…The dilemma of the suspended bank teller
I am currently on a four-week suspension for poor service delivery due to customer complaints about my service attitude. In the past quarter, I have received a couple of warning letters from Human Resources and attended customer service trainings to improve my service attitude.
I am Ahimaa, (pronounced a:hi:maa). A 31-year-old female bank teller. Here is my story….
Truth be told in relation to core operational tellering activities, I am a great teller; I can tell the total amount of money by weighing a pack of notes in my palm, and my accuracy in determining counterfeit notes is ninety percent. I have neither declared a shortage nor an overage in years, I can practically balance my day’s work with my eyes closed. Nonetheless, I am seemingly challenged in delivering great service.
The Customer Complaint
The customer’s balance in the core banking application was insufficient for his withdrawal request, however, the balance showing on his banking app showed sufficient money for a withdrawal. He had tried making a payment with his debit card and banking app without success, his next point of call was the ATM where he could not make a withdrawal, and his card was captured by the ATM, possibly, in his haste and frustration to withdraw money he inputted his PIN wrongly more than once. He then proceeded to his branch for his captured card and to withdraw money.
Escalation of Customer Dissatisfaction
As I was unaware of the foregoing predicament, I explained to the customer that the money in his account was not enough for the withdrawal. He explained with frustration that he had money and proceeded to show me the balance on the app on his phone. This was taking some time due to slow internet connectivity and the conversation was holding up the queue, so I advised him to see the customer service officer who was better placed to address the challenge. At this point, the customer could not hold his temper, he flew into a rage, hurling invectives, and stomped out of the banking hall without seeing the customer service officer.
The next day, I received a query from the Head Office to explain why I was rude to a customer in relation to the customer I served the previous day. I was baffled and dismayed; This was my third query in a quarter; three sanctions in a year meant suspension on the third count. Apparently, the customer had posted his experience on social media and tagged the bank.
I am in a branch that is supposed to have three tellers. I am the only experienced teller with two tellers who are national service personnel. Due to their status, they do not handle complex transactions, therefore, they handle only cash deposit transactions, and other non-cash related transactions such as cheque deposits, balance enquiry, request for payment orders etc. As the only proficient teller with permanent staff status, my responsibilities include cash payout transactions; cash withdrawal requests, cheque withdrawals, money transfer receipts, etc. including other responsibilities assigned by my supervisor occasionally as a senior teller.
I consider myself a great team player, however, there are days that I feel stretched beyond my limit. Especially at the end of the month when customers troop to the banking hall to withdraw salaries and days when the core banking network is challenged, which are not few and far in between. Logically, if I feel stretched it will negatively impact my service delivery. Not that I do not know how to deliver great service, but under these circumstances sometimes there is little I can do.
A four-week suspension in these dire economic times is a big blow. I feel Head Office has not treated me fairly, they need to understand the context within which the complaint took place and be equitable in dispensing disciplinary measures.
What a dilemma!!!
CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE MANAGEMENT(CXM) AS A BUSINESS TRANSFORMATION TOOL
- As much as customer complaints are fundamental service delivery issues, identifying the cross-functional areas impacting service delivery and addressing issues holistically are key to managing complaint recurrence.
- Not all staff attitudinal challenges require training, a root cause analysis is required to identify and manage the independent variables that impact staff behavior. This contributes to enhancing employee experience which has a positive impact on customer experience. A happy employee makes a happy customer.
- Bridging the gap between digital and traditional channels in a customer’s journey including a consistent and effective omnichannel experience enhances the customer’s experience.
- Decisions at the C-suite have far-reaching consequences on staff, customers, and business operations. Therefore, a cross-functional customer experience management strategy that addresses people, processes and technology is essential to creating value for both the customer and the organization.
Adwoa Asare-Asamoah is a Customer Experience Management Practitioner and the Lead Consultant at CX Hatchery and Associates Limited, She is also the author of the LinkedIn series “Ahimaa the CX storyteller” and an Executive CX Coach.
Contact – [email protected]