Welcome to another week of financial learning.
Today’s discussion is centered on the new demands of the Ghanaian bank customer.
A bank customer is one that engages in any form of transaction with an identifiable bank or financial institution.
Bank customers have rights and responsibilities as stipulated by law and common sense.
Below are a few rights and responsibilities of the bank customer as per the Bank of Ghana Supervisory division;
Responsibilities of Customers
· Exercise reasonable care in drawing cheques to prevent fraud, forgery, and not to mislead the bank.
· Immediately inform the bank whenever a forgery is discovered in the operation of the account.
· Have sufficient funds in the account or leeway in an overdraft limit to meet cheques drawn.
· Use cheque cards or cash cards only by their conditions of use.
· Demand repayment of a credit balance only in writing during business hours.
· Pay reasonable interest and commission to the bank.
· Allow the bank to use the deposits as the bank wishes.
· Keep proper and reasonable custody of checkbooks and all withdrawal instruments.
The also offered Bank’s responsibilities to Customers;
Banks are required to:
· Honour customers cheques up to the credit balance or overdraft limit provided they are in order and there is no stop order.
· Maintain strict secrecy about customer’s affairs, whiles the account is operational or after it had been closed except:
· The disclosure is by an Act of Parliament or a Court Order,
· The disclosure is in the public interest,
· The disclosure is in the bank’s interest,
· The disclosure is with the express or implied consent of the customer.
· Give reasonable notice to close an account in credit.
· Provide an accurate statement of account per agreed period or within a reasonable time.
· Receive money and cheques for collection and credit customer’s account
· Advise a customer immediately it suspects some forgery or fraudulent deals in the operations of the account.
· Exercise due care and diligence in the operation of a customer account.
· give customers complete information on each product provided.
The above gives a clear understanding of the customer’s rights and responsibilities.
However, with technology and globalization, there has been a new breed of needs and wants that financial institutions have to work on in the retention and growth of the customer’s portfolio.
The customer is and will always be the King in a service industry because service quality is determined by the intersection of customer expectation and satisfaction.
The service industry has been the fastest-growing segment of the world economy, particularly in developing countries, creating many opportunities for different service-related firms (Malhotra, Ulgado, Agarwal, Shainesh & Wu, 2005).
A critical service for the development of an economy is the provision of banking services.
Many developing countries have well-established banking infrastructure and branch networks (Greenland, Coshall & Combe, 2006).
For banks to thrive, both product and service delivery must be adequately aligned with customer expectations: achieving customer satisfaction and loyalty is essential for long-term survival (Reichheld, 2003).
In retail banking, service quality is a cardinal aspect of the customer experience.
Robledo (2001) suggests that perceived quality constitutes two components: namely, customer perceptions and expectations.
Perceptions of the dimensions of service quality are viewed to be a function of a customer’s prior expectations of what will and what should transpire during a service encounter, as well as the customer’s most recent contact with the service delivery system (Boulding et al., 1993).
Today’s customer relates loyalty to pricing, excellent customer service and speed of the transaction.
Pricing is the cost of banking transactions to customers.
A 2004 study by the Solvay Brussels School found that customers are significantly more likely to display customer satisfaction when products are priced reasonably.
Shopping for price differentials concerning foreign currency rates, lending rates, and account maintenance charges among others has become easier and stress-free as compared to some years.
Information is readily available online thus, customers compare before approach banks today.
The business dictionary defines turnaround time as the period for completing a process cycle (such as repair or replacement of a component or equipment), commonly expressed as an average of previous such periods.
Untimely response to customer requests is one of the hallmarks of poor customer service.
Customers want to feel valued; they want to know their business is appreciated.
Therefore, customers are likely to take their business elsewhere if they feel neglected, if they have an immediate need for a service that you are failing to deliver, or if they simply do not appreciate your work ethics.
This is the reason why most traditional banks are missing the retail part of banking.
Retail business deals with the number of customers and their management.
Some of the services that require quick turnaround time are the printing of checkbooks, bank statements, deposits, and withdrawal, SMS alert, email alert to mention few.
Customer wait time should also be minimized.
The above services do not offer any advantage now because the customer expects them to be delivered!
Customers expect a secured internet banking platform and the usage of the mobile application.
INBOUND AND OUTBOUND CUSTOMER SERVICE EXPERIENCE
Improved technology has enabled banks to sell their products through various online channels. However, face-to-face contact is still a core aspect of the service industry.
First impressions are lasting. Specifically, how you respond to and treat customers from the onset determines whether they will come back and recommend you to others.
For example, greeting them cordially, asking probing questions to figure out what they truly need, and responding promptly and accurately to inquiries show customers that you are dedicated to helping them.
This cordial and affable approach goes along with call centers.
This is one area that I think financial institutions in Ghana are scoring higher marks.
Employ adequate staff and train them to serve customers quickly and satisfyingly if your online platform has lots of traffic.
If patrons are dissatisfied because of long wait times or poor service, it negatively affects employees’ tips.
Long wait time has a direct negative effect on customer satisfaction.
Financial institutions need to periodically train their front liners on the changing needs of bank customers. This will reduce the level of lethargic attitude of customer service officers.
Online platforms should also be strengthened to conform to trends i.e Security and Risk Management.
Any financial institution that takes the above seriously will have loyal customers.
A research work by G. Bick, R. Abratt and D. Moller on “Customer service expectations in retail banking in Africa” concluded with the few words below.
“This would suggest that efforts to increase the speed of processing information and customers are likely to have an important and positive effect on customer satisfaction.
Addressing this issue through regular staff training should improve service quality. Shorter queues, service reliability and convenient locations are also considered to be very important by customers.
Furthermore, these attributes (including staff efficiency) are becoming increasingly important over time.
For retail banks in Africa wanting to enhance customer satisfaction, these would be key areas for improvement.”
This conclusion summarises everything that you need to know about the new breed of bank customers.
I will end today article with a profound quote by Sharfaraz Ahmed.
Sharfaraz says “The customer’s perception is your reality. What they think about your products, MATTER. If you don’t put your customer’s perception first, THE GAME IS OVER.”
I wish everyone a wonderful and memorable week!
NB: Article Picture from Alamy Stock Photo