Banker’s Father: Customer Service Role Model

Not everyone learns customer service from a business school, a book, or a seminar. Watch this video, and listen to how Harold Westbrook–Senior Vice President of Community Service, United Community Bank, Gainesville, Georgia–benefited from what his father showed him about serving customers.

[flvplugin flv= player= buffer= autoplay=false loop=false border=true preload=true infobutton=false redirect=]

Some of the major points Harold mentioned:

1. Customers become friends when we treat them well.

2. Rule number one of Customer Service: Give customers more than they expect.

3. United Community Bank lives by the motto, “The Bank That Service Built.”

4. Banks differ very little numerically. All of them will quote about the same rates for loans, safety deposit boxes, and related items. The distinguishing factor between banks is their varying levels of service.

For example: At his bank, Harold and other officers will visit elderly couples in their homes, and complete bank transactions there–showing extra concern for those too immobile to drive to the bank building.

5. When talking with customers, become a keen listener. Politely probe, using questions to discover other needs not yet mentioned.

CONCLUSION: The thousands of customers who have relied on Harold Westbrook for their banking can be grateful that his father taught him these vital customer service principles.

NEXT STEP: U.S. residents can order my audio CD, “How to Give Magnificent Customer Care!” Go to my online store to place your order:

Pat Seidel–Perfect Your Presentation


All of us enjoy connecting with professional colleagues who offer the same services we do. We identify with them easily, and hope to learn from their “best practices.” That’s why I was glad to conduct a phone interview recently with Pat Seidel, who heads Pat Seidel Training and consulting, LLC, based in Brooklyn, Wisconsin.

Pat’s interest in speaking came from her mother, a high school English teacher, who entered her children in speaking contests—after coaching them and having them rehearse in her kitchen. Pat’s mother even wrote the speeches they gave in competitions. As Pat sees it, that early speech training at home “was the greatest gift my mom gave me.”

Early in life, Pat knew she wanted to become a speech coach and trainer. After a career with Alliant Energy, she formed her own consulting firm in 2005.

Pat directs sessions for organizations at their site. The first day has participants working in small groups, focusing on the craft of speaking.

The second day, participants give presentations. Pat provides written evaluation, along with private consultation in the hallway. During the consultation, she asks questions like “How did you feel?” “What did you do well?” “What do you want to improve?”

She teaches aspiring speakers to answer three questions:

1- What is the purpose of my speech?

2- What action do I want audience members to take?

3- What benefits will the audience get?

She doesn’t expect instant miracles, since “improvement comes in small steps.” Even so, she has opportunities to see speakers become more poised and persuasive.

Pat recalls vividly a participant with a technical background who took her seminar twice. After applying the lessons from the first go-round, he demonstrated remarkable improvement.

What’s the biggest fault she notices in speakers? “Trying to cram too much into a small amount of time.” A classic case: She attended a large event where the main speaker displayed 135 slides for a one hour speech. He cluttered some of his slides with 40 to 60 words. Smothered by that information overflow, Pat is unable to remember the speaker’s theme or goal.

By contrast, Pat will conduct an entire training day with no more than 35 Power Point slides.

Clearly, Pat was fortunate to find her vocation early in life, under her mother’s guidance. As a result, many organizations and individuals have enriched their communication skills.

Check Pat Seidel’s Web site, where you’ll find her contact information and learn more about her program, titled “Perfect Your Presentation.” Here’s the link:

NOTE: Pat could be the ideal speech trainer for your company. Contact her describe whatyou want to achieve.