Business Management Articles / Banking
DELIGHTING BANK CUSTOMERS
Rene T. Domingo (email comments to firstname.lastname@example.org)
Many companies pursuing quality consider customer
satisfaction to be their objective. But to
their disappointment, they find that customer
satisfaction is not an effective quality goal.
It is just as easy to lose satisfied customers
as it is to lose dissatisfied ones to competitors.
Satisfied customers don't necessarily develop
brand loyalty just because they got what they
asked for or paid for.
Competition can always match your service,
and steal your customers by doing it better.
Customer loyalty can only be assured by continuously
delighting and surprising customers. How different
and superior are customer delight and surprise
to customer satisfaction? The table below
illustrates the four levels of customer service.
Stated by Customer
Received by Customer
Customer service levels depends on whether
customer needs are stated or not, and to what
extent customer expectations are met. Customers
state their needs either verbally or in written
form in the purchase order or contracts. Customers
are dissatisfied if their stated needs were
not met, or if service fell below their expectations.
Customers are satisfied if their needs are
met within their expectations. They are delighted
if their unstated needs were met within their
expectations. They are pleasantly surprised
if their unstated needs were met beyond their
What kinds of customer behavior result from
the various levels of customer service?
dissatisfied customer is an angry customer.
He may or may not express his dissatisfaction
to the company. Most of the time he will not.
But he will tell his friends about it, and
your competitor will soon find out about it.
satisfied customer is a silent and indifferent
customer. He normally will not tell the
company nor his friends about his satisfaction,
unless asked or surveyed.
delighted customer is a happy customer. He
will express his delight to the company and
his friends. He develops brand loyalty and
becomes a repeat customer.
surprised customer is an excited customer.
He will write about his wonderful experience
to the company and his friends. He will endorse
the company and its products to everyone and
becomes the company's most avid and credible
In the banking industry, where products and
services offered by competing banks are perceived
to be of the same quality by the customer,
price differentiation strategy has limited
effectiveness because of the industry's self-regulation
and government controls. Banks have very little
leeway in terms of varying interest rate and
To become a more competitive bank, then, customer
delight is the only remaining strategic option.
If bank products cannot be enhanced or varied,
service quality and delivery can be improved
to attract and keep clients. Examples of customer
delight and surprise are as follows:
Releasing a loan before the scheduled date,
e.g. 50% shorter processing time
Hand-carrying the cheque (loan proceeds) to
the client's (borrower's)office without his
requesting such services.
Greeting the customer and thanking him after
and every transaction with the bank-- withdrawal,
deposit, inquiry, loan or card application,
Apologizing to the client after having him
wait longer than usual or after causing him
any kind of inconvenience or discomfort.
that in Japan, greeting, thanking, and apologizing
to customers for any inconvenience caused
by the bank are so commonplace that these
acts are considered services that result in
plain customer satisfaction. Banks which do
not serve this way offend customers and are
avoided by them.)
bank's best possible salespeople
The objective of Total Quality Management
(TQM) is to create and retain customers who
would not only buy but also endorse your products
and services. Customers are the best salespeople
because they are users of your products. Their
desire to endorse them to their friends comes
from the sincere delight and surprise. The
company's salesmen are the least credible
endorsers because customers know they want
to meet quotas and earn commissions.
The best quality strategy is to develop life-long
customers by continuously delighting and surprising
them ahead of the competition. To gauge your
success in TQM, ask yourself this question:
When your customer buys your product or service,
is he just buying it, or will he also "sell"
or endorse it to others? If you feel that
he is just buying, then rest assured that
tomorrow he may be buying the same product
or service from your competitor. The best
customer is both buyer and seller of your
products and services.