Ridgewood Savings Bank, located at 71-02 Forest Ave, recently renovated and expanded its call center, giving customers better access to its community bank.
In 2007, Ridgewood Savings Bank opened its unofficial contact center, but in 2016 the bank dedicated its staff entirely to answering customer calls. There are currently five customer service representatives working in the call center, with another 12 employees focusing on digital channels in the new space.
Senior Vice President and Director of Digital Channels Mirsada Tagani said the launch of the bank’s enhanced call center would triple its customer service capabilities.
“Our goal here is to answer the phone on the second ring,” Tagani said. “Ninety-five percent of our calls are answered on the second ring.”
The call center includes bilingual customer service representatives, all from the Ridgewood community. Representatives speak Italian, Serbian, Spanish, Romanian and many other languages. Languages that the local call center does not cover are transferred within the branch network throughout the city.
Leonard Stekol, president and CEO of Ridgewood Savings Bank, said the call center is critical to the bank’s success and serving its customers.
“It’s a wonderful opportunity to be able to stay in touch and serve customers,” Stekol said. “We have no shareholders, so this is our existence: customers, communities and employees. Every day our thinking is how can we improve our service, and one of the most important things was the customer call center. »
The call center receives approximately 12,000 calls per month. Representatives are available Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday, 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.
“Community banking means everything to us, and that’s what we’re here for,” Stekol said. “We are one of the few banks where we are still in the building where it all started. Being in the community and serving our customers – that’s what we live for, whether it’s giving back through product services, charities or programs.
Ridgewood Savings Bank employees do not take responsibility for community banking lightly. Every office at the Ridgewood location is filled with someone who cares about the area and those who reside there.
The bank has donated more than $29 million in Paycheck Protection Program loans to local businesses, helping to protect nearly 5,000 jobs last year. They also sponsor local events and teach financial literacy throughout the city.
The newly renovated call center decorations are personalized to the history of Ridgewood Savings Bank, including 100 years ago. In one corner are three generations of phones – a nod to the bank’s most useful tool for customer service in the last century.
The bank was founded in 1921 and is New York State’s largest savings bank, with $6 billion in assets. Ridgewood has 35 branches in New York as well as Yonkers, Westchester and Long Island.
Annemarie DeTommaso, head of digital channels for Ridgewood Savings Bank, said customers love the new contact center.
“They love that we’re patient and listen to them and take the time to help them, and we’re all part of the community as well,” DeTommaso said. “Customers get to know you. I have clients who call me back and ask me, which is really nice.