RBI Guidelines: Customer Service in Banks
Customer service has great significance in the banking industry. The banking system in India today has perhaps the largest outreach for delivery of financial services and is also serving as an important channel for delivery of financial services. While the coverage has been expanding day by day, the quality and content of dispensation of customer service has come under tremendous pressure mainly owing to the failure to handle the soaring demands and expectations of the customers.
The vast network of branches spread over the entire country with millions of customers, a complex variety of products and services offered, the varied institutional framework – all these add to the enormity and complexity of banking operations in India giving rise to complaints for deficiencies in services. This is evidenced by a series of studies conducted by various committees to bring in improvement in performance and procedure involved in the dispensation of hassle-free customer service.
Reserve Bank, as the regulator of the banking sector, has been actively engaged from the very beginning in the review, examination and evaluation of customer service in banks. It has constantly brought into sharp focus the inadequacy in banking services available to the common person and the need to benchmark the current level of service, review the progress periodically, enhance the timeliness and quality, rationalize the processes taking into account technological developments, and suggest appropriate incentives to facilitate change on an ongoing basis through instructions/guidelines.
Depositors’ interest forms the focal point of the regulatory framework for banking in India. There is a widespread feeling that the customer does not get satisfactory service even after demanding it and there has been a total disenfranchisement of the depositor. There is, therefore, a need to reverse this trend and start a process of empowering the depositor. Broadly, a customer can be defined as a user or a potential user of bank services.
Policy for general management of the branches
Banks’ systems should be oriented towards providing better customer service and they should periodically study their systems and their impact on customer service. Banks should have a Board approved policy for general management of the branches which may include the following aspects:-
- Providing infrastructure facilities by branches by bestowing particular attention to providing adequate space, proper furniture, drinking water facilities, with specific emphasis on pensioners, senior citizens, disabled persons, etc.
- Providing entirely separate enquiry counters at their large / bigger branches in addition to a regular reception counter.
- Displaying indicator boards at all the counters in English, Hindi as well as in the concerned regional language. Business posters at semi-urban and rural branches of banks should also be in the concerned regional languages.
- Posting roving officials to ensure employees’ response to customers and for helping out customers in putting in their transactions.
- Providing customers with booklets consisting of all details of service and facilities available at the bank in Hindi, English and the concerned regional languages.
- Use of Hindi and regional languages in transacting business by banks with customers, including communications to customers.
- Reviewing and improving upon the existing security system in branches so as to instill confidence among the employees and the public.
- Wearing on person an identification badge displaying photo and name thereon by the employees.
- Periodic change of desk and entrusting of elementary supervisory jobs.
- Training of staff in line with customer service orientation. Training in Technical areas of banking to the staff at delivery points. Adopting innovative ways of training / delivery ranging from job cards to roving faculty to video conferencing.
- Visit by senior officials from Controlling Offices and Head Office to branches at periodical intervals for on the spot study of the quality of service rendered by the branches.
- Rewarding the best branches from customer service point of view by annual awards/running shield.
- Conducting customer service audit, Customer surveys.
- Holding Customer relation programs and periodical meetings to interact with different cross sections of customers for identifying action points to upgrade the customer service with customers.
- Clearly establishing a New Product and Services Approval Process which should require approval by the Board especially on issues which compromise the rights of the Common Person.
- Appointing Quality Assurance Officers who will ensure that the intent of policy is translated into the content and its eventual translation into proper procedures.