Joe Demester standing outside Choice Financial in Grand Forks

Breaking the Norm

Posted November 2 2017 in #PeopleFirst

It was a rainy morning in Grand Forks, and a particularly busy day at the Choice Financial drive-thru. Joe Demester, Universal Banker, was doing his best to keep the three drive-thru lanes running smoothly when he got an unusual request.

“Hi, can I open a new savings account?”

It was a Choice Financial customer named Dru. He’s a quiet guy, mid 30’s, who worked at a restaurant nearby.

Joe was caught off guard. Normally, drive-thru customers are depositing checks or withdrawing money. Setting up an account takes time and paperwork.

“They’re not as quick as a 20-second transaction,” Joe said.

Nevertheless, he was happy to help.

“Sure,” he said. “I’ll just need you to come in and sign a few papers.”

Dru was hesitant.

“I can’t really do that,” Dru explained. “I have a broken leg.”

Joe thought fast. The line in the drive-thru was growing, the rain was pouring, and this customer was in a predicament. But he wanted to make this work.

“Pull into the parking lot,” Joe said. “I’ll come to you.”

“I can’t really do that,” Dru explained. “I have a broken leg.”

Dru pulled around in front of the bank while Joe quickly printed the paperwork and got everything ready in a matter of minutes. He stacked the papers in a blue folder and tried to cover it with his coat before running through the rain to the customer’s window.

Joe’s fellow teammate, Lysette Lopez, was impressed by Joe’s dedication to the customer.

“A lot of other banks might have said, ‘Sorry, you have to make an appointment and meet with us,’” she said. “But Joe went out of his way to make it work.”

‘Put yourself in someone else’s shoes’ is an oft-used phrase, yet this was the motivation behind Joe’s actions.

“If I were in a cast, every single day would be a hassle,” he said. “I think he really appreciated the extra help.”

“I want to make every customer’s day, every time,” he said.

With a little flexibility, Joe was able to quickly get Dru a savings account. Dru, a quiet guy, had a big smile on his face, and thanked Joe for making it work.

It’s about knowing when to ask for help and when to offer help Joe said, referencing a Choice core value.

“It was one of those times that I knew I needed to offer help. He was in a cast; he had crutches. He needed my assistance more than I needed him to come inside,” Joe said.

The dedication to service is true at Choice, on crutches or not. Lysette sees it in Joe every day they work together. For Joe, it’s about putting People First.

“I want to make every customer’s day, every time,” he said.

Thanks for being a People First Paragon, Joe!

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