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Opinion
The importance of customer service (Part-II)

Feature
Foreign investment in Pakistan

Opinion
The importance of customer service

"As the battle for market share is erupting, the philosophy of total customer benefit is gaining increased importance"

By Prof. Dr. Abdul Hadi, Dean of Business Management Institute
Sep 06, 1999

"Only the firms which are customer focused will survive in 21st century markets. Turning blind and deaf to a customer's comments, customer's complaints will be losing your customer. Only the firms which are obsessed to benefit their customers will enter the millennium.

As the battle for market share is erupting, the philosophy of total customer benefit is gaining increased importance. How many organizations in Pakistan take pride in serving the customers. Take the examples of the banks in Pakistan. Recently many banks in Pakistan indulged in lottery systems offering prizes of huge amounts.

Since we have already expressed strategic intent to introduce in-terest free economy in Pakistan, our banks should offer such incentives to the customers which can give them a true sense of participation in the bank's business.

Banks in Pakistan should promote Islamic banking and Islamic economy and should introduce models of Islamic banking at a small level. Once such models are experienced as more beneficial and satisfying by the customers, they will be automatically accepted. Even the western banks will adopt that model if that model was good for humanity and for business. What is needed is the practice of the theory we are claiming to be the best.

While introducing any incentive scheme for the customers one should be mindful about the implication of advertising? The ultimate aim of all businesses should be to benefit the society. Profits should be made as long as they are requisites to enhance and maintain the business.

Our banks could compete on the basis of price, like no service charges on checking accounts, no fee for maintenance of ledger, and no fee for holding the bank statements or private pension schemes for those who deposited certain amounts for a certain period. Many banks in Pakistan charge for every service and involve in a lot of paper work. They produce more documents than service to the customer . Such banks are not customer-benefit oriented and they will lose the battle for market share when some other banks will provide them benefits they are not receiving from their existing banks.

Some foreign banks are very conservative in conducting banking business and in providing benefit to the customer. They provide benefit to the customer not as the customer wants but as these banks want. These banks are satisfied in maintaining the customer accounts to the accuracy of a decimal.

Although some foreign banks in Pakistan are more organized and well equipped to provide unique customer service, yet they hesitate in changing their style. Very soon banks in Pakistan will realize that banking is going to take an extreme turn. In the millennium, customers will like such banks that could provide speed and convenience, and customers will not go to the banks rather the banks will go to the customers door to door. Mail couriers will provide banking services and pay cash to the customers and open LCs in their drawing rooms and offices or whereever nad whenever they want. Banks will provide mobile banking services to the benefit of the customers.

In the near future, you will be able to get banking services from electronic mobile banks, stationed somewhere in your locality like taxis and distributing banking services for custome like bakery vans distributing breads and buns. How many banks in Pakistan are ready in the row to sprint and be the winner.

Globalization is steadily gaining ground over the last decade. With the erosion of national and financial barriers and speedy internationalization process, the customer today is inactive and is becoming physically weak like banana skin but more demanding and more questioning. He does not want to move out of his office chair. This means go where the customer is.

ABN Amro bank in Pakistan claims that it has started On Line services for the benefit of the customers and it is now providing 80 per cent Banking services over telephones. I think it is a great break through in banking services. Let other banks pull their socks and join the race otherwise many of them will be left behind the row. But remember after launching any of their product in the market, these banks must pass the acid test of customer satisfaction.

Whether it is a bank, a food chain or a university, the customer is the driver of your company's success. Totally customer-focused companies are forcing us to believe that customer is going to be the arbiter, the total driver of the firm in the new millennium.

If your company wants to win the battles for market share then make these words slogan of your company, "Know your customer in a better way, service in a better way and deliver when and where he wants".