By Ayaat El-Battawy
Banks have put in place a number of mechanisms to gauge customer satisfaction with services such as deposits, withdrawals, loans, and balance inquiries.
The banks consider the measures an important step towards improving services, which will allow them to maintain their customer bases and attract new clients.
Call centres, internet banking, advertising campaigns, and regular reports are considered the most prominent ways to assess customer satisfaction, according to divisions that are responsible for the quality of banking services.
Basel Hegazy, General Director of Research and Product Development with the Housing and Development Bank (HDB), said that the banks compete with one another to create better metrics to assess customer satisfaction in order to provide better services, and that banks attempt to provide high quality customer services through call centres and responding to all clients’ requests.
Hegazy noted that banks assess the time clients spend on the phone with agents as well as the quality of the time. Moreover, they prepare regular reports on calls for retail banking divisions in order to assess the quality of the services.
The reports contain vertical and horizontal analysis of the services and include the number of clients, analyses and comparisons of different services, and analyses of why clients use some services and not others. Most clients who call the bank are asked to take an optional opinion survey in order to gauge their impression of the quality of the service.
Hegazy added that banks are currently transforming the way they assess customer satisfaction, saying that a number of banks have contracted with large companies that specialise in customer opinion surveys. The move towards contracting companies occurred after growth in the banking sector slowed in the wake of the January 25 Revolution.
Magdy Abdel Ghaffar, Director of the Retail Banking Division with a private sector bank, said that customer satisfaction played a major role in achieving profits, pointing out that banks pay a considerable amount of attention to strengthen their customer bases by offering higher quality services. He said that customer satisfaction is the key to guaranteeing the quality of the bank’s performance.
He added that a number of banks have established independent quality control boards that report directly to the CEO. The boards are tasked with changing banking routines that lead to lower customer satisfaction within the framework of existing banking regulations. Abdel Ghaffar stated that banks also set up customer complaints divisions within quality control boards in order to address dissatisfaction and to respond to complaints within 48 hours.
Hegazy attributed customer dissatisfaction to the lack of training that call centre employees are supposed to receive. He stated that a number of large banks do not consider customer satisfaction an important issue, but that such neglect was a mistake, and that such banks were vulnerable to customer flight as clients switch to smaller banks that provide higher quality and faster services.
Mohamed Nour El-Din, a customer services official with the Suez Canal Bank, said that customer satisfaction is gauged first in the complaints and suggestion boxes found in most bank branch waiting rooms. Banks interested in providing high quality services work to solve the complaints and maintain communication with clients.
Banks also issue opinion surveys, he added, which include questions on a variety of the banks’ services. The surveys are compiled and submitted to the banks’ internal oversight divisions so that they may develop customer service. The quality control boards of banks also undertake surprise inspections of branches and engage in direct conversations with customers.