Customer care service refers to “the provision of service to customers by business personnel before, during, and after the purchase of a product or service” (Mittal, Huppertz, and Khare 197). Customers are the businesses most valuable determinants of success.
Therefore, businesses have the perception that the quality of customer care service depends on employees’ ability to adjust their personalities to match those of guests and customers. Besides, customer care service is used to explain the organizational culture to guests who have little or no idea about a given business.
High-quality customer care service focuses more on prioritizing customer service as compared to product pricing, innovation, competitive advantage, and other factors. Hence, businesses that value customers offer training to their employees on customer service.
They are often found to value feedbacks from customers to improve in areas where clients may not be fully satisfied. The banking sector is a sensitive industry where customers demand high-quality service as required by the regulators. The sector comprises many players and thus customers can easily shift their business to the competitors. Hence, banks must provide high-quality customer care service to satisfy customers, retaining them, as well as attracting new clients.
The services expected by any customer from banking sector
The adage that ‘customer is the king’ is highly valued in the banking sector more than in any other business sector. Upon entering a banking hall, a customer has high expectations on the quality of customer service to be accorded. By nature, human beings are skeptical, and thus they are always on the lookout to find facts to confirm their doubts and create new ones. Hence, bank employees must be highly trained in the relevant skills that would enable them meet customer expectations through quality service.
Firstly, a customer expects a warm welcome from the bank employee offering the service. With that kind of knowledge, the bank employee must offer a warm welcome to the client by greetings and a humble request for the form of help to be accorded.
This move would help in creating a rapport between the banks and the client. In sales, a salesperson knows that s/he must create a good rapport with the potential client before selling the product or service. Winning a client’s trust demands requires one to invest in creating a good rapport with the customer. This aspect enables a client to trust the seller and the product or service to be sold before they are introduced.
Therefore, a bank employee should offer a warm welcome to the client for the customer to feel comfortable when giving a business to the bank.
Secondly, a customer expects the bank employee to offer quality time during service delivery. This aspect implies that a customer expects the bank employee to attend to his or her needs with great patience and enthusiasm. In some cases, the bank employees are overwhelmed due to the great number of customers. However, each customer is unique and s/he must be handled with unparalleled respect coupled with ensuring that s/he leaves the bank premises fully satisfied.
Thirdly, customers expect the bank to accord them privacy. Interestingly, people do not want to let others know the value of their wealth. Therefore, a bank must ensure that privacy is highly guaranteed to the customers to win their confidence and thus get business.
On the other hand, customers feel highly valued where a banker promises not to disclose their account information to third parties without their consent. Additionally, customers feel comfortable when the bank employees take them through policies and regulations that govern bank operations. This aspect builds the customers’ confidence in the bank since they value security and privacy of their money.
Fourthly, a bank customer demands clear information about the bank charges on their loans and interests on deposits. In the contemporary world, there have been numerous cases of hidden charges on the customers’ deposits.
This element has deteriorated the banks’ reputation in the market, and some banks have lost their customers to competitors. Therefore, to avoid such a risk, bank employees are required to give transparent information to the clients. Hence, a customer expects the bank to give the right information for the customer to make informed decisions before making any transaction.
Fifth, a customer would expect the bank employees to help in filling forms and other paperwork in the banking hall. Mostly, the aged and disabled customers need special assistance in the bank, and most banks have policies that govern customer care services. Therefore, employees are expected to accord special assistance to such kind of customers. On the contrary, in some situations, the bank employees must help customers to complete the required paperwork.
Sixth, a customer expects to find order in the banking hall. The banking hall is a highly esteemed premise where order must be maintained at high levels. Upon entering a banking hall, a customer may find a queue of other clients waiting to be served. Unfortunately, some customers are impatient, and thus they may decide to break protocols to their advantage. Therefore, to avoid such cases, queue strips are put in place to guide customers.
Additionally, most banks have security officers who maintain order in the queues. Moreover, banks have put in place well-designed seats for customers in the banking hall that helps to make customers comfortable as they wait to be served. Besides, the banking hall is a silent place where people go for private businesses and hence silence is maintained at high levels (Kumar 155).
