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Banks in India / their service levels

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Indian nationalized banks haven’t really earned my trust in terms of their level of service and quality of service (QoS).

I don’t say the MNC’s are doing too well in terms of customer service in India either but thanks to their other levels of interface such as web based logins, ATM’s etc. they are better off.

Without getting into naming any specific bank, let us look at what plagues this banking system and why it is in desperate need of an overhaul.

Indian nationalized banks typically cater to the lower and upper middle class segment of the population. A majority of their (bank’s) revenues are generated based on various types of financial loans such as educational loans, home loans, personal loans and the like.

Thankfully – one is saved from the arduous experience of waiting endlessly at some bank counters due to the penetration of the Automated teller machines (ATM’s) since most of the basic needs are addressed by those automated systems (where human involvement is not there).

What do our banks need for an overhaul?

Over the years, nationalized and private sector banks are deteriorating in their level of service due to some specific factors:

1. Inability to handle large number of customers though they need to increase their customer base at the same time.

2. Inability to staff their teams with the right and qualified manpower.

3. Inability of their automated telephonic support systems to handle high level of traffic on any given day.

Let us get into each of the above pertinent points to find out how they can improve.

1. Inability to handle large number of customers though they need to increase their customer base at the same time.

Ok. the problem statement is defined. The solution is equally simple – DO NOT go for newer customers till you learn to look after existing customers better. This is not easy given the liquidity crunch these banks are facing these days with all their funds given out in form of loans to the public in the last 5 years.

2. Inability to staff their teams with the right and qualified manpower.

I went to a nationalized bank the other day to close my car loan and the chap at the counter made me wait for about an hour to hand me two simple forms. I sat patiently hoping it would get resolved. The bank official tells me they have misplaced my file! To think, here I am, ready to pay the penalty to pre-close my car loan and they have lost my file!! Ludicrous! To make matters worse, the chap assigned to fetch that file from rummaging through their endless stock of dispersed files of all consumers decides to take off for a sudden coffee break and does not return even after 1 hour! I got thoroughly disgusted and left the bank informing the concerned official that I would be back later that afternoon (this happened in the morning).

The bank had completely wasted my time for the better part of 6 hours to give me what was rightfully mine! – all this after telling the concerned official that I was in a hurry to pre-close my loan and had given him a heads-up a week before to keep all those documents ready.

It is also not as though there were 100’s of customers waiting at the bank for this guy to not to share his time. The max. customers there at the bank premises were about 20-odd at various counters uniformly distributed.

Banks in India (nationalized/MNC’s/Private players) – if you are listening – If you want to compete effectively in today’s market, raise the quality of your manpower and improve their productivity/customer service.

3. Inability of their automated telephonic support systems to handle high level of traffic on any given day.

Have you ever tried calling up a private sector bank or your nationalized bank on telephone only to go round in circles before someone abruptly cutting you off or your call transferred to/landing up in the wrong department?

I say this happens in almost 90% of all telephone calls I have made to banks – both nationalized and MNC’s – both are pathetic in this service. They are better off making that process of FAQ automatic too to save us the trouble.

Also, the queue is endless. It takes you almost 15 minutes to get through on an MNC telephone call for a simple query with a specific department – thanks to their absolute hopeless nature of customer service.

I would love to hear from my readers on their experience with banks operating in India and what it takes for an overhaul of this system to make it more efficient and productive.

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Written by Naveen Athresh

April 1, 2007 at 12:58 pm

Posted in Indian Banks

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