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Is Customer Service the Only Savior?

23 Aug 2016

Listen to a Good Customer, he will never complain but will leave without anger……

I always struggle to retain good customers, many a times it is late and intervention comes only when customer has made up her mind to exit. She is angry on a very small request which got complicated through involvement of legal, risk or compliance, as these days all are afraid and everybody avoid’s neglecting the norm. Most of the time the colleagues directly handling the customer are so bogged down that they do not feel to escalate the customer’s issues, as they feel that they have followed the approved process.

As good as last month

Most of the times (especially in financial institutions), our customer is as good as last month. We forget the past relationship or the number of years’ customer has been with us. All decisions are taken based the current net relationship balance with the customer. Financially and credit wise the current approach is a correct call but how do handhold the customer during this phase, which if handled properly certainly rebuilds confidence. During my meeting with old relationships, I always end up meeting customers of 30+ years, who tell stories of how we stood by them in old days. After these meetings, I always end up asking myself, if the same things happen now, will we be able to handhold her again!!

How much the complaints’ review help?
We always review our complaints, with special focus on complaints from top 20% customers, understanding the reasons, finding root cause and fixing processes. It helps to understand when the issue is more widespread. No matter how effective we do it, more often the good customer will simply move out or in this commoditized world, moving the account to competition. Very few customers whom we want to retain complain. The good customer is already on the poaching list of the competition and she needs an unsolved irritant to move out and moves out without a complaint or anger.

Open door to customer facing colleagues
Customers facing colleagues need constant support. They always face request from the customers which deviate from the norms and existing processes. In absence of effective communication with decision makers, they end up saying no to customers. Besides delegating decision making to the customer facing colleague, more informal interactions are needed to build the confidence around the customer centricity of the organization.

Meeting and responding customers

Timely response is extremely critical to build the customer confidence. Organizations track the turnaround time on query resolution, what some fail to track is whether the customer is coming back again and on the same issue. In our eagerness to resolve and respond quickly, we delegate these to somebody who does not understand the whole process and ends up frustrating the customer rather providing the comfort.

Last week I also got a call from my Relation Manager, first time in 11 years. Reason, because my account was below the threshold limit, during the call I explained the bad experience (which should have been on the account notes) I had on a simple request to courier my documents to a different branch. She sounded concerned and promised to come back but I told her that it is fine now and I have moved on…. I also told her that I had opened a new relationship and will not bother them again.

In this ever changing world, where the services and solutions are getting commoditized, a good customer service will be the only savior.

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