“Banking is not rocket science, but true customer service is an art form.”
Banking might seem like rocket science to some, but I couldn’t agree more with Ted Johnson, Senior Vice President at John Marshall Bank, that true customer service is an art form. Ted was just one of the members of the executive team I was fortunate enough to learn about and feature in this month’s business profile. Ted Johnson, Pam DeCandio, Charlie Collum, and Erik Dorn are who I would like to introduce to you as Alexandria’s premier banking dream team. This group, who has over 108 combined years of banking experience under their belt, is preparing for the grand opening of their Alexandria branch located at 700 South Washington Street in Old Town Alexandria, this November.
After getting to know the work philosophy of this group I can honestly say that I will be changing from my big-name bank to one where service excellence and customer experience is number one on the list. (And one where they don’t charge you for using your own money, and then forget to send you your new debit card. Can you tell I am bitter about that one?) If you are like me, and are sick of being sold the hot deal of the month when you are seeking real banking support, then read on because there is an alternative.
In preparation for the ribbon cutting ceremony at the Alexandria branch opening, I wanted to take some time to help you get to know who you will be working with, assuming you decide that you are ready to make the switch from the automated phone service to real customer service. Every member of this group has a unique story and work philosophy that they bring to the table. They also have a great deal in common. Namely, they love what they do, working with each other, and living and working in Alexandria.
Ted and Pam go back to their Virginia Commerce Bank days, where they competed against Erik and Charlie at Burke & Herbert. Charlie and Erik were born and raised in Alexandria and still call it home. With Pam living in Del Ray, and this team’s collective knowledge of the community, it is safe to say they know what we customers are looking for in a bank. They are working towards the same goals, and appreciate the same things we love about the great city of Alexandria. Determined and honored to stay involved in the community, they are constantly working on different events to benefit the area including an annual golf tournament to benefit charities and fundraising support to the Alexandria Police Foundation.
Determined to go above and beyond the call of duty to satisfy their customers, they are big believers in the “sundown rule” – return all calls and emails the same day even if the answer is that you are still working on a solution. In addition to the service, what sets John Marshall Bank apart from the rest is their ability to listen and get to know your needs. This group likes to pay-it-forward. (I wish I could say that was a clever banking pun.) Perhaps Pam said it best; ”I feel strongly that if I do my best to take care of people, they will feel comfortable giving me their business and referring their friends, family members and business associates. Many banks have strong sales cultures. What has worked best for me is taking care of people, recommending what’s best for their situation, and not selling them the product of the month.”
It is their priority to find a solution for you, even if it means you’ll find what you need at another bank. Because of this foundation of service built on honesty and trust, customers at John Marshall Bank are as loyal as they come. If you don’t want to take my word for it, just listen to word on the streets. Just recently, John Marshall Bank was reported in the Washington Business Journal to be among the top best-performing banks in the United States, ranking in at #27 in the country. Only one other bank in the area ranked in this elite group, a Bethesda-based bank that came in at #24. In addition, John Marshall Bank walked away with the Best Large Business Award at the Alexandria Chamber’s Business Award reception in October. Needless to say, they have some reasons to celebrate!
For those of you still looking to be convinced, I’ll sum it up. With the experience these four bankers bring to the table, there are very few challenges in the marketplace they have yet to experience. Most banks think that their competition is the challenge. Rather, because Pam, Erik, Charlie, and Ted are so involved in the Alexandria community and invested in their relationships, they have the luxury of letting the other banks focus on each other while they concentrate on the task at hand – serving their customers. Now this is a business model that makes sense to me.
So where is John Marshall Bank going to be in the future? In addition to the opening of their new Alexandria branch on South Washington Street, they will be continuing to grow into the premier community bank in the Washington Metropolitan region. Why? Their philosophy is service first, competitive products fairly-priced, and conservative lending to ensure the safety and soundness of their bank. After all, it’s not rocket science.
~ Written by: Elizabeth Jones