Insights on Building Exceptional Long-Term Client Relationships
By Christopher J. Carroll, Management Associate, Citibank N.A. Mortgage Banking May 23, 2014 10:03 AM
To celebrate the Citi Foundation's Pathways to Progress, Christopher Carroll (Management Associate, Citibank N.A. Mortgage Banking) shares insights from his first job.
At the age of 12, I took my first job as an intern at a small community bank in Phoenix, Arizona that catered to cattle ranchers and miners. The branch manager, Mr. B, and his colleagues volunteered at my middle school as part of the Junior Achievement program, and their passion for financial literacy and self-empowerment inspired me to pursue a career in the financial services industry.
As an intern, I worked full-time during the summer and part-time during the school year. My responsibilities included greeting customers, assisting with notaries, facsimiles and basic account inquires, and shadowing loan officers on ranch visits to "count the cows" during collateral assessments.
Every day, I was surrounded by colleagues who mentored me and encouraged my professional development, as well as customers who dispensed nuggets of information - they were always delighted to see a "mini banker" in the branch and on the ranch. Of everyone I worked with, the individual who had the greatest impact on me was the branch manager, Mr. B, who I considered my mentor.
Mr. B was a hard working cattle rancher turned banker who would walk customers to the teller line, greeting them by name and remembering key aspects of their lives such as anniversaries, graduations and birthdays. He respected customers and had an uncanny ability to anticipate their needs and inspire employees to deliver exceptional service.
One of the most impactful lessons Mr. B taught me is the importance of creating long-term, mutually beneficial relationships with customers. Throughout my career, I have kept this in mind as I worked to develop and execute customer-focused strategies and to empower and motivate employees to deliver unparalleled customer experiences.
As a Management Associate working for the CitiMortgage Franchise Management organization, I lead strategic process improvement initiatives with the goal of driving customer loyalty and fostering long-term relationships. When brainstorming new products, I implore my colleagues to ask themselves whether the product or service is adding value for our customers, and if not, how we can improve it on their behalf.
It is my belief that in this competitive marketplace the firms that best deliver for their customers are the ones that succeed. While I learned this lesson working at a small bank in Arizona, I have found that these concepts are applicable globally across all markets and industries.