Quality and Type of Service Expected
As earlier mentioned, the banking hall is a highly esteemed premise. A customer expects high levels of customer care service and guaranteed satisfaction before leaving the premises. A client expects various forms customer service in a bank. Banks provide different forms of financial services. The most common services are loans, payments, savings, ATM, money transfer, cash deposit and withdrawals, credit card, and others.
A customer wanting a loan expects the employees to listen to the need and grant the facility according to the set rules. That customer understands that bank will earn interest from the loan. Thus, there are minimal chances of the bank declining to offer the loan. The bank has the credit section for dealing with loans whereby the customer is directed to loan services. The credit officer looks into the customer’s bank statement to determine the credit worthiness and the highest amount of loan to be issued.
The credit officer communicates the bank’s position to the customer with ultimate care to avoid frustrations. The bank views the borrower as a trustworthy customer and thus it is obliged to give any assistance that a customer needs from the institution. This aspect implies that a bank must value the relationship with a customer and make decisions that would not damage that relationship.
On the other hand, a client is made to understand the bank’s position regarding the period that the two will be engaged in business. Besides, the customer is informed on the creditworthiness and s/he is advised on the loan amount and the payment methods that a bank is comfortable with based on the set guidelines. Afterward, the customer makes decisions after understanding the bank’s position and his or her creditworthiness.
In some case, banks have lost customers for offering loans with hidden charges. A customer feels cheated whenever the lending terms change without his or her knowledge. Therefore, to retain the customers, credit officers are trained on the bank charges on loans, and they are supposed to explain them to the customers before loans are issued. Hence, the credit officer ought to have good skills in customer care service to maintain the bank’s relationship with its customers.
Banks offer saving services. For a long time, money management has been institutionalized where banks are trusted with the people’s money for saving. The bank relies heavily on the customers’ savings for financing loans, investments, and liquidity. In the contemporary world, banks have introduced numerous types of current and saving accounts. The goal of this move is to distinguish between customers saving money on a long-term basis and those with short-term objectives. Saving accounts earn interest on deposits, and customers expect the bank to provide information about the rates as well as the duration of saving.
A bank employee should master different important customer service skills to have confidence when facing clients. Without such skilled employees, the bank runs the risk of losing clients due to poor customer services, which result in dissatisfaction.
The Customer Service Skills that Matter Most in Banks
Patience is one of the most critical virtues that a customer care service attendant must possess in the bank. As mentioned earlier, bank customers are unique, and they value privacy and satisfaction more than anything else does. Going by their values, it takes time to satisfy a customer whom the bank relies heavily on for business operations. A customer is the greatest resource to a bank. Therefore, a customer has unlimited service time since losing one to another bank is the greatest loss that can be incurred at any given time.
Customers need to be assured of the safety of their wealth as well as guaranteed privacy before they commit to do business with a bank. A customer care attendant or a banking staff serving the customer must take enough time with the client and ensure that they have a good business relationship.
Patience is not only important for the customer but also the bank. The time taken to discuss business gives a banker the opportunity to learn what customer values in a bank. Besides, customer service is an opportunity to gauge the bank’s strengths against other competitors in the industry.
Attentiveness is the central element that is needed for effective communication between two parties. Attentiveness is the ability to listen to give a great service that would meet the needs of the customer. Attentiveness is a complement to patience because without patience one cannot be attentive. Customers feel agitated when served by inattentive personnel in a business.
In the contemporary world, attentiveness is one of the rarest virtues that people have and especially the young generation. People have become unnecessarily attached to technological devices where they interact with others via the social media thus making it difficult for them to concentrate. The majority of banks have policies that regulate the use of mobile phones in the banking hall to ensure that the staff members give customers the attention they deserve.
Besides, the world is fast changing resulting in a revolution in business innovations. Businesses seek information from customers to remain competitive in the industry. Therefore, to get information from customers, a business must first accord them the attention they deserve.
Customers are politely requested to give feedback through feedback systems. The bank managers then review the customers’ feedback and look for ways of bettering their services and products. Hence, customers must be given attention in any business that seeks ways to innovate and remain competitive in any industry including the banking sector.
