Risk Watch with Alberta QUARCOOPOME: The changing role of the branch manager in a digital world (3)


This is a continuation of key roles expected of the modern branch manager. Some of which are excerpts from my book. Read on…

Using Technology to Improve Customer Service

More companies are using technology to handle customer service in an efficient and cost-effective way. In addition, data management, analytics and insight-driven marketing is used to improve your customer care systems. There is no relation between a company’s size and the quality of its service. Your banks’ service quality will either enhance or degrade customer loyalty to your brand. These days, customers have more alternatives to choose from. The business that proves to be responsive to customer questions, complaints, or other needs can gain a clear competitive advantage.  This is the reason for anticipating your customers’ needs to enable the bank provide relevant products and services. There are a few major areas in which technology is able to help provide key advantages to businesses in engendering customer loyalty by improving customer service:

  • Providing areas on your website where customers can answer their own questions or seek answers from others.
  • Use of chat-boxes or chat conversations and Robo-Advisors which use artificial intelligence and natural language processing to solve customers’ problems.
  • E-mail. Using e-mail to improve customer service and more quickly respond to certain needs or help requests.
  • Unifying communications so that you know that the customer who left a voice mail also sent an e-mail with the same request a few days ago.
  • Better managing customer relationships with more sophisticated data-gathering tools, such as customer relationship management software.

Timely Solutions of Customers’ Problems

The goal of your bank’s business in terms of its customer interactions is to generate loyalty. There is no better way to do that than to offer quality products and services and be responsive to your customers. But as new technologies have come on market to make it easier for businesses to provide customer service, they may also be increasing the number of channels through which you interact with customers and the complexity of those interactions. Accenture, the technology consulting firm, suggests that businesses that want to use technology to raise the quality of their customer service should focus on the following:

  • Data management and analytics. Using data collected from customer to analyze their preferences.
  • Insight-driven marketing. Gaining insights into your business from customer data so you can more effectively target marketing.
  • Marketing automation. Streamlining and automating business processes to improve efficiency and keep costs low.
  • Self-service optimization. Finding ways for customers to interact with your business when they want.
  • Workforce effectiveness. Encouraging your staff to embrace new ways of improving customer treatment by providing tools and training to deliver better service.

We hope you can take some tips on how best to use of technology to serve your customers better and, in the process, achieve your business goals.

The Customer Service Creed

  1. The Customer is King: Know who is the boss. You are in business to service the needs of customers, and you can only do that if you know what it is your customers need. When you truly listen to your customers, they let you know what they need and how you can provide them with excellent service. Never forget that the customer pays your salary and makes your job possible.
  2. I must be knowledgeable in the Bank’s Business dealings:  The customers of today are knowledgeable and financially savvy and must not assume. I must make efforts to understand the business of banking and become a problem-solver.
  3. I must Treat All Customers Fairly: The differences in the nature of accounts require certain expectations from some customers but that does not mean that customers with small balances are not important. All customers demand respect and fairness must be the watchword.
  4. I must Have a Listening Ear for My customer: Take the time to identify customer needs by asking questions and concentrating on what the customer is really saying. Listen to their words, the tone of voice, body language, and most importantly, how they feel. Beware of making assumptions, thinking you intuitively know what the customer needs. [I deleted a question here] Effective listening and undivided attention are particularly important on the shop-floor where there is a great danger of being distracted.
  5. I must be Empathetic towards My Customer: I must put my foot in the shoes of my customer always and respond to them appropriately. Showing understanding of the customers’ problems is the key to their loyalty.
  6. I must be Proactive to Know My Customer’s Needs: Customers do not buy products or services. They buy good feelings and solutions to their problems. Most customer needs are emotional rather than logical. The more you know your customers, the better you become at anticipating their needs. Communicate regularly so that you are aware of problems or upcoming needs.
  7. I must make My Customers Feel Important and Appreciated: Treat them as individuals. Always use their names and find ways to compliment them genuinely, without flattery. People value sincerity. It creates good feeling and trust. Think about ways to generate good feelings about doing business with you. Customers are very sensitive and know whether or not you really care about them. Thank them every time you get a chance.
  8. My Body Language Should Always Show Positivity: On the shop floor be sure that your body language conveys sincerity. Your words and actions should agree.
  9. I must Understand Customer’s Viewpoint: Help customers understand your systems. Your bank may have the world’s best systems for getting things done, but if customers do not understand them, they can get confused, impatient and angry. Take time to explain how your systems work and how they simplify transactions. Be careful that your systems do not eliminate completely the human element of your organization.
  10. I must Do My Best to Help My customers if I Can: Always look for ways to help your customers. When they have a request (as long as it is reasonable) tell them that you can do it. Figure out how afterward. Look for ways to make doing business with you easy. Always do what you say you are going to do.
  11. I must not be too Proud to Apologize to My Customer: When something goes wrong, apologize. It should not be difficult to do so and customers feel respected.  Customers may not always be right, but the rectification of their problems must be fair. Deal with problems immediately and let customers know what you have done. Make it simple for customers to complain. Value their complaints, since it gives an opportunity to improve the system. Even if customers are having a bad day, you have to go out of your way to make them feel comfortable.
  12. I must Exceed Customers’ expectations: Since the future of all companies lies in keeping customers happy, I must be unique in my relationship to prevent them exiting. I must always follow up to thank them for their complaints.
  13. I must Keep Customers Posted: I must encourage and welcome suggestions for improvement. I must keep customers posted of new developments in banking, and new products. I must update customers of the bank’s website and interactive parts, and listen to constructive criticism, comments, and suggestions.
  14. I must Enhance my Virtual banking relationship skills with my Customers: In this age of digital banking, I do not need to see customers face-to-face to exhibit good communication skills. I must learn basic soft skills in communication skills both face-to-face and through digital communication.
  15. I must Treat Other Staff Well: ​ My internal customers should be treated with the same respect given to the external customers. Appreciating staff creates a sense of belongingness, collaboration, and extends to better service delivery. A happy bank staff results in a happy service delivery and happy customers.

For more insights please book a copy of my new book, “THE MODERN BRANCH MANAGER’S COMPANION” which involves the adoption of a multi-disciplinary approach in the practice of today’s branch management. It also shares invaluable insights on the mindset needed to navigate and make a difference in the changing dynamics of the banking industry. Call 0244333051 for your copy.



Alberta Quarcoopome is a Fellow of the Institute of Bankers, and CEO of ALKAN Business Consult Ltd. She is the Author of Three books: “The 21st Century Bank Teller: A Strategic Partner” and “My Front Desk Experience: A Young Banker’s Story” and “The Modern Branch Manager’s Companion”. She uses her experience and practical case studies, training young bankers in operational risk management, sales, customer service, banking operations and fraud.


Website www.alkanbiz.com

Email:alberta@alkanbiz.com  or [email protected]

Tel: +233-0244333051/+233-0244611343

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