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The Eastern Way: Make a great impression


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The Eastern Way: Make a great impression

Jennifer Whitney was recently hired as the new national business manager at Eastern Funding, and she is in charge of new loan originations for individuals working in self-service laundry.

Whitney previously held a position at Alliance Laundry Systems, acting as their financial services manager. She has approximately 15 years of experience in the industry focusing on commercial lending. Additionally, she also has a wealth of knowledge in transaction analysis for laundromats, as well as dealing with customers. She has helped improve the already strong lending and financing knowledge at our company.

Make a great impression: Make every customer interaction stand out for its friendliness, warmth and helpfulness. Be a fanatic about response time and keep customers updated on the status of their issues.

As I was in line to board a plane a few weeks ago, I was admiring the coat that the woman in front of me was wearing, and I was making a mental note of some of the details for future shopping trips. We entered the plane, and the flight attendant complimented the woman as she greeted her, saying “Welcome aboard. I really like your coat.” Of course, I was next in line, and her greeting to me was, “Hi. Sorry, but I don’t like your coat as much.”

Once I picked my ego up off the floor and made my way to my seat, I kept watching her as she greeted others. Her approach to the majority of her customers was in the same joking and sarcastic manner as she had with me. She didn’t know where they came from, if they were traveling for business or pleasure, or if they liked to be greeted with humor or a simple hello. She did what was comfortable for her.

In our day-to-day lives, we work with dealers and business owners across the U.S. with different personalities and levels of financial strength and business savvy. Just like our laundromat deals, our customers are not “cookie cutter.” They all have a story, and it may take more effort or a different approach with some customer to get that story.

Making a great impression with our customers means that you need to:

  • Know your audience and tailor your conversation
  • Be a good listener and be engaged
  • Be comprehensive and specific when requesting information
  • Know your backlog so you are prepared to respond to inquiries
  • Set realistic deadlines and meet them
  • Be the leader of communication among all parties

Unfortunately, in the credit business, we are only as good as our last approval or problem-free funding. We have to be on top of our game even when unforeseen things happen along the way. What matters most to a customer is that you manage what is in your control and don’t make excuses for what is not.

Believe it or not, how you respond during or after a negative situation can leave a more lasting memory than the negative situation itself.

Although I will never forget the infamous coat comment, I also will not forget how she joked around with people in the exit row and made exaggerated facial expressions during the standard pre-takeoff dialogue to create a more fun and relaxed atmosphere. She provided very good customer service to me during snack and beverage time even though I tripped her as she was walking by (just kidding on the tripping part. I liked the other woman’s coat better than mine, too).

It’s very easy to refer to our customers by their App # or FICO score or Net Worth, but they are real people, dealing with real money, and they want to know that their lender is a resource – not an obstacle in the process. We may not be able to get every deal done or completely eliminate bottlenecks, but if they pick up the phone to call us about their next project, then we have made a great lasting impression.

Enjoy the rest of your week!