Excellent Communication Skills
Customers are very demanding. They do not have time for business as opposed to investors. They demand quick services where communication is direct and brief. Therefore, a customer attendant would seek information from the clients before telling them anything about a business.
For instance, there could be a problem in the business, but that problem cannot be communicated to the customers until they have asked for something that cannot be delivered due to that problem. This aspect underscores why customer attendants pose the question ‘how may I help you’ before giving any information to the customers.
Additionally, the customer attendant must have effective communication skills that would make the customer comfortable even when services are not available. They ought to have welcoming faces and give genuine smiles to the customers. Body language is the most effective way of communicating problems. Customers would feel hopeful if a customer service attendant looks well composed and attentive to their needs.
Knowledge of the Product
Employees in any company should understand its products and services. Employees are the most effective marketing tools for any business in the contemporary world. After attracting potential customers to the business, employees handle them on behalf of business owners.
Therefore, there is a great need for employees to have a deep knowledge about products and services. This aspect helps in assisting customers who run into problems after purchasing products or services.
In the banking sector, customers are presented with numerous products and services inform of accounts that are tailored to different needs. Therefore, a customer attendant must possess deep knowledge about the various types of accounts coupled with how they are different from each other. This move would help them to offer effective assistance to new customers by directing them to accounts that are most suitable for them.
Additionally, if a customer runs into problems, a customer service attendant would be in a position to propose solutions to a customer without the need to refer them to senior managers. Hence, knowledge about products is necessary for saving time that a customer spends in a banking hall. Besides, this aspect helps to market different kinds of products to customers by establishing the best types of accounts tailored to their needs.
The ability to Use “Positive Language”
Positive language is one of the hardest skills to master in business. Customer care attendants should always see customers as their superiors and communicate hope when there is distress. This aspect is the cardinal rule of business-to-customer communication.
This assertion may appear as irrelevant, but the capacity to read a customer and understand the best language to use when communicating is a critical factor in making customers happy. Language is very critical in persuading customers. On the other hand, customers will paint a certain picture of a company depending on how they are talked to in their interactions with employees. For example, a customer enters the bank with an interest with services that cannot be offered because systems are being upgraded.
Without a positive language, a customer care attendant can say, “We cannot help you for now as the systems are being upgraded” and the customer leaves. With positive language, a customer care attendant should say, “that service will be available tomorrow because the systems are being upgraded” and the customer leaves with the hope that s/he will be served the following day.
Some customers have difficult personalities, and thus a customer care attendant can never make them happy. Some of these customers demand services without regarding the needs of other people. In such situations, the customer care attendants need to retain their body language and pretend to be polite at all times. Every customer is important for the business even those that are rude and harsh (Bruce and Langdon 78).
Apparently, the most skeptical and critical individuals are the most valuable as they want to gather enough information before transacting, which means they may bring good business deals. Besides, such customers go to the most competitive businesses in any industry. Their criticism and skepticism provide solutions to problems and information about the need to innovate. Therefore, customer care attendants should handle such clients with the ultimate care that they deserve, which requires the best acting skills for times when situations run out of control.
Time Management Skills
Even though a customer care attendant should be patient and attentive when handling customers, there is a limit to the time taken by each customer. Different tasks have to be done as well as other customers waiting to be served. Therefore, a customer care attendant should ensure that some customers do not take more than the necessary time. The focus is on delivering efficient service within the shortest possible time. Hence, the need for the customer care attendant to have good communication skills that are focused on getting to know what exactly the customer wants.
The ability to “Read” Customers
In the contemporary world, things have greatly changed due to effects of technological innovations. Businesses are fast growing, and technology is helping in the achievement of the globalization of business activities. This aspect has resulted in businesses serving customers who cannot be seen or their voices heard.
Online business is fast growing around the world, and banks have ventured into online banking systems. Customer care attendants face challenges of communicating with clients on online platforms due to difficulties in establishing their physical behaviors and attitudes.
In such cases, customer care attendants are required to understand the customers’ behaviors through psychological methods. Hence, they should be trained on the basic principles of behavioral psychology that help in reading emotional state through the choice of words and speed of replying messages in the online platforms. An angry customer would use harsh words and give urgent replies while a happy customer would use sweet words and may not necessary reply quickly.
