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Customer Service Toolkit

In this toolkit, MicroSave seeks to ensure that service levels in a financial institution exceed customer expectations despite the continuous challenges of growth and change. This has multiple implications. First, financial institutions need to understand customer expectations. Second, they must understand the internal factors that drive an appropriate institutional response to customer expectations. Third, performance needs to be continuously monitored and communicated to ensure it meets required service levels. This process occurs in a dynamic environment and therefore needs to be driven by an appropriate strategy.

Why should a financial service provider invest in customer service? There are five compelling reasons why excellent customer service must be a “prime directive” for any market led MFI:

  1. Good service keeps customers
  2. Good service builds word-of-mouth business
  3. Good service can help overcome competitive disadvantages
  4. Good service is easier than many parts of the business
  5. Good service helps people to work more efficiently

Quality of customer service consistently ranks high on any list of customer preferences for financial services. In a qualitative study in Uganda in 2003, Mukwana and Grace found staff attitude, flexibility of terms and speed of service to be key reasons for choosing a particular financial institution. Similarly, the companion quantitative survey found that the second most common reason for customers to leave financial institutions was congestion in branches and the poor service associated with it. Competing financial services often don’t differ greatly from each other, so the way that a financial institution supplies its customers can become more important than the service itself.

This toolkit contains the following sections:

  • Putting customer service strategy into context.
  • The Strategic Dimensions of Customer Service
  • Determining the Role of Customer Service in an Institutional Strategy
  • Diagnosis and Analysis
  • Developing a Strategy, Action Plan and Budget
  • Implementing a Customer Service Strategy
  • Setting Customer Service Standards
  • Leveraging Technology
  • Training and Motivating Staff
  • Developing a Customer Service Culture
  • Monitoring and Communication

The aim of the toolkit is to enable the user to develop a written Customer Service Strategy, which can serve as a valuable tool for planning, implementing, monitoring and adjusting performance in pursuit of their customer service objectives.

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