The Importance of Customer Service in Banking

Written by malinda zellman
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The Importance of Customer Service in Banking
A large amount of bank customer service takes place by telephone. (reacting to good news image by Pix by Marti from Fotolia.com)

Excellent customer service can improve the bank's ability to lure affluent prospects, elevate the bank's profitability, lower bank operation costs, and/or create greater customer loyalty. When a bank invests in training its customer service staff, impressive results may follow. Customer service management software, sometimes referred to as CSM software, helps banks accomplish these goals.

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Customer Service Via New Technology

Customer service is obviously important to Citibank. According to Bank Technology News, "Citigroup's 'smart banking' branch design and strategy integrates the ultimate in self-service branches with plans for seamless connections to anytime mobile, ATM and Internet services." The state-of-the-art facility, which opened in Tokyo, Japan in 2010, includes self-serve customer workbenches, tabletop electronic kiosks for browsing products, ATM stations with video links to a teller or call centre specialist, small conference rooms for in-person or video-linked banker conferences and a touchscreen media wall. North American banks have begun following Citibank's lead. Customer relationship management software handles the routine customer service so staff members are free to sell more effectively to the savvy, affluent market targeted by today's retail banks.

The Importance of Customer Service in Banking
ATM availability suits customers 24/7. (atm user image by Neelrad from Fotolia.com)

Convenient Days and Hours of Operation

Chuck Salter, author of "Customer Service: Commerce Bank," says Commerce Bank is "America's most convenient bank, with a fanatical commitment to 'wowing' its customers." Commerce opens its branch offices seven days a week. Weekdays it opens at 7:30 a.m. and closes at 8 p.m. with shorter weekend hours. The bank always opens 10 minutes early and stays 10 minutes late. Commerce's astonishing service record has made them one of America's best-performing banks, with their stock increasing 2,000 per cent in 10 years. Commerce Bank's positive results from its extreme customer service approach proves the importance of customer service in banking.

The Importance of Customer Service in Banking
An extra 10 minutes can make all the difference for procrastinating customers. (Hours. Isolation on white. image by mashe from Fotolia.com)

Excellent Online Service

Improve your banking customers' online experience. When customers experience a positive online experience regularly, they can conduct much of their banking themselves, saving the bank money. According to the Customer Service Zone website, "Forrester Research estimates that a call centre response costs £20 while giving access to a self-service Internet portal is 70p." This significant savings justifies fine-tuning the bank's 24/7 online customer service approach.

Customer Service Training

Thomas K. Brown, writing in Bank Director Magazine says, "Quality customer service can be a powerful competitive differentiator." Brown advocates selecting, training and investing in your staff so they can effectively meet all your customers' needs. He suggests you hire employees for their attitude, make certain they know the expectations, provide them with the technology and tools they need for quality customer service and reward the employees who excel--all because it gives your bank a powerful competitive differentiator.

The Importance of Customer Service in Banking
Banks improve their customer service by being there when customers needs them. (bank image by Pefkos from Fotolia.com)

Better Customer Service Results in Greater Customer Loyalty

Genesys Telecommunications surveyed bank customers and found that "48 per cent of customers indicated that customer service was the primary factor in choosing to stay with an organisation." Therefore, a bank garners a great competitive benefit when it optimises customer service. According to Genesys, banks who create this sort of positive customer experience have earned "a tremendous competitive advantage." Superior customer service spurs customer loyalty in banking.

The Importance of Customer Service in Banking
Beautiful, functional banks with superior customer service win customer loyalty. (ticket counter image by Chad McDermott from Fotolia.com)

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