A Calming Presence
This attribute is close to acting skills but a perfect metaphor to describe it is ‘keeping cool’. In some situations, clients irritate their attendants and thus customer care attendant is required to keep calm. Whenever things get out of control, banks have policies whereby an attendant is allowed to leave and call for another bank staff to handle the client on his/her behalf. The customer can hardly notice why there has been a change in customer care personnel. This aspect helps to retain the customer as well as a good relationship with the bank.
Goal Oriented Focus
The ultimate goal of customer care service is to create a good relationship between the customer and the bank. A good relationship is established after making the customer satisfied with the quality of service. Hence, the customer care attendant focuses on getting the customer satisfied within the shortest possible time. Banks should have empowered employees who feel proud acting on the behalf of the bank to its customers.
This aspect enables the customer care attendants to be creative when handling clients and using persuasive language that lures customers into becoming loyal to the bank. As mentioned earlier, employees are the most effective tools of marketing. Therefore, customer care attendants are marketing agents of the bank since they are responsible for handling clients daily. Happy clients sometimes tip or thank the customer care attendants after service, which is a sign of satisfaction.
The ability to handle Surprises
At times, customer care attendants are faced with problems that are beyond their mandate. In such situations, the customer care attendant should have in mind the person who to refer the customer to within the shortest possible time. Most importantly, customers are impatient, and they always want to see their problems being addressed. Therefore, it is necessary to act hastily in seeking reference, which could be done through chatting tools as opposed to emails and messages. Besides, phone conversations can be used to save time. The greatest challenge in banks is the difficulties in letting non-staff inside of the banking office. Hence, customers must be attended to at the designated areas (Cook 20).
In most cases, clients will make calls to inquire more about a certain product as opposed to complaining of something wrong with a product or service. In such cases, the customer care attendants become more of sales personnel, and they take those opportunities to persuade the clients. They should have good knowledge about the choices of words to use to persuade a customer into having confidence in the service or product they have purchased, or they want to purchase.
Customer care service has no shortcuts. Therefore, a customer care attendants must have a great willingness to do what should be done to provide services that are satisfactory to the clients. As mentioned before, the banking industry is highly competitive, and it often takes a little misunderstanding for a customer to opt for a competitor. Therefore, a customer care attendant must have tenacity when handling clients.
A customer care attendant must have knowledge about when a conversation should end. In most cases, the closing comes when a customer is satisfied and thanked for calling. Effective closing shows the clients that a customer care attendant is caring about their welfare coupled with being focused on going on until things are right. Additionally, the customers feel proud that they are the one who determine when things are right before the closing (Wellington 64).
Willingness to Learn
Lastly, customer care attendants must uphold the virtue of continuous improvement in delivering quality service to the clients. This assertion implies that they do not know it all at any given time, but they are willing to learn something new to improve on service delivery. Banks are developing and introducing new products and services continually. Therefore, customer care attendants are faced with many questions about these products and services, and they must have answers for the clients.
The best and worst that can happen in banking for any customer
Leaving the premises a happy customer is the best thing that can happen to a bank client. Banks understand the welfare of their customers and in the recent years, they have developed products that are tailored to suit different forms of social welfare. Some products are most suitable for young people that help them to save their money as well as buy insurance covers against financial distress. In the case of financial misfortune, a customer rushes to the bank for help and after getting the right kind of products, they leave the bank happy after being accorded the needed assistance.
In the recent years, banks have been getting much involved in their customers’ social welfare. For instance, banks have implemented customer support policy that requires a bank to send birthday wishes to customers on their birthdays. Besides, some banks are issuing gifts to their customers during the festive seasons such as Christmas and New Year as a sign of appreciation for the business. Like insurance companies, banks are also issuing well wishes to their customers whenever they fall sick.
In the worst-case scenario, a customer leaves the bank premises unwilling to do business with the bank again in the future. Customer care service plays a major role in determining whether the customer will do the business with the bank in the future. The ultimate goal, as earlier mentioned, is to make a customer satisfied with the services. From the above skills, which are necessary for customer care service in the banking sector, it is evident that failure to be patient and attentive to the customer can lead to dissatisfaction (Gould 67).
