Good Customer Service: Communicate.
By Ricardo Ortizcazarin | President, Cazarin Interactive
Something that must be prevalent with all the customers we gain is to implement excellent, engaged communication to make them feel special. During a class focused on customer service I took around 25 years ago, the teacher asked the audience to share a positive experience they have had as it relates to great service. A man raised his hand and shared about the realtor they used to purchase their first home. The teacher then asked, why did you feel it was such a great service?
The man indicated that just when they thought they were going to have a question about the next steps, the realtor had called them or sent an email telling them what comes next in the process. He and his wife were pleasantly surprised at the high level of communication up to the point of purchasing the home.
The same thing happened to me recently. I have banked with a large bank for over 30 years both personally and professionally. They have been good and were a good partner for us; however, with the program of the SBA’s PPP Loan, they left me hanging. I heard about the loan and its potential with my company, I applied immediately and tried to initiate contact with the bank. We were one of the first to apply yet missed funding on the first round. I was deeply disappointed and reached a very high level of stress.
I shared this with a group of entrepreneurs who are a part of a monthly round table group, and they recommended a small bank in Albertville, MN named Financial Security Bank. I reached out via email on a Friday and received a response from their vice president within a few hours. I also reached out to three other small banks within the Twin Cities.
We began our conversation by sharing about my company and what led us to contact his bank. I’d shared the negative experience I’d recently had with my large bank, and that I had friends who had banked with him and recommended I reach out. I had provided their names and companies with my friends’ advice. This gentleman was very considerate when hearing our story and said that he will help us to obtain the loan and sent over the required paperwork instantly. We stayed in contact the remainder of the afternoon and I felt confident with this relationship that the bank would have my company’s back. When I asked my number in the queue to submit to the SBA he said I would be moved to the front due to my relationship with their customers.
They confirmed on Sunday that everything was submitted and would continue providing updates as the application went through. The SBA opened financing on Monday, April 27th for the second round of financing. The portal experienced issues due to the overwhelming amount of applications, yet I had received additional communication from the bank sharing status updates, making sure to inform me all banks were having issues with the SBA portal.
At 7:00pm that same Monday, I received a message indicating that the funds had been allocated from the SBA. I was impressed by the service and the dedication my account had already received.
Financial Security Bank will be getting as many services as possible moving forward from me and my company. At this point, I have received additional correspondence from my large bank that they are still working on my SBA application. However, I am not holding my breath.
In times like this, and any stressful situation, we must over-communicate with our customers and ensure they feel valued with the services and communication they’re receiving.
Think of the last time you received good customer service, what were the elements?
Were there specific things someone said or did to indicate that put you at ease?