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bank muscat gives major thrust for proactive customer service

MUSCAT, 11 September 2012 - bank muscat, the flagship financial institution in the Sultanate, has given a major thrust for proactive customer service, benefiting the largest banking family exceeding 1.2 million customers in Oman. The bank has widened the customer feedback channels linked to a Feedback Management System (FMS) for customers to register complaints or feedback or pay compliments on the bank’s innovative products and services.

Thania Al Jahdhamy, Head - Customer Services & Quality, said: “bank muscat is committed to excellence in services extended to the largest banking family in Oman. In line with the bank’s customer service strategy and vision, we are always available to interact with customers and asses their evaluation and expectations with regard to services offered by the bank. The bank’s new ‘We Can Do More’ vision is being pursued to be achieved by creating, sustaining and delivering real and undiminishing value in customer service through bank muscat’s key element - its competent people.”

The FMS is linked to the bank’s website, branches and Call Centre wherein customers can opt for any of these channels to get in touch with the customer service department.

Feedback from customers is primarily sourced through the following channels.

Call Centre – The customer calls the Call Centre agent and the complaint is logged into the bank’s Feedback Management System (FMS).

Bank’s website – Customers can log on to www.bankmuscat.com and register their complaint under the section “feedback”. This intimation from the website goes to members of the bank’s management team, including Customer Services Division (CSD). These complaints are logged into FMS by CSD.

Focus groups – CSD conducts focus group programmes all through the year involving customers and branch staff in all regions wherein suggestions from customers are taken for improving the bank’s services.

CSD keeps track of all complaints logged into FMS and prepares monthly reports which are shared with the bank’s management committee.

The FMS is also available at all branches, regional managers offices, direct sales unit, call centre, card services, corporate banking and central operations wherein staff can see the complaints relating to their branches, regions or divisions respectively.

On receipt of a message from customers, a system-generated reply is instantly sent to customers with a feedback ID number. All customer issues are given top priority by the bank and resolved within hours. A confirmation message is despatched to customers immediately after resolving the issue. The Customer Service department constantly monitors and follows-up customer issues and gives priority for their closure. A constant tracking mechanism is followed by the department to avoid delays in resolving customer issues.

Thania added: “The bank has adopted a new line of action to ensure that we listen to and more importantly responds to customer suggestions and needs in a more proactive way, rather than only react to service-related incidents through the bank’s customer care programme.”

The bank regularly organises focus group meetings with customers in all parts of the Sultanate. A cross-section of customers is invited and encouraged to speak their mind in such meetings wherein genuine customer feedback is obtained on the bank’s services and products. The bank strongly believes that it is not merely enough to listen to customers but go one notch above and hear them on their complaints or compliments.

The bank has adopted a tiered approach in regard to selection of customers attending the focus group meetings so that a cross-section approach ensures the participation of a full variance of valued customers.  Customers are encouraged to tell how they feel about doing business with the bank as there is nothing more fundamental in the service world than the ‘voice of the customer’, and the bank fully intends to hear it and respond to it.

Thania said: “bank muscat helps customers understand its systems. It is important for customers to understand how the systems simplify transactions, otherwise they can get confused, impatient and angry. We offer customers what they cannot get elsewhere. This is done by constant follow-up and regular feedback on how we could improve. There are several ways in which we find out what customers think and feel about our services. We listen carefully to what they say and monitor regularly to see how things are going. We have provided a method that invites constructive criticism, comments and suggestions.”

Benchmarking – To benchmark customer services in Oman, bank muscat uses a Cyprus-based consultancy firm to do a ‘mystery shopper’ exercise. As part of this exercise, mystery shoppers visit all branches of bank muscat at least 3 times in a quarter and also visit competitor banks. The mystery shopper exercise is done every quarter wherein the top 3 branches are awarded for good customer service.

The bank organises mystery shopper exercises to evaluate and test the efficacy of customer care processes followed in the bank. Without the knowledge of customer care staff, mystery shoppers evaluate the customer care processes followed in the bank and staff response to customers.

Thania added: “Good customer service is the lifeblood of any business. Good customer service is all about bringing customers back. And about sending them away happy - happy enough to pass positive feedback about our business along to others, who may then try the product or service we offer and in turn become our customers.”

The customer service department organises weekly and monthly meetings with branch managers and regional managers to discuss customer care process improvements. The department also conducts training programmes for service ambassadors and Call Centre agents who serve as the contact point for customers.

As part of the efforts to provide thrust for customer service, quality audit of branches is conducted to ascertain compliance to ISO certification standards. Process improvements are suggested on the basis of analysis of complaints. Depending on the size and operations of branches, threshold limits are set for them to provide prompt action on complaints as the bank believes that proactive customer service is what makes the real difference.

Offering innovative services and products, especially electronic and online channels, bank muscat is focused on making customers feel the most delighted. The bank views customer service as an integral part and extension of it wherein customers are reckoned as the most vital asset. All bank muscat products and services have evolved over the years in line with specific customer requirements, fulfilling their financial dreams and aspirations.

Thania said: “bank muscat is committed to taking the extra step to provide good customer service. The essence of good customer service is forming a relationship with customers – a relationship that individual customer feels that he would like to pursue. bank muscat has formed such a relationship based on the dictum that "you will be judged by what you do, not what you say."​