However, the worst thing that could happen is making a customer feel inferior. This scenario could play out if a customer care attendant does not have the right communication skills. In some situations, communicating a problem could have much weight to the customer’s personality and ability depending on the choice of words that are used. Hence, the customer care attendants should ensure that they have the right communication skills coupled with being patient and attentive to the customers’ needs.
Quality Measurement Criteria for the Sector
The banks’ management teams need to measure the quality of customer care service in business at any given time. Businesses are quickly losing customers due to the lack of effective customer care service. Therefore, one way of retaining business is ensuring that there is good quality customer care service at any given time. Customers are the most valuable sources of information for the business. The business ought to take advantage of that by seeking information about the quality of customer service that they receive regarding that accorded by competitors.
Questionnaires are the most effective methods of getting information since they have privacy and they can be forwarded to the senior management without distorting the given information. After receiving service from a staff member, the bank managers should ensure that a customer gets a questionnaire for quality measurement purposes. The questionnaire should provide information about the rating of customer service, comments on areas that need to be improved, and the personality of staff. The filled questionnaires should then be put into closed boxes where only the senior managers have access.
Factors That Will Make the Service Better For both the Customer Bank
Banks should have policies that govern the employees’ delivery of customer care service. The most effective method to accomplish this goal is the performance contracts that stipulate the required code of ethics for handling clients. Employees are the most valuable marketing agents for a business.
However, the freedom of employees does not guarantee a business success. To be on the safe side, a bank should have policies that govern the employees’ behaviors and attitudes towards customers. With strict policies in place, the issuance of questionnaires to customers should act as a measuring tool for the employees’ performance in the customer service attendance.
Additionally, banks should motivate employees by awarding and recognizing the best performance in customer care service. This move would help to create internal competition among employees whereby they focus on delivering high-quality customer care services to the customers. Hence, it would help in building a good relationship between the bank and customers.
Innovation is the ultimate solution to business problems in the contemporary world. Therefore, a bank should ensure that it has the latest up-to-date technologies in place to remain competitive in the industry. Besides, technology should be used to provide customer care service through automated messages to minimize the risks of customers getting dissatisfied with one-on-one customer care service.
There is a stiff competition among numerous players in the banking industry. The greatest fear that banks have is losing customers to competitors due to the limited chances of winning them back. Therefore, banks are investing heavily in technology and customer care service to remain competitive as well as retaining customers while attracting new ones.
However, competition is a positive factor for the business if taken positively. The bank ought to invest in competition by ensuring that it understands the business operations of competitors and investing in their improvement. Hence, the banks need to uphold continuous improvement strategies to remain competitive.
The most effective way of attaining competitive advantage is by investing heavily in retaining a good relationship with customers. Customers are an effective marketing tool and thus they would help to market the bank to their friends through their experiences.
The banking sector is one of the most competitive industries in the modern world. Customer care service is the most effective way of attaining a competitive advantage in the industry. Customers provide information that helps to attain competitive advantage.
Therefore, banks should ensure that employees are well trained to handle clients effectively and have right skills to make them feel satisfied before leaving the banking hall. Moreover, there should be policies that govern the employees’ performance to create a positive internal competition in customer service delivery.
Bruce, Andy, and Ken Langdon. Putting Customers First, London: Dorling Kindersley Limited, 2009. Print.
Cook, Sarah. Customer Care Excellence: How to Create an Effective Customer Focus, London: Kogan Page Publishers, 2010. Print.
Gould, Rennie. Creating the Strategy: Winning and Keeping Customers in B2B Markets, London: Kogan Page Publishers, 2012. Print.
Kumar, Sreenivas. Banking Sector and Human Resources: Changing Scenario, New Delhi: Discovery Publishing House, 2006. Print.
Mittal, Vikas, John Huppertz, and Adwait Khare. “Customer Complaining: The Role of Tie Strength and Information Control.” Journal of Retailing 84.2 (2008): 195-204. Print.
Wellington, Pat. Effective Customer Care, London: Kogan Page Publishers, 2010. Print.