if he didn’t know banking, he would be such a great asset that we would teach him.
Remedy 2: They wrote the book
Jake Caraway, vice-president and vice-chairman, First National Bank, $381.4 million-assets, Granbury, Texas
The Sewell Companies, a group of auto dealerships, out of Dallas, is the best at customer service. In fact, their owner, Carl Sewell, wrote the book, Customers For Life (Crown Business/Random House). Anyone in retail should read it. My wife and I have purchased six cars from his dealerships. Each time, the sales staff is very friendly and glad to see you. I have never felt pressured to buy a car. Their service department staff is the best. You are greeted immediately when you drive up by someone who asks what you need and gets you a service writer. Mr. Sewell’s beliefs have been communicated to each and every member of the staff and they follow through. All businesses can take a lesson from this business on how to treat customers.
Remedy 3: Keep that “edge”
Frank Carson, president and CEO, Carson Bank, $84 million-assets, Mulvane, Kan. The annual Kansas Bankers Association CEO Conference is held at the Broadmoor Hotel, Colorado Springs. The Broadmoor has excelled year after year at great customer service. At a time that so many businesses are cutting costs, I am pleased that they have not lost their great customer service “edge.” Every employee greets every guest and is most responsive to guest needs.
We all wish to achieve this level of excellence with our customers. In community banking we must remember it is not just teaching our employees how to give great service, it is equally important that we constantly monitor and coach them to achieve the best customer service.
Remedy 4: Perfect teamwork
Tiffany Perry, assistant vice-president, compliance officer and human resources officer, Lincoln National Bank, $141.2 million-assets, Hodgenville, Ky.
My grandmother was transferred to a nursing home. She wanted a particular chair, and the physical therapist at Sunrise Manor Nursing Home went out of his way by helping me shop for a chair that would fit her needs. I called around first for prices for chairs and found a lady by the name of Debbie at Furniture Liquidators. She also went out of her way to find the perfect match for my grandmother’s needs. I only went to the furniture store once (it was 20 miles from my home), but the PT went three times and Debbie worked with me over the phone and coordinated everything with the PT at the nursing home. After I purchased it over the phone, I told her that my husband would pick it up and arrange to take it to my grandmother. Debbie said, “Oh, that is OK—Mark (the PT) and I have already made those arrangements. We will deliver it next week after they have a chance to rearrange the room.”
WOW—for both of them!
Remedy 5: An unexpected offer
Jeff Smith, chairman and CEO, Ohio Valley Bank Co., $813.1 million-assets, Gallipolis, Ohio
Recently I accompanied my wife to purchase a gift at a Brighton store. The service provided by the clerk was, as usual, excellent. However, after we completed the two purchases and the clerk put the two items in separate and attractive gift bags and just before we left the store, she said, “May I offer you some bottled water?” The offer was “unexpected and such a surprise” both of us found ourselves talking about the impression it made on us and trying to see how we could do something equally as memorable at the bank.
It has been rightly said, “You never get a second chance to make a first impression!”
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