An upbeat greeting with a smile or a barely audible ‘’How can I help you?” with zero eye contact? Depending on the bank manager’s diligence and a staffer’s work ethic, the customer’s experience at a branch can vary from ‘warm and helpful’ to ‘distracted and unresponsive’. Whatever the reasons may be for the difference in attitude, it all boils down to ensuring a positive, easily-replicable customer interaction at each touchpoint – especially in a face-to-face situation. Customers, now more than ever, expect an exceptional level of service when they walk through the doors of their local bank. Bank managers are tasked with the challenge of balancing their customers’ needs with the demands of day-to-day bank operation. What banks require are soft skills training sessions to keep the frontline banking staff poised for customer service excellence.
LOUD AND CLEAR: PUTTING COMMUNICATION SKILLS TO WORK
When evaluating your frontline staff’s communication skills, it’s best to break the assessment down into two parts: verbal communication and nonverbal communication.
While checking for verbal communication skills, relationship officers must speak with clarity, use an even tone of voice (even during a dispute), and maintain an air of professionalism throughout the workday. Not only that, bank employees must be willing to ask as many questions as needed to best serve the customer. Customer-facing roles require employees to comfortably interact with different types of people while leading with a service-first attitude.
Non-verbal communication consists of body language and active listening. A banking staff member’s interaction with customers should be natural and their interest in the matter at hand should be genuine. In order to achieve this, your frontline staff must learn to actively listen to the customer, especially when they come seeking a solution. A staff member’s body language, such as their facial expression, hand movements, and even eye contact, can put an agitated customer at-ease. A bank employee comfortable with nonverbal communication will readily employ an open and friendly body posture or a natural smile to make the customer feel comfortable and ‘at-home’. Bank employees who feel secure in their roles will take accountability for any kind of customer service interaction.
ARE YOU GAME?: CUSTOMER SERVICE TRAINING PROGRAMS
Of course, your frontline staff may already possess some of these skills on their own. However, the right type of customer service training can result in a remarkable improvement in customer satisfaction. The easy way to go about it is to host trainings that enhance the soft skills of team members. Managers can break from convention by sourcing game-based training kits that add an element of fun to training workshops. Activity-based training sessions allow teams to not only bond together but also learn a variety of soft skills such as communication, teamwork, problem-solving, decision-making, and time management. Staff members will eagerly participate in these interactive and engaging game based sessions.
ONE FOR ALL: PROTECT YOUR BANK’S IMAGE
In the eyes of the customer, the frontline staff essentially represents the bank. If a customer feels dissatisfied after dealing with one specific representative, chances are they will assume the entire organization is riddled with flaws. Top-tier bank management must prioritize selecting the appropriate type of training for their frontline staff to help improve their skills. Better customer interactions will help sustain the bank’s positive image.
When banks significantly improve their service quality, they are bound to see an uptick in branch visits, an increase in customer referrals and even a boost in customer retention. The ultimate objective for a bank should remain the provision of superior customer service, day-in and day-out.