We were thrilled to win the Customer Service Award at the 2012 Hunter Business Awards. Head of Customer Relations Lisa Presbury talks about why The Greater cares so much about customer service and how it has made outstanding service a part of the culture at The Greater to benefit its customers.
And the winner of the Hunter Business Award for Customer Service is…. The Greater Building Society.
Providing outstanding customer service is one of the key ways The Greater has differentiated itself from the major banks. Over the past decade we have maintained a customer satisfaction rating of around 95% (independently measured by The Financial Research Group). Our 2011 survey showed we achieved a satisfaction rating of 95.5%, with 72% of customers very satisfied with their relationship with The Greater and only 2% of customers dissatisfied in any way.
How have we achieved this level of satisfaction?
Our structure lends itself to offering great customer service. As a customer owned (mutual) financial organisation, The Greater’s focus is on providing great rates, low fees and outstanding service rather than shareholder returns or making big profits.
We have built customer service in to our culture and it is formalised in our Mission Statement - “To be the most customer-focussed financial institution in Australia”. Customer service is the responsibility of every staff member. Courtesy, respect and friendliness are expected at all times and are not negotiable.
When our CEO Don Magin accepted the Award, he rightly said the award belonged to The Greater’s outstanding staff. A big reason for our customer service success is our great people. Offering outstanding service does not just mean being friendly. It means being an expert and looking for ways to meet customers specific needs with the right range of products and services.
We adopt the approach that long-serving, well trained and knowledgeable staff who are happy to come to work are more pre-disposed to offer excellent service. Happy staff equals happy customers. We recruit the right people and invest heavily in training.
Customer service is a focus of every staff member’s position description and is linked to performance bonuses. Formal training programs are ongoing as part of The Greater’s Sales and Service Strategy which I lead as a member of the Executive Management Team.
We know that competitors are now focusing more on service and that customers’ needs are changing. The Award judges noted that despite high satisfaction, The Greater does not rest on its laurels. We are always looking at new ways to improve our service. We were the first Australian financial institution to adopt technology such as a Livechat website service (staffed by real people) as well as one of the first to use Twitter to both listen to and serve customers. Mobile banking is a new frontier for improved service.
An example of our service difference is the fact that when calling our branches or customer service centre, you go straight through to a real person, with no computerised options to negotiate. At The Greater we will make service greater for customers by striking a balance between technology and the need to be able to talk with a friendly and expert staff member.
Of course, we continue to monitor satisfaction and welcome our customers’ feedback on how we can make their service experience even greater.
What’s important to you in terms of customer service how can we improve our service to you? Please share your thoughts with me below.