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Defining Service Standards in Branch Banking

March 7, 2012

By Philippe Asselin, Vice President of Business Development at FMSI

The topic on the table today is service. Many community banks and credit unions attest what separates them from their competition is the service they provide, especially in the branch environment where loyalty is giving way to price. Some might say service is in the eye of the beholder. It is a nebulous description, yet perhaps true. This article discusses overall branch service metrics and also looks to identify service improvement solutions for management.

Authors Bick, Abratt, and Möller point out that “In order to manage service quality, a strategic effort should be made at the company level to understand and manage their customer’s expectations and perceptions regarding the quality of service delivered in daily interactions.” (2010)  Based on this “strategic effort”, a custom combination of the above measures, per institution could be the most effective approach indetermining service levels—as opposed to a one size fits all approach.

Developing this strategy will require a well thought out plan, which author Stephen Covey reminds us about in his bestselling book The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, “Start with the end in mind.”  The following questions can help your management team establish the right plan for improving service: What will ultimate service success look like for the organization?  How will success be measured?  Where is the organization currently, and how long should it take to improve?

Just as a GPS must know the starting point to get to the desired location, so must a financial institution in order to effectively track and measure the journey to success in serving their customers.  Some branchesmay be providing service levels close to expectations upon initial measurement, while others may be way off the mark.  Training dollars can be spent with surgical precision versus punishing the masses for the sins of the few.  Recognition for desired performance can start sooner, influencing change and possibly reducing the length of time required to achieve milestones in service level attainment.

The 2005 research titled “Measuring Customer Relationships” from Nagar and Rajan states “Retail banking is a competitive industry, and any tool that helps managers increase performance is valuable.”  The lack of such tools can often leave critical service questions unanswered.  For example: How long does it take to make a loan? What is the average wait time on the busiest days?  Perhaps more importantly, how long does it take to open a new account? What are the average cross-sales made?  What are answers to the same questions at the branch and employee level?  Compared to last month?  Last quarter? Furthermore, what are the customer’s expectations, and how will success be defined from the customer’s perspective?

If leaders are able to answer these questions without hesitation, congratulations!  World class branch service may have already been realized.  For those leaders who are unable to answer these questions, it is possibly time for you to invest in a solution that provides actionable business intelligence—allowing for the consistent measurement of quality service in branch banking.

The Lobby Tracking System™ from FMSI is a tool designed to provide such actionable business intelligence for the retail branch.

By providing 20 plus unique lobby service and sales reports including: individual sales and productivity reports, account holder volume reports, and cross-sell reports, FMSI’s Lobby Tracking SystemTM (LTS) effectively supports senior management in making critical lobby management decisions. Coupled with a queue management system, upon implementation, LTS also dramatically improves the account holder service experience through an advanced eClipboard online portal—offering user alerts and complete real-time service performance visibility throughout the institution’s management structure.

Set-up a 30-minute consultation to learn if FMSI’s Lobby Tracking SystemTM  is a good fit for your institution. To set up a demo, contact FMSI’s Executive VP Business Development, Gordon A. Williams IV, @ 877.887.3022 or gordonw@fmsi.com.

You can also download FMSI’s Lobby Tracking System™ white paper to learn more about the benefits of a branch queue management and reporting solution.

References:
Bick, G. G., Abratt, R. R., & Möller, D. D. (2010). Customer Service Expectations in Retail Banking in Africa. South African Journal of Business Management, 41(2), 13-27.

Covey, Stephen R.  (1990)  The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People : Restoring the Character Ethic / Stephen R. Covey  Business Library, Melbourne :

Nagar, V., & Rajan, M. V. (2005). Measuring Customer Relationships: The Case of the Retail Banking Industry. Management Science, 51(6), 904-919. doi:10.1287/mnsc.1050.0376

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