In an interview with CustomerService.ae, Salim Al Maskry talks about providing an exceptional customer service experience to every individual who walks through the doors of the bank.
He highlights various customer service best practices and processes that make Sohar Islamic a customer focused organization.
Q: What customer-centric factors do you believe have fundamentally contributed towards your bank’s success?
Salim: Right from inception, we have been focused on serving our customers with passion; we work hard, as a team, to deliver the best customer experience in the market. Our unwavering customer focus and the integrity of our services have always given us an edge. At the same time, we have also created a niche for ourselves because we have one of fastest turnaround times – thanks to the application of the latest technology – and our strong CSR focus where we give back to the community through various initiatives.
Q: What customer service practices do you have in place from the moment a customer walks into your bank?
Salim: We try to deliver an experience from the moment any customer walks in. Wwe make sure they are welcomed and assured of being attended to in the most professional manner. Our employees dispense honest and sound financial advice and solutions that cater to their individual banking requirements.
Q: What sort of loyalty and reward programs do you offer on your cards to customers who spend frequently?
Salim: We are working towards the launch of an Islamic prize draw scheme which will mirror many of the key features of the popular Al Mumayaz program run at Sohar Islamic, which gives an opportunity for all deposit holders of the Bank to win cash prizes on a regular basis. There are also plans to introduce a rewards based Islamic credit card service where customers earn points for every Rial spent, which can then be redeemed for cash.
Q: What processes do you have in place to measure customer satisfaction?
Salim: We regularly take in any feedback that we receive from customers whether it is through our website, call-centres or social media platforms and route the same to our stakeholders. We circulate a monthly MIS report and take stock of any ramifications or improvements that we deem are necessary.
Q: What kind of customer service training programs do you have for your staff and what key skills do you focus on?
Salim: Our training centre provides training to all front-end staff on both technical and soft skills. The courses focus extensively on how we can enhance customers’ experience with our services and products.
Q: How big a role does social media play when it comes to customer queries?
Salim: Digital channels are becoming extremely important and gaining popularity at an exponential rate, thus we aim to use social media for the purpose that it has been made and that is as tool where we provide the space for followers to express their views as well as inform them of any significant news or activities about the bank. This space allows us to take in all sorts of queries, complaints and suggestions where they are collected, organized and finally addressed at the earliest.
Q: What customer support platforms do you offer and where are you contacted most frequently?
Salim: Our customer support system is active on a number of platforms. For instance, customers can contact our call center to avail various services provided by a team of highly qualified and experienced customer service agents.
The contact centre’s employees have the proper tools and training to effectively address and resolve any customer enquiries. Our corporate website with global reach has a dedicated section to allow visitors to contact us. Additionally, we are always accessible on all our social media accounts – Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube.
Q: Nowadays customers are more likely to approach you online for support. How are you offering round-the-clock online support to your customers?
Salim: As mentioned earlier, our online platforms give customers the opportunity to reach us 24×7 and we are generally very responsive on our social media platforms.
Q: What are some of the innovations taking place at your bank for better customer experience in the future?
Salim: The bank is shifting its focus to digital banking opportunities and heavily investing in such platforms that allow a two-way communication with customers so that we are able to receive and resolve queries and complaints at a much faster pace, thereby enhancing overall customer experience. We have a customer-centric approach to our product development process, wherein we closely analyse our customers’ requests for new services and collect feedback on existing services which gives customers the confidence that they are always placed first in all our development activities. For example, we launched our mobile App and internet banking services that allow customers to have the bank’s services 24 hours a day at their fingertips thus also improving turnaround time.
Salim joined Sohar Islamic in 2007 and has over 29 years of experience in Branch Banking with extensive knowledge in Retail Business, Marketing Retail Products, and Branch Operations. He holds an MBA degree and CIMA Certificate for Islamic Banking and Takaful Products. Prior to joining Sohar Islamic, Salim held several supervisory and senior managerial roles in a number of banks within the Sultanate of Oman.