A Laudable Experience with Philippine Savings Bank…a lesson on virtues

A Laudable Experience

With Philippine Savings Bank

…a lesson on virtues

By Apolinario Villalobos

This is not a paid advertisement. My interest in the bank is limited in my meager savings with one of its branches. This share concerns how customers should be treated professionally and with compassion.

On November 19, 2014 at about two in the afternoon, I went to the bank’s branch in Imus beside Mercury Drugs and Iglesia ni Kristo to lodge a complaint about a notice that I received from their Internal Audit Group. My wait was worth the very warm and highly professional attention that I got from the Bank Officer Joram C. Villanueva and his colleauges, Catherine Bautista and Ivy Marcial. After listening to my story, Mr. Villanueva immediately sent a report to the Head Office, explaining to me the expected actions that the concerned office should do. Most importantly, I was made to expect a call from the Head Office about the matter which I took for granted as I presumed that my case was an isolated and petty one. I even presumed that for sure, it would take days before something could be done about my complaint. I was wrong.

The following day, at the moment the PSB-Imus opened, I again conferred with Mr. Villanueva and asked him to fax a formal “complaint” to the head office in addition to the report that he already sent the day before, and which he did right away. Despite what I was told about the expected action from their end, by Mr. Villanueva, I still left a reminder about my own expectation based on my just faxed letter.

When arrived home at about noontime, the messenger of the courier service agency, and who was part of my complaint arrived and after some enlightening exchange of explanations, the misunderstanding was patched up. All the while, the complaint handling machinery of PSB had been burning cellphone airwaves in calling concerned parties to gather information that will give light to what I have filed. I realized this when, in just a few minutes after the messenger of the courier service agency left, Ms. Royce Bagamaspad, of the Service Quality Department called me up. After formally introducing herself, she said, “I am sorry, sir”.

The “I am sorry, sir” that came out from the lips of Ms. Bagamaspad touched me, practically drenching me with cold water, that dissipated my dissatisfaction and irritability felt the day before. Her approach was such that she “personally” assumed whatever fault there was in their service, while at the same time, talking with sincerity as an employee of the bank. She listened to my story and gave me all the opportunities to bring out suggestions which I did. At the end, it was I who became apologetic for being rude while talking to their Customer Service representative the day before.

While I was talking to Ms. Bagamaspad, the Imus branch Bank Officer, Mr. Joram Villanueva, was on the other hand, trying to get in touch with me to inform about the email of the courier service agency on the same matter. He failed to talk to me as I was burning my line talking with Ms. Bagamaspad. Mr. Villanueva, instead sent me a text message to ask for anything that I would like to relay to the courier agency. I replied that there’s no more problem with the agency’s messenger who came back to apologize. Just like his colleagues at the Head Office, Mr. Villanueva was also monitoring the flow of communications at his end. I emphasized, though, that I did not want the messenger suspended or fired.

A few more minutes after sending my reply to the text message of Mr. Villanueva, my cellphone again rang and this time, Ms. Lina Arambulo, of the Internal Audit Group was on the line. She was again very apologetic after introducing herself to me. She told me that they are doing everything to satisfy my request which was part of the complaint that I lodged. After talking to Ms. Arambulo, I was relieved to realize that my small fund is in the good hands of hardworking and diligent bankers.

A little later, Ms. Bagamaspad called again to inform about some details to further soothe my feelings. It was only when I asked her to bide her time, did I know that she was about to take her late lunch…and it was almost three in the afternoon! Obviously, she failed to take her lunch on time as a result of her determination in coordinating with parties concerned as regards my case… an admirable extra mile of effort, indeed.

My point here is, nowadays when the world is practically polluted with brashness, it is very difficult for us to steadfastly maintain our composure while exerting much effort in upholding whatever virtues we still have in our person. It is very difficult for us to maintain a sweet smile in front of somebody with a frown and whose boiling temper shows in his flushed face. It is not easy to sound nice or maintain a “smiling voice” over the phone while talking to an irate person whose sentences are punctuated with unsavory ranting. It is very difficult for us to remain cool, while listening to somebody who just wanted to be heard by all means. Still, we may waver in our effort to show compassion for others, much more strangers, while enduring wiggling knees and grumbling guts due to the onset of hunger.

In whatever situation, the patience, temperance, compassion and any other virtues are spelled the same. The difference is in the way they are expressed. And, my experience at the hands of Mr. Joram Villanueva, Ms. Ivy Marcial, Ms. Catherine Bautista, Ms. Royce Bagamaspad, and Ms. Lina Arambulo, will never be forgotten. Since I consider my life as a journey of continuous learning, the PSBankers I mentioned have become part of it, for having left a deep impression of something to be learned about virtues that they have humbly manifested.

With the adage that “the customer is always right”, comes the fact that it is only during instances of this assertion that the golden attitude of employees with strong virtues sparkle.

My advice then is, let us be generous with appreciation to those who go an extra mile in their effort to please us. The appreciation can strengthen and inspire them more in their effort to have a share in sustaining civility in this world.