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Get to Know VOICE, Our Virtual Office

Our People

We’d like to introduce you to our virtual office. Also known as VOICE, this team is part of the heartbeat of our bank. They are who you reach when you call Southern First, chat with us online, or open an account through our website. They are not a call center or a third party. They are experienced Southern First bankers who are dedicated to serving you. Read on to get to know the faces behind the phone and the keyboard a bit better.

Our VOICE team can handle almost anything for our clients remotely. Instead of being transferred to another department or location, they see nearly all the calls and requests they receive through to completion. Client Experience Officer, Valentina Gonzalez, explains, “We deal with online banking, business online banking, opening and closing accounts, bill pay, and basically everything except teller transactions - all through live chat, video chat, emails, and phone calls.”

Client Experience Officer, Rebekah Roe, adds, “We are really able to help a client from start to finish. Especially for clients who don’t feel comfortable coming into the office right now or who are busy and have a lot going on, they are able to pick up the phone and talk to us instead.” This also helps to free up time for bankers in the offices. Roe says, “When you do come into a Southern First office, the bankers there can focus on you without being distracted by emails or calls since we’re handling that remotely.”

VOICE Coordinator, Paris Wright enjoys being able to touch clients in all eight markets Southern First serves and showing each one of them that he truly cares. “To me, relationship banking means if you come in face-to-face, if you call in, or speak to someone via live chat or email, you’re getting the same level of service no matter which avenue you go into,” says Wright.

From banking on the go to answering financial questions big or small, our team is here to support the way you bank, and thanks to VOICE, clients can take care of their banking needs from anywhere. Shoundel Pinckney, Client Experience Officer, shares, “If a client is on vacation and have a need, they can call us and know we’ll make it happen. We get a lot of comments about how great it is that we can help, and they don’t have to come into the office. I love that part of it because I can see the difference and so much stress being taken off the client.” Gonzalez adds, “Clients are surprised at what we can do, and we make it easy. A lot of calls are less than five minutes.”

Kim Macklanburg, Director of Retail Operations and Senior Vice President, oversees the VOICE team and often hears clients express their surprise and pleasure with the service they receive. She says, “We get lots of compliments on what they can handle and the ease with which they can handle things. They are also often our first line of defense when it comes to fraud. They are doing the screening and asking the right questions over the phone and the website to keep our clients safe.”

Client Experience Officer, Autria White, came to Southern First with previous experience working in a call center. She says that working in VOICE is entirely different. “In a call center, you’re working from a script and you’re really there to sell more than help the client. Here, I’m able to be myself, do what the clients need, and develop relationships with those clients,” says White. “I know I’ll talk to that person again. I know their voices and get to know them on a first-name basis. It’s no different than a face-to-face relationship they have with the banker in their office. We just haven’t met in person.”

One of the reasons this tight-knit team of five can create such great experiences for their clients is because of how well they work together. “We communicate really well with each other and our clients,” says Roe. Pinckney adds, “We work as a team so if there’s something I was working on, another person can pick it up.” Their combination of skillsets and experience allows this team to provide exceptional service. “We all come from different backgrounds within the banking world and bring unique knowledge that works well in different situations,” says Wright.

Next time you have a banking need, don’t hesitate to call VOICE at 864-679-9000. Valentina, Rebekah, Paris, Shoundel, and Autria will be the familiar voices on the other end of the line.

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