Feature photo: Elisha Ferguson shows off her cartography skills.
We all know the feeling. It’s been a long day at work. You want everything else to go smoothly. And then you drop your phone and the screen breaks. Or you get a flat tire. Or your ice cream scoop falls off the cone.
This was the case for Tom*, a customer at Choice Financial in Grand Forks. He had the misfortune of experiencing multiple difficulties with an ATM. This particular ATM is situated on South Washington, and in the winter, it takes a direct beating from the wind and snow. On particularly cold and blustery days, this ATM may go into hibernation.
Elisha Ferguson (Universal Banker) and Joe Demester (Retail Team Lead) at Choice Financial in Grand Forks, know it well. They are the ones who have the fortune of venturing out into the cold to get the ATM up and running again. Unfortunately, Tom has had to be the ATM “bearer of bad news” one frigid day.
“He came in and he was so frustrated,” Elisha says. “We helped him get what he needed, had a nice conversation. He left with a smile.”
“Even though he left happy, it was an inconvenience for our customer, and we never want that to be an issue,” she said. “We wanted him to know that we value his time and empathize with his frustration.”
“We wanted him to know that we value his time and empathize with his frustration.”
She wrote a handwritten card to Tom and paired it with a gift card to Erbert’s and Gerbert’s. “Grab yourself a sandwich, on us,” she wrote.
Then, she had an idea. She wanted to make sure Tom knew about their MoneyPass system, which allows customers to withdraw money fee-free from a variety of ATMs that are part of a local cooperative of banks — not just Choice Financial ATMs. Her hunch was that Tom only went to the South Washington ATM so as not to incur fees.
The Choice Financial mobile banking app shows where each ATM is located, but Tom did not use the mobile app. He preferred tangible, hard copy means of communication. Elisha knew what to do. She grabbed a pen and paper and began to draw. Using a 4 block radius close to where Tom works, she drew out each of the ATMs that he could easily use.
We’d like to say she burnt the edges and coffee-stained the map, using X’s to mark where he can retrieve his treasure from each of the ATMs— but she decided to keep it simple for the customer. In retrospect, she admitted, “Shoot, I feel like I missed an opportunity.” With the map drawn out, she tucked it in with the gift card and handwritten note and sent it to Tom that day.
“It hits that core value of ‘Commit to your customers with undivided attention,” says her co-worker Joe Demester. “She does a very good job putting herself in the shoes of the customer.”
As for Elisha, the core value she lives by both personally and professionally is “Work hard, do the right thing, and have a little fun.”
“It’s important to work hard but be playful, too. To have moments where you are hand drawing a map and sending it out,” she says with a laugh. “It sends a message to your customer that lets them know you’re taking that extra time — that you care.”
*Name changed to respect customer privacy.