Even one or two poor online reviews can be detrimental to a 21st-century business, and few know this better than our client, All America Bank. However, the company has developed a stellar reputation for customer service, which sets them apart from the competition. A family business founded in 1943, they have had to adjust to the evolving landscape of digitized financial services.
“Having been in banking all our lives, we know how to create cutting-edge services for customers: state-of-the-art online banking tools, a call center where our customers speak with an actual person (not an automated robot), and a navigable, elegant website,” says All America Bank’s Chief Operations Officer Shawn Huckabay Braden, granddaughter of founder T.C. Huckabay.
“However, in banking the products do tend to be very similar from financial institution to financial institution. That becomes pretty clear to consumers when they are weighing their options about who to bank with. So it is crucial that we set ourselves apart from other institutions through exceptional customer service.”
By investing in ServiceSkills, they’ve done just that. Four years ago, All America Bank was undergoing a merger of three community banks across southwest Oklahoma. They soon discovered a need for a cohesive customer service training program that would unify their 100+ employees across all branches. The merger led to a shift in the internal business culture, and it soon became clear that creating effective relationships between employees would be vital to the company’s success.
“We wanted to create a new company culture, as many job descriptions changed,” says Braden. “Different employees began handling new responsibilities, which resulted in some frustration in their new roles. We recognized that these changes would impact the level of customer service we were able to provide, and how we handled our internal strategy would be just as important as our customer-facing strategy.”
All America Bank had never implemented extensive customer service training before, and were ready for an overhaul. Through the ServiceSkills training program, comprised of digestible online modules for employees to review, they were able to train their managers and staff on improving internal employee relations as well as client-facing customer service. This had an immensely positive impact on the clients’ experience with All America Bank branches, in-person and over the phone.
With a company culture built on clear employee expectations and protocols, the merger has gone successfully and the company continues to out-perform their competition.
The Discovery and Rollout Process
When All America Bank discovered the need for a customer service training program, they found ServiceSkills through a simple Google search and requested a demo. Impressed with the content, Braden and her team greenlit the rollout of the training program to all of their employees. “We’ve been absolutely thrilled with it,” she says.
One element that really sets ServiceSkills apart, she notes, is how the online platform allows managers to assign tasks and modules to employees. Administrators can track employees’ progress and quickly onboard new hires. Although the initial rollout was done three years ago, All America Bank still conducts training meetings at their branches every Friday. C-suite on down, all employees watch the ServiceSkills training module videos and discuss them. Then they take the comprehension and retention tests to keep their skills fresh.
The company made use of the 150 online courses we offer that cover a wide variety of business-related topics, such as: workplace respect, team building, email etiquette, conflict resolution, diversity, harassment, bullying, mentoring and more.
Continued Skills Training
While All America Bank is keen on hiring employees who have a natural aptitude for strong customer service, Braden says they weren’t always sure how to handle common issues that arise on a day-to-day basis before ServiceSkills training.
“Lorrie Carrow, All America Bank’s Vice President of Customer Service, agrees. “We love the convenience of being able to log in from anywhere to complete courses,” she adds. “As an administrator, it is also incredibly helpful to track our employees’ progress. The material not only helped our employees learn how to work effectively with our customers, but also each other. And whenever I have a question I get an instant, informative response from the ServiceSkills team.”
“One of the most helpful tools for us has been the module that walks employees through customer service issues that come up throughout the day: how to diffuse a situation with an irate customer, how to take ownership of a problem rather than passing the buck—things like that. Once our employees were clear on what to do, it was much easier for them,” she says.
Both Carrow and Braden also note some smaller touches of the ServiceSkills training that make a big difference—like the reminder cards that come with the program, and the in-person customer service training sessions.
Once the ServiceSkills training was introduced, there was a complete shift in the company’s culture. Employees were able to accept the changes brought about by the merger much more easily, which positively impacted the level of customer service clients received.
“Those internal frustrations they were having are completely gone,” says Braden. “Everyone is on the same page. Employees are really friendly with one another throughout the entire organization, and they know each other much better. Overall, we have developed a great reputation for customer service.”
A quick glance at All America Bank’s Facebook page and online reviews confirms this. Their feed is full of comments from happy customers, who specifically comment positively about the bank’s customer service:
While All America Bank is based in Oklahoma, they have accounts open in all 50 states and the Virgin Islands.
“The fact that we’re able to provide solid customer service to such a geographically diverse range of people is a real feather in our cap,” says Braden.
WOULD SHE RECOMMEND SERVICESKILLS TO A FELLOW BUSINESS OWNER?
“Absolutely. And it is so, so important. I know for a fact that we wouldn’t exist if we didn’t provide good customer service, and that has definitely been helped by incorporating ServiceSkills into our business model.”