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Author: The BCW

Service Sector Experts Discuss Customer Experience and Expectations

Tompkins Community Bank’ Power Breakfast on Tuesday welcomed experts from the local service sector to discuss how they elevate their customers’ experience and increase their expectations.

Panelists included Gene Christian Baca, co-owner of Walters Hot Dogs; Colleen Borrelli, vice president of patient experience at Burke Rehabilitation; Terry McAneney, general manager at the Westchester Marriott; Carmelo Milio, partner at The Taco Project; Kristen O’Keeffe, AVP, Community Banking Officer at Tompkins Community Bank; and David Zeman, chief strategy officer at ENT and Allergy Associates, LLP.

BCW President and CEO Marsha Gordon hosted the webinar, and she noted that the consumer experience is the key differentiator among competing businesses.

“In more recent years there are different ways to serve customers, so it’s never been more important to put your customers first across all touchpoints,” said Gordon.

Baca said Walter’s Hot Dogs’ superpower is its five generations of proudly serving customers, which inspires the staff.

“When they see that from the top down…they understand the culture. They understand what’s expected of them, what we are as a business, the importance of our community and being a business in the community,” said Baca.

Borrelli said Burke elevated the patient experience at Burke by building a first-of-its-kind caregiver center in a rehab facility.

“We really tried to think about the needs of caregivers,” said Borrelli, who noted that Burke built workstations with land lines, charging stations and conference rooms where caregivers can have private meetings. “You can just set up camp at one of these desktops and run your business, so that takes away at least one piece of the stress of being a caregiver.”

McAneney said his challenge at the Westchester Marriott was to avoid stagnation and reposition the hotel through a $40 million renovation that responds to guest feedback about rooms, wi-fi, meeting spaces, bars, and exterior signage.

“We heard the customers say we don’t want tubs anymore, we want to walk into a shower, so 75 percent of our rooms will now be showers. We’re putting in a garden in the front of the hotel where people can have a glass of wine,” said McAneney, who noted that his staff is loyal with a turnover rate of less than 3 percent.

Milio said companies of all sizes must master the core functions of customer service.

“Be consistent with what you give customers. Also, communication. It doesn’t matter what industry you’re in, sometimes things don’t go well, that’s just how it is. If you’re consistent with your communication and you treat your customers right, you tend to be able to come out on top,” said Milio.

O’Keeffe said the Tompkins customizes the customer experience by training staff to handle all aspects of consumer banking to minimize passing customers from one staffer to another.

“Our goal is to find a solution for our clients without having to speak to (several) of our team members,” said O’Keeffe, who also stressed communication. “Our staff makes relationship calls to our clients. We’re seeing that not as many people have the need to come into the branches, so we are making calls to them.”

Zeman said that his company relies heavily on capturing feedback from patients through surveys.

“For every patient that sees a doctor, they’re going to receive a prompt to complete a survey a few hours after that visit,” said Zeman. “We want to get that experience shared in as close to real time as possible. The key is to not only gather the data, but then to take action on the data.”

A video of the webinar is posted on the BCW’s Facebook page.

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