Rate Your Bank’s Customer Service
By John Owens
Thousands of community banks across the country tout their great customer service; they believe they’re prospering because they offer the best customer service in town. But how well does your bank do at providing outstanding customer service that will keep your regulars loyal – possibly helping bring in new clientele? To figure out where you might stand, ask yourself the following checklist of questions to help evaluate your bank.
1. Do you ask customers what they want?
2. Do you purchase market research to find out what customers may want instead of treating them like spouses and assuming you know what they want?
3. Do you use focus groups and surveys to determine what products, service, etc. your bank’s customers want?
4. Do employees routinely look for and offer alternatives to customers who have special needs, complaints or concerns?
5. Do customers wait more than 60 seconds to be acknowledged by someone in the bank?
6. Does the bank have good signage to direct customers to the appropriate place for the service they need?
7. Do new account personnel have the information they need to help customers get all their banking needs met by your bank?
8. Does opening a new account take no more than 20 minutes?
9. Are special promotions and advertising campaigns announced and explained to all employees before the beginning of the promotion or campaign?
10. Are advertising campaigns integrated with signage and follow-up within the customer areas of the bank to clearly direct interested customers?
11. Do you have a receptionist or greeter conveniently visible in the bank lobby?
12. Do you measure and monitor customer waiting times in an effort to make them as short as possible?
13. Does a knowledgeable person make follow-up phone calls to new customers to ask about their experience and offer additional services?
14. Do you routinely perform customer surveys?
15. Do you track the number of people who are using specific services in order to be able to learn why usage is increasing or decreasing?
16. Do you have service performance standards that are clearly communicated, measured and monitored?
17. Are employees involved in setting service standards?
18. Is service an agenda topic on most employee meetings?
19. Do bank employees regularly phone customers to thank them for their business?
20. Are all bank employees aware of the names of the bank’s best customers? Better yet, does everyone have the same definition of “best customer?”
21. Are all complaints and suggestions followed-up by a contact within 24 hours?
22. Does the bank have a customer suggestion box or service evaluation form?
23. Do you routinely follow up to learn why accounts have been closed?
24. Do you have a routine process for bank employees to update and access customer information they have received informally?
25. Do employees understand how they’re expected to deal with difficult customers?
If you answered “yes” to all questions, you’re probably wondering how to manage growth at your bank. Observation suggests an 80 percent “correct” response rate would put your bank among the top in customer service. Whether you scored zero or 100 percent, these questions can be used to promote discussion among your staff, suggest ways to improve service and perhaps even generate new ideas for winning the war on customer service.
John Owens is a director at Bloomington, Minn.-based RSM McGladrey Inc.