Spend the day at the Customer Resource Center at PBI Bank, and you’ll discover an incredibly passionate, dedicated, and well-rounded dream team. That dream team has taken not only customer satisfaction, but also office culture, to a refreshing, new level.
“Everyone is an absolute pleasure to work with and I’m honored to be leading this team,” Jeremy Parkerson, Customer Resource Manager says referring to his current team of ten.
PBI Bank, the community-focused financial institution, redefines the banking experience by fostering deeply personal customer relationships while helping those customers achieve their goals. In 2014, after recognizing the need to alleviate pressure on the local branches, Parkerson initiated a search to create the Customer Resource Center team at the PBI Bank headquarters in Louisville, Ky.
In the beginning however, he quickly realized the department had one major obstacle to overcome: Some customers in smaller towns did not want to do business over a phone with people they didn’t know. So Parkerson set out to build a team of trustworthy, relatable people with smiles “you could see, even over the phone.”
Fast-forward to present day and Parkerson is all smiles as he walks through the hallways of the headquarters. Parkerson’s personality is crucial in defining the energizing office culture, and his management skills allow him to align the team with the company’s mission.
“If you have a happy employee, that employee is going to take care of the customer,” says Parkerson. “It’s important to not only bring in the right people with the right attitude, but to meet with them on a regular basis, listen to them, make sure they know that they are appreciated. They are just going to work harder to deliver great customer experiences.”
Not only are the once-skeptical customers satisfied with the provided services, but every employee feels supported, respected, and just plain happy to be in this position. Genia Cosgrove, CRC Lead and also Parkerson’s right-hand, greatly contributes to the culture and environment with her warm spirit.
“I consider myself the cheerleader of the team,” says Cosgrove with a grin.
Along with her bank operations responsibilities, Cosgrove, who has been with the team the longest, describes her most important role as making sure the team stays motivated: recognizing their accomplishments and providing help at any given moment. She believes in each team member and expresses passion for the fact that the department reflects more of a customer/branch support group rather than a typical call center.
“We’re not selling them anything, getting them to sign up for anything. We don’t have any sales numbers that we have to hit. The only numbers we have to hit are for customer satisfaction,” says Cosgrove.
Indeed, even when call center employees are monitored, they are “graded” only in terms of quality, not quantity. Some of the areas they are assessed by are “Did the customer receive all your attention?” and “Were friendly and professional manners used on the call?” No one is being timed for number of calls completed in a specific amount of time, as it is with other call centers.
Sunlight floods into the not-so-typical call center from the abundance of windows overlooking an open field of grass and trees. Employees connect with customers over the phone, kindly solving their problems and following up on how their family members are doing. Customer favorite, Jim Reed, is no exception. He builds deep and personal relationships with his customers. Known as the “big cut up” of the office, Reed thrives in the environment he describes as ideal and supportive.
“Even if you had a bad day, there’s always somebody here that can change that around,” says Reed.
Cosgrove affirms that statement. “We’re like a family. We have the best team that I have ever worked with right now,” she says.
Incentives, team-bonding activities, birthday celebrations, and friendly competitions all take place at the PBI Bank headquarters, especially in the Customer Resource Center department. Some of the activities can be quite creative. Last Derby, Parkerson had to wear a gaudy hat around the office all day after a hat decorating contest gone wrong – or in the employee’s case, oh so right. This is just one example of the fun and festive events that take place in the department, thanks to the leadership of Parkerson.
“That team in there works hard every single day. They have great attitudes, work really well together, and I think a large part of that is because I understand that having fun is necessary.”
Today, the Customer Resource Center team has fulfilled the expectations Parkerson envisioned in the beginning. The healthy work environment, an empowering culture and work/life balance has paid off for PBI Bank employees, and just as importantly, for the customers. The result – a better quality of life all around.
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