Penn Station Manager Helps Branch Reopen Safely

Delilah Salazar leads with empathy as she strives to create a safe environment for bank ambassadors and customers

Capital One’s Penn Station branch opened in June for the first time since safety protocols for the COVID-19 pandemic prompted its closure three months prior.

Recognizing that ambassadors and customers may feel unsettled about returning a branch amid this pandemic, Senior Market Manager Delilah Salazar who oversees the branch made it her primary goal to empathize with every person that walked through the doors to make them feel safe.

“Just the simple words of, ‘I’m here for you’, goes a long way,” Salazar said. “My associates have different fears like their own well-being or making sure that their family stays healthy. I talk with them individually every day to get a real understanding of what they’re going through and what could be holding them back from being there for customers that need our help.”

She holds one-on-one check-ins with members of her team every day to inspire ambassadors to recognize the opportunity they have to make an impact on others who could be facing similar challenges in navigating the new normal.
“I want my ambassadors to feel this desire to help others because we’re all in need more than ever” Salazar said. “Every day they have the opportunity to make an impact and feel like they left an imprint on the world.”

To help customers bank while staying socially distant, Salazar has encouraged ambassadors at the Penn Station branch to put a heightened emphasis on enabling customers to gain access to online banking. 

“Roughly half of the customers that have visited the branch since it reopened have done so because they think it is the only way they can access their money — even amidst a global pandemic,” Salazar said. “We’re educating every person that walks through our doors about online banking so they can stay healthy and keep others safe by banking from home.”

A Shared Vision

Salazar works closely with ambassadors at this branch, like Kevin Mercado, to encourage all customers to bank virtually.

“Right now the best thing to do is stay home and keep away from other people,” Mercado said. “I have seen so many customers finally decide to try online banking as a result of the pandemic. My goal is to walk each of them through enrolling step-by-step so that they don’t have to come into our branch every time they need to transfer a balance.”

Mercado says that Salazar’s desire to help customers' banks safely has been a key motivator to him throughout his return to working in the branch.

“She has taken the extra mile to make sure that we’re all pushing to go above and beyond what is expected of us to keep our customers safe and build a relationship with them,” Mercado said. 

For customers that visit the branch, physical precautions have been put in place for all Capital One branches and cafe reopening such as:

  • Plexiglass barriers at service windows
  • Ample hand sanitizer and wipes at stations throughout the branch
  • Providing and requiring face masks to be worn at all times
  • Floor decals to encourage social distancing
  • Enhanced deep cleaning protocols

While ambassadors at the Penn Station branch primarily serve customers traveling through New York City, Salazar encourages her employees to approach each situation they encounter with the care and determination it takes to help reduce the financial anxieties which have been heightened by this pandemic.

“I try to inspire my ambassadors to treat every customer like it is a family member because we are all going through these experiences during the pandemic together,” Salazar said. “We have to come together as a team and manage our emotions to figure out how we can truly engage our customers with empathy as we navigate this new normal.”

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