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Wednesday, July 20, 2011

'Relationship Management': How

Banks, having established relationship with a customer, ought to focus on retaining it. Although the core content of the product caters to the need of a customer, it is the additives that delight the customer and sustain the relationship.

A survey conducted amongst the elite customers of the western banks revealed that it is the quality of services that retains customer loyalty. Against this backdrop, the following have been identified as the most critical elements of quality service -
  • Reliability: About 32% of respondents have ranked this attribute as the most critical determinant of quality service.  According to them, reliability means “ability to perform the promised service dependably and accurately”.

Wanna free yourself from an unhealthy relationship?

  • Meet with the person privately; tell that you would like to resolve the problem between the two of you
  • Ask how he or she thinks the two of you got to where you are.  Listen to him/her.
  • Respond as objectively as you can without sitting on judgment.
  • Sincerely try and understand the other person’s thoughts and feelings.  Don’t be defensive - be sure your body language exudes a feel of opening-up.
  • Be willing to own up your part in the problem.
  • Ask what he or she thinks the two of you can do to establish a working relationship again.
  • Tell what you would be willing to do to make things better.
  • End the conversation by reaffirming your sincere commitment to better the relations.
  • The key, of course, is that you must have the urge  to improve the relationship rather than prove you are right.

  • Assurance: Knowledge and courtesy of the employees and their ability to inspire trust and confidence in the minds of the customers (22%);
  • Responsiveness: Willingness to help customers and provide prompt service (19%);
  • Empathy: Caring, individualized attention (19%);
  • Tangibles: Physical facilities, equipments, persons and communication facilities (11%).

The said survey had interestingly generated the following comments from the respondents and they appear to be quite handy to use as management tools for relationship maintenance:-

  • Being called back when promised;
  • Receiving an explanation of how a problem happened;
  • Being contacted when the problem is resolved;
  • Being allowed to talk to someone in authority;
  • Being told how long it will take to solve a problem;
  • Being given useful alternatives if a problem cannot be solved;
  • Treated like "I am person" not an A/c. Number;
  • Told about ways to prevent future problems;
  • Given progress reports if a problem cannot be solved immediately.
The said survey had also identified “waiting” as the single most irritant between the customer and the banker.  In fact, one respondent had commented on "waiting" as frustrating, demoralising, agonising, aggravating, annoying, time consuming and incredibly expensive.  We are, perhaps, more prone for such wrath since we are quite used to make people wait indefinitely.

Since “waiting” has got such an influence on customers’ perception about quality service, let us now have a look at the principles of waiting from an individual’s perspective —
  • unoccupied time feels longer than occupied time;
  • pre-process waits feel longer than in-process waits;
  • anxiety makes waits seem longer;
  • uncertain waits are longer than known finite waits;
  • unfair waits are longer than equitable waits;
  • the more valuable the service, the longer the customer will wait;
  • solo waits feels longer, than group waits.
To summarize,  customer relationships need to be constantly managed through elimination of irritants and addition of quality and quality alone, to the services that are offered from time to time.

GRK Murty



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