Adventures in Dining

By Susan C. Bogardus

Desserts from The National in Athens, GA – One of Susan’s Favorite
Restaurants that She Often Frequents

I think if you look up the definition of a “high maintenance diner” in the dictionary you will probably find my picture. I am not a picky eater, although some friends and family might disagree with that statement; I just happen to be a vegetarian that has food allergies. I usually explain this early on when dining at a new place and I have found that this typically helps make my interactions during dining more pleasant.
Since this is the case, I have had quite a few adventures in dining. The experiences range from the very pleasant, “how can we serve you,” to the, “we can’t do that,” responses. Needless to say, restaurants with the former response are the ones that I frequent more often. While restaurants are usually very careful with the allergies, it tends to be the meat thing that trips them up. On more than one occasion there has been meat lurking in my meal. When this happens, you definitely see the customer service training for that particular restaurant revealed. Most of the time the situation is resolved quite pleasantly and does not discourage me from returning for another meal, although sometimes this is not the case.
When I think about my dining experiences and how my requests are handled, I am reminded of our Core Convictions at First American Bank & Trust: Vision, Heart, Wisdom, Balance and Support. While all of these could apply in the dining analogy, I think that our definition of “Heart” actually works best in these situations. Part of our belief is that we should care about the people we serve, show compassion, and do the little things that make a big difference.
Just like an owner, chef, or server that takes the time to come to the table with a genuine “how can we make your dining experience memorable” attitude, we strive to do that for our customers at First American. Sometimes it is the little things that make a big difference to people. I have had customers comment on how great it is to be called by name when they come into the bank lobby because it makes them feel welcome here. My dog-loving customers enjoy that we have treats waiting for their furry friends at the teller line and in the drive-thru. Another comment that I often hear, with surprise in the customer’s voice, is that our main phone line is actually answered by a real, live person sitting in Athens, Georgia!
These may seem like small things, but it is the many minute details that add up to a great experience. We work hard to incorporate all of our Core Convictions into your interactions with us at First American Bank & Trust, and we look forward to serving you with Vision, Heart, Wisdom, Balance and Support.


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Susan C. Bogardus is a First Vice President and Commercial Lender at First American Bank & Trust (NMLS ID #: 440165). She has been in banking for 30 years in Athens. Susan is very involved in the community and serves on the board of Athens Area Habitat for Humanity, the Housing and Demographic Research Center and is a member of Athens Area Home Builders Association.

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