Bank and Customer Service

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Banks cannot grow without increasing their customer base. The expectation of millennials and present generation is increasing day by day. The evolvement of new technologies is throwing challenges for updating the means of providing suitable customer service. In present scenario customer complaints is a zero-tolerance area for the service organizations.

Organization offering products or services cannot remain in business without having a group of people willing to become its customers. Customer service begins the moment one connect with the customer to take care of his needs and solving problems. However, it continues even after the requirements are met. The services must be offered before, during and after the customer purchases a product. Customer service is the base of existence and excellence of all banking organizations. Every employee needs to develop the qualities of ownership, teamwork for providing customer delight while observing the values of ethics and transparency. Customer centricity is always at the heart ofbanking business and operations.But there is spurt in Customer complaints because Banks are not addressing the requirements of customers. The following quotes of Mahatma Gandhi should always be remembered to improve customer service.

Mahatma Gandhi’s words on the importance of a customer are significant and true to any business i.e” “A customer is the most important visitor on our premises. He is not dependent on us. We are dependent on him. He does not interrupt in our work. He is the purpose of it. He does not belong to an outsider in our business. He is part of it.By serving customer we are not doinghim any favor.But he is doing favor by giving us opportunity for serving.”

Interest of customer is an integral part of all services offered by the Bank. Due care must be taken while providing service across the counter, over phone, by post, through interactive electronic devices, on internet or by any other method. The following right of the customer needs to be ensured.

Right to Fair Treatment – Customers and bankers need to be treated with courtesy. Customers should not bediscriminated on grounds of gender, age, religion, caste, and physical ability while offering financial products. It should always be our endeavor   to provide   customers with hassle free services and fair treatment.

Right to Transparency, Fair and Honest Dealing – All effort should be made to ensure that the contracts or agreements are transparent so that it can be understood and well communicated to the common person. The customer should not be subject to unfair business or marketing practices, or misleading representations.

Right to Suitability – After assessing and understanding the customer’s financial circumstances, appropriate products should be distributed as per the needs of the customer.

Right to Privacy – Personal information of customer should be kept confidential unless they have offered specific consent to the financial services provider or such information is required to be provided under the law for a specific business purpose (for example, to credit information companies).

Right to Grievance Redressal and Compensation – The customers should always have the right to hold the financial services provider accountable for the products offered. There should also be a clear way of any valid grievance redressal for customers. There Bank also should have the mechanism for redressal of grievances  from sale of its third-party products.

Whenever we go for any service like going to Restaurants for food with family or filling fuel in our vehicle, we always expect prompt service. Similarly, we must provide timely service to avoid customer complaints. Let us first understand the major reasons behind the customer complaints.

  1. Service Failures: There is complaint due to lack of services at the branches. The reasons can be a) Slow service b) Unavailable service c) Errors in service
  2. Responses to Requests: There are complaints arising due to the reasons related to theresponse given to the customers against their requests. This includes a) Special needs, b) Special Preference, c) Customer Errors, d) Disruptive behavior by others.
  3. Unprompted Employee Action: unprompted actions of the employee may also cause complaints. This includes a) Unusual action / behavior, b) Overstepping cultural norms, c) Insensitive to customer needs.
  4. Problematic Customer Behavior: Complaint may happen due to the reasons related to the behavior of the employees towards customers. This includes a) Misbehavior, b) Verbal and physical abuse, c) Breaking bank policies or laws, d) Grumbling customers.

Employees need to Listen to customer complaints and resolve them promptly. It helps in understanding the shortcomings in products and services to bring in improvements. Customers used to complaint through various means like Email, through Website, TOLLFREE NO and through Ombudsman. The Complaints must be resolved in time bound manner. Banks must be empathetic towards the pulse and needs of the customers to reduce customer complaints. Some of the major tips for employees to improve customer service are as follows.

  • Listen–Employees should not try to talk over the customer or argue. Let the customer make his point till the last word and listen to every word carefully. Convey to the customer through expression that you are whole-heartedly listening to him.
  • Build rapport through empathy– Empathize with the customer’s problem by putting yourself in his / her shoes. This will reduce the grievance significantly.
  • Lower your voice– Do not ever match the customer’s tone in an angry situation. It will only exacerbate matters. Our calm demeanor will reflect on them and help them settle down.
  • Never take it personally– Most complaints go out of hand because, ego hassles come into the picture. Remember the grouse is not against you personally. This will enable us to deal with the situation much better.
  • Remember, we are interacting with a human being– Every person has a bad day. May be we have become a punching bag because the customer had a bad day somewhere else. Try to help make their day pleasant with a calming voice.
  • Communicate steps taken by you to resolve the issue– If the issue has been flagged earlier, communicate the steps taken by us to resolve the problem to the customer. Many a time, grievances grown because customer feels no action has been taken on his problem.
  • Assume all customers are watching– Our behavior is not only impacting the customer we are attending to but also others in the hall, who are watching the interaction. Maintain calm and communicate our calm to the bystanders. This will provide an emotional buffer in case the customer turns abusive or physical.
  • Know when to give in– If all your efforts in trying to convince a customer is of no avail, it is better to draw a compromise in their favor to give more time to us to nurture our productive relationships.
  • Never get angry or upset– Even if the customer is abusive and swearing loudly, do not get angry or upset. Take a deep breath and continue. Always assure the customers that you are always there to help them.

The key component of customer service is Customer engagement. Customer engagement is very important while continuing relations and reducing complaints. Banks normally conduct four programmes to interact with customers, receive suggestions from customers, understand and resolve their grievances with a view to improve the quality of customer service; viz Customer Relation Programme (CRP), Customer Service Committee Meetings (CSC), Customer Day and   Town Hall Meetings.

Every organization is striving hard to retain the customers. The principle of RAG (retain, acquire and grow) is applicable to the service organizations like Banks. It is always profitable when we sell products to existing customers than that of acquiring new customers. However, Banks cannot grow without increasing their customer base. The expectation of millennials and present generation is increasing day by day. The evolvement of new technologies is throwing challenges for updating the means of providing suitable customer service. In present scenario customer complaints is a zero-tolerance area for the service organizations. So, banks have to accept the challenges and pursue hard for better customer service.

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