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Customer services management in Islamic Banks

Islamic Banking must not be considered as just the execution of Shariah compliant transactions. It must be done with the determination to follow the rules and principles of Islam in every activity and action during the banking hours.

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Difference between the Customer Services Management in Islamic and Conventional Banks

As far as customer services management, there is a clear difference with respect to customer services management between Islamic and conventional banking. To understand this difference, we must keep in mind that conventional banking is based upon man-made laws and Islamic banking is based upon the commandments of Allah.

The ideology, theory and principles of the certain system affect the behavior and activities of the people and develop the intention keeping in view the objectives of the certain system. Keeping in view this fact in mind and the above-mentioned difference between Islamic and conventional banking, the primary and ultimate objective is to obey the commandments of Allah so that we maybe blessed by Allah. It means that we must earn money keeping in view the commandments of Allah.

Allah states in Quran: Obey Allah and the Messenger, so that you may be blessed. (Surah Al-e-Imran-Verse 132)

On the contrary, the objective of conventional banking is to earn more and more money. The conventional bankers perform customer service keeping in view the intention to earn money but Islamic bankers perform customer services keeping in view the intention to earn money according to the commandments of Allah. This scenario creates different horizons of customer service in these two systems.

Consequently, the conventional bankers give value to those customers that can give the maximum benefit to the bank. On the other hand, according to Islamic teachings, Islamic bankers must entertain every customer irrespective of more beneficial for the bank or not.

Now, we come to the essentials of customer services management of Islamic banks:

Consideration of the customer

Islamic Banking is a business of products and services. When any customer comes to the bank, it must be considered that the customer has been come by the grace of Allah. It is the blessing of Allah that in the immense competition of several banking and financial institutions, the customer has come to our bank. When this consideration will be in our mind, we will definitely do a great job by the grace of Allah. We must not meet the Customer with respect to the monetary capacity or monetary amount. We must treat all customers in equal manner.We must ensure that anything must not be happened that annoys the customer.

Presence of the staff

It must be ensured that the staff must present at the branch to entertain the customer in the banking hours. In case of absence due to any reason whatsoever, another staff must entertain the customer.

Welcome to the customer

When any customer comes to the bank or makes a phone call or by any other means of communication, it must be welcomed, keeping in view the above-mentioned consideration, by the word Assalam-u-alaikum. This is the compulsion upon the Muslim when Muslim brother and sister.

Humble and kind behavior

Our behavior must be kind and humble. Our mood must be good while communicating the Customer. If our behavior will be bad, we may lose our customer and also causes anger of Allah.

Dress code

The dressing of the officers must be suitable and presentable before the Customer. For both gents and ladies, first the management of the bank must declare policy of proper dress code for both gents and ladies. If not, the officers and professionals must comply themselves with proper dress code. It is a fact that when we wear proper and suitable dress, we feel confidence in ourselves and do work with great zeal.The dress code must follow the teachings of Islam.

Personalized service

Any customer, either old or new, who enters in the bank, must be welcomed with utmost feelings. In this case, there are two types of customers:

  1. The Customer that enters into the bank for making cash transactions deals like making deposit, withdrawal, clearing, remittance, payment of utility bills etc. These customers must be given personalized service and help to meet their requirements and to save the time of the customer.
  2. The Customer that enters into the bank to get information to avail the certain products or services to meet the requirements. The Customer services officer must present chair to the customer that is the gesture to give respect to the Customer. The staff that meets with the Customer frequently i.e. front office staff must ensure the presence of chairs and then, the bank’s staff must ask the Customer for reason to come to the bank. When the Customer says about the need or requirement, the officer must deliver proper information and facilitate to the customer in absolute and satisfactory manner. If the staff cannot know or meet the certain requirement, it must refer to the Customer to the right place.
Knowledge of fundamentals of Islamic Banking

As Islamic Banking is relatively new field as compared to conventional banking, mostly people that are new to Islamic bank would like to know the difference between these two systems in absolute and satisfactory manner. It must be kept in mind that the conventional and Islamic banking are absolutely different in nature. Therefore, it is mandatory for staff to equip themselves with the adequate knowledge with respect to the philosophy, principles and fundamentals of Islamic banking and finance so that they can satisfy the customer in an adequate manner.

This duty must be done with the intention to disseminate information of Islamic socio-economic framework that the people can protect themselves to the prohibited transactions.

 

Cleanliness

Islam emphasizes on cleanliness very much. Cleanliness is called as half faith in Islam. With respect to customer’s service in banking, we must ensure the cleanliness of environment and work spaces. It is the psychological fact that when we keep our environment neat and clean, we work with zeal and zest and attract the Customer.

Non-existence of the product or service

If the particular product or service is not available due to any reason to meet the requirement of the customer, the customer may be offered the alternate or similar product or service but in case of non-existence of alternate or similar product or service, first the officer must contact to the relevant department that may provide the certain product or service.

It may happen that the required product or service can be provided in a suitable time. If not, the relevant department must be provided the tentative timeline, if possible, to the Customer Services Officer.

Keeping in view the scenario, the customer must be excused in a suitable manner or convey the tentative timeline of the availability of the certain product or service.

Knowledge of the certain product or service

In the bank, the training and development of the staff is conducted on periodical basis but it is the responsibility and duty of the staff that must have the maximum knowledge particularly regarding products and services in which they are performing jobs.

Clarity of the transactions

It is important to note that while making transactions in Islamic banks, the customer must be known about the certain transaction very well at the time of execution. It is the responsibility of the staff that delivers proper knowledge and understanding of the transaction otherwise it may create gharar (excessive uncertainty) that is prohibited in Islam like interest.

Complaint management cell

It is important for efficient and effective customer services management that the higher management has to formulate customer complaints cell. It can work in two ways:

  1. The customer faces problems while using products and services, for example problems in ATM etc. In this respect, upon receiving complaint the complaint management cell must take prompt action and resolve the problem in the best possible time.
  2. The customer faces problems from the bank’s staff due to bad behavior or otherwise. In this respect, the complaint management cell must take prompt action against the guilty.
Display of necessary information

In Islamic Banking, some periodical information must be updated and mentioned in the branch and websites. The essential information includes, but not limited to, weightages, historical profit rates, Schedule of Service Charges, informative notices of Central Bank and regulatory authorities etc. If the information is not made public and in case of old information that has not been updated, the people cannot take correct decision and they can divert to other bank or financial institution. Beside this, the customer’s complaint cell’s phone number or e-mail and in case of queries, the relevant phone number or e-mail must also be mentioned.

Turn around time

The efficiency must be important for every department of the bank. For the best customer services management, the customer must be facilitated in the maximum possible time. The customer must be conveyed the tentative deadline during which the bank can deliver the facility. In case of any occurrence of an event, that is the reason of delay and beyond the control of the bank, the bank must communicate the immediate notice of delay alongwith the valid reason. This action is ethical and moral responsibility of the bank.

It is evident from the above-mentioned discussion that the effective customer services management plays a vital role in Islamic banking. Being Islamic banker, it is the important duty to entertain customers in a very well manner because any mishandling may create bad effect on Islamic banking industry.

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