Has customer service suffered during the pandemic?

By Susan Mauer, Tampa Bay president, Axiom Bank

We are in unprecedented times with how consumers interact with businesses. During 2020, many businesses and offices were required to shut down for an extended time. This forced most businesses to rethink how to serve their customers so as not to lose them to mega online providers. Businesses had to rethink how to deliver the same level of customer service to each person without the normal face to face interactions that provided the same opportunity to deliver a ‘high touch’ level of service without being able to use the positive body language that assisted us all in the sales process. For the most part, many businesses were able to create customer-friendly, safe environments and make those adjustments.

Businesses discovered that they valued the freedom of meeting new people, not to mention the personal interaction with our customers. But as the year went on, more meetings were handled on the phone as opposed to a quick email, or text, that would have sufficed before. Meetings were quickly adapted virtually through our cameras on the computers. Which of course, before now, we had no idea our computers had one.

The basics of interpersonal communication became important as we learned that smiling while talking on the phone does make a difference to the person on the other end. And we could make “eye contact” by looking at the camera on our computers. We became better listeners, listening to the needs of our clients.  Restating what we thought we just heard back to our clients to make sure we understood what was said.

Banking was not much different. With the inability to meet with the clients, or prospects, face to face, we had to be more accessible in more ways than the traditional bank offices. With our long-tenured group of bankers, we became proactive in contacting our clients before they knew they needed us.  We informed them that we were standing by them when they needed us. We extended that service to the new, prospective clients that were looking for quick answers, and quicker service, to their questions on the status of their PPP applications.  As well as the assurance that they could always get a hold of us, whatever the financial need, or question, was. We treated them like we wanted to be treated ourselves. Giving each one of them “best in class service” was not determined by the pandemic.  In fact, the pandemic did not affect the good client service that we have always given, it just made us better. Making sure that each client feels they are the only client that we have is what we do. Our clients want a relationship with their bank and we love giving them what they want.

Susan Maurer is the Tampa Bay Market President for Axiom Bank. At Axiom, we pride ourselves in our concierge service levels; we bring banking to you. From cutting-edge deposit and mobile products to a commercial suite of lending services designed for businesses of all sizes and in all stages of company life cycles, Axiom is all about maximizing your potential.  By providing high-touch value and convenience to our consumer and business clients alike, we live up to our tagline: We Make Life Easier.

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