This is an ode to old-fashioned customer service! Regis Philbin and Kelly Rippa have been appearing in a series of television commercials touting the virtues of TD Bank. No monthly fees, debit cards and most of all personal service. Perhaps the commercial I’m referring to, doesn’t run in your part of the country and if so, the irony of the title may escape you. However, this blog post isn’t about TD Bank; No, it’s about my own personal banker.
Way back in the ’80′s I had occasion to open a joint savings account with my father at Superior Federal Bank in Arkansas. Yes, I know it sounds odd. Well. I had my reasons…. I lived in Connecticut then and for many years I had little to do with bank account – whatever money was in there was money I had put aside, not to touch. Years later, the bank was bought or merged with Arvest Bank and I moved to New York City.
Eventually, periodically I would transfer funds from that account to my bank in New York. It was quite a process actually. In order to get the money to New York, I had to dictate an extremely long and complicated litany of addresses, AB routing numbers , a beneficiary account and then for further credit to another account number . This was a lot to say on the telephone and not being a banker, I don’t really know what the process was on the end in Arkansas, but often when I called, the woman who answered the phone would tell me that she would get Ethel to assist me because Ethel knew what to do and I didn’t have to reiterate the litany to her; Ethel was my first personal banker at Arvest!
Every time I’d call the bank, I was warmly greeted with a cheery “Hello, Miss Lori”. Gosh, you’d think I was a regular local customer who came in every week to deposit my paycheck! Fast forward to the last couple of years; Ethel retired and at some point, Damon answered the phone when I called to facilitate a wire transfer.
Damon has that silky Southern drawl, not real deep-South, and not Arkansasese, just soft and pleasant. So here I am, Type A++ living in Type A Manhattan and on the other end of the phone is this relaxed voice exuding capability and assuring me all would be handled asap. And true to his word, Damon got the wire transfer out and followed up with a phone call to let me know it went through.
Now, don’t you find that amazing? I mean, really…have you ever tried to get a live person at Chase Manhattan? Ha, ha, ha, and you can add Bank of America, Citi Bank and every other mega financial institution around here to that impersonal personal service. I CAN pick up the phone and call my banker, in fact, I can also email him and get a reply! I think that IS JUST FANTASTIC! And he always inquires “How are you today, Miss Lori?” Sometimes we chat about the differences in the weather between Arkansas and New York.
I called one day and was told Damon no longer worked at that branch YIKES panic strikes! Oh! He was now in an Oklahoma branch, BUT he would still be able to take care of business for me. The next time he transferred, he let me know where he would be and sent me pre-addressed envelopes with Attention to his name so my deposits would be personally handled by him!! NOW I CALL THAT PERSONAL SERVICE!
So there it is, my ode, my homage to REAL CUSTOMER SERVICE and Damon, the best personal banker you could have! Thanks Damon!!
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