Banking Practices to Avoid

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The banking industry is one of the least trusted sectors in the economy. Unfortunately, years of poor banking practices like pushing credit cards on customers, charging outlandish fees, and poor customer service have destroyed consumer trust. How can banks find a way to restore their credibility and improve their relationships with customers?

Meeting Customer Expectations

So why are customers struggling to find banks they can trust? Banks are used to keep money safe. When you see banks failing and needing bailout money, it causes a loss of trust. If you are one of the millions of Americans that lost retirement investments due to poor bank management practices, you know first-hand how untrustworthy many of the big banks have been. The banks that made it through the recession are those that customers deem trustworthy. The best thing banks can do is start listening to their customers and meeting their expectations. So what do customers want? They want a bank they know will not fail them. They want a bank that is free from theft and other threats. They want a bank that provides high interest rates, various account options, and minimal fee amounts. Most importantly, customers want a bank that treats them like family. Many banks try to convince existing customers to sign-up for additional accounts. While this can help the banks’ bottom line, it can be annoying and frustrating to the customers.

Maintaining Focus

Employees are often forced to engage in practices that customers dislike, such as asking them to sign up for credit cards, and refusing to waive certain fees. While the practices can vary with each bank, there is a general consensus among employees that these practices are required to meet sales expectations. Banks need to work on goal-setting in a way that will please their customers. If they continue to get complaints from existing customers about these practices, they’ll need to redesign the policy. The banks are often so focused on the bottom line that they fail to see how many ways they can do better by changing certain policies. Waiving late fees could end up hurting the bottom line initially, but in the long run it may increase the bottom line as customers start investing more or making larger monthly payments to their credit cards. Reducing the number of branch locations can help reduce costs. Banks in turn may have a chance to increase interest rates for savings accounts. This is a great way to give-back to customers.

Customer Service

Apple, UPS, and other major companies have found that the way to turn a profit is by changing the way they work. How can banks embrace a new customer service paradigm? Creating new financial opportunities for customers is a great way to show they are invested in them. Using existing products and reducing some of the long-term risks to the customers can help to restore trust. Online banking has helped to improve many of the customer service issues of the past. Online accounts give customers direct access to their account information. Many banks also offer online chat service. This service can help explain many problems to a customer through a secured chat connection with a customer service representative. As a customer service representative for a bank, here are some tips to help you improve your customer relationships:

  • Continually look for ways to add value for your customers. Discuss different products they may like and ask them for suggestions on ways to improve them.
  • Promptly follow-up with phone calls and emails related to customer questions.
  • If you have to offer credit cards to your customers, approach them in a way that tells them how your bank credit card can help to reduce debt with competitive interest rates, and make sure the customers feel respected.
  • Warn the customers of late fees and other account details they may not know about.
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