It has been argued that when customers encounter poor customer service, the majority of them will not complain but rather will simply take their business somewhere else. Customer service is very critical for the survival of an organization and one that cannot be ignored especially in organizations that are in the service industry like banks. That is why I have written several times about the subject over the past few months. Excellent customer service can build awareness and trust, improves customer retention, improves employee turnover, and improves brand image.
On the other hand, poor customer service can damage the brand’s reputation, kill potential sales deals, and causes your top performers to leave your organization. Hence, one can see the importance of offering customer-centric products and services. I strongly advise that it is in the best interest of banks to offer excellent customer service to remain competitive with Telcos (Telecommunication firms) and Fintechs. So, how can a bank ensure it offers customer-centric service? This week I will share some of the steps a bank can take to ensure it offers customer-centric services;
- Educate and Train Your Employees — Customer service is a very important tool for recruiting and retaining customers. It is critical to ensure that all staff are well trained and have adequate knowledge, skills, and ability to make each interaction with the customer memorable by providing a convenient and positive experience that is above the customer’s expectations. In addition, a bank needs to educate its employees on what impact customer service has on their bottom line (profits/loss line) and the role they are required to play to ensure a positive impact.
- Advocate Simplicity — Customers want to deal with banks that value their time and business by fulfilling their demands faster and more efficiently. Internal policies and procedures are designed to protect the bank’s interests but they can make it difficult for the customer to do business with a bank. Therefore, it is very important to evaluate the existing process flows, systems, policies, and procedures from the customer’s point of view and make the necessary changes if needed to ensure customers’ requests are processed more simpler, faster, and more accurately.
- Promote Customer Service All Around — Customer service should not be seen as the sole responsibility of staff who come into direct contact with customers (i.e., tellers, salespersons, and relationship managers). Create a culture where everyone has a role to play to contribute to the success of each customer experience because it has been proven that one of the main reasons for most customer service failures is a breakdown in an effective partnership between different teams within a bank. Hence it is advisable to always remind the staff that offering an excellent customer service experience is not the sole responsibility of front-end staff but every single employee regardless of his/her position.
- Encourage Feedback From Your Customers — As I stated earlier, most customers will not complain when they encounter poor customer service but will do so only if they feel like their feedback will be acted upon. This can only happen if a bank decides to make it a priority to listen to the voice of its customers and structure it as one of the daily responsibilities of its staff. This can be done by training the staff on how to encourage feedback from the customers and use the information to make necessary changes that will have a positive impact on the customer experience.
- Customer-Focused Leaders — Most customer service initiatives fail because the leaders of an organization are not customer-focused. Traditional and usual ways of management need to be replaced with new mindsets that promote customer-focused service to ensure all leaders within the organization receive the required training in customer-focused leadership to implement the same at all levels of the organization.
In summary, to achieve excellence in customer service, banks need to clearly understand the needs and expectations of their customers. The steps that I shared in this article will help banks to ensure they are offering customer-centric services; educate and train the employees on how to offer an excellent customer experience, advocate simplicity in products and services that fulfill the customer’s demands faster and efficiently, and encourage feedback from the customers all the time, and develop customer-minded leaders.
Written by Kelvin Mkwawa, MBA
Email address: Kelvin.firstname.lastname@example.org
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