Customer Service Training for Cooperative Employees

April 12, 2009
3 min read

I asked all the participants who were presently working in a financial coorperative, “How many of you will leave their job now for a job in a bank?” Without a single exception, all hands raised.  Then I asked them what type of customer service related problems they faced.  They listed some 20 that I categorized into 4:

1.  Bad nature of customers

2.  Insincere customers

3.  Related to Loan

4.  Genuine questions

Before I went on to solve their problems I made them visualize themselves as follows:

“People working in banks are climbing the mount everest wearing full gear but we people working in cooperatives are climbing the same mount everest without oxygen. It takes greater courage and if we succeed we are much better off.”

The first premise people at cooperatives must start working is that they have set much higher levels of expectations in terms of personalized customer service than banks.  At times even though the owners don’t, staffs who are here just as a springboard to a banking job, forget that and as a result become victim of unnecessary tension.  In fact people at cooperatives need even more skills to deal with customers than in banks.

First dealing with customers with high ego:

  • flatter them
  • say yes to anything they say
  • be excited to see them
  • listen to them

Dealing with angry customers:

  • listen to their complaints
  • agree at first
  • ask, “is there anything else you want to say?”
  • next give your explanation
  • finally give solutions

With insincere customers like those fitting in fake notes in a bundle, or claiming there is less cash deal as follows:

  • give fake smile
  • be strict
  • take a hard line
  • show proof
  • tell implication

To customers who ask that you fill forms:

  • never say no to a customer
  • if you have to use “yes but”
  • do the back-office work later when customers are gone
  • if other customers are there, request the demanding one to do it himself showing the line
  • otherwise direct to colleagues

If customers complain about having to sign too much make sure you warn them ahead by saying, “The process is a bit tedious. Are you game?” Of course the loan client will say yes.  Later on take this point against him if he complains.

Finally always

  • smile
  • have a bright face
  • build relationship with customers

To genuine questions you have to answer in layers.  First say it is a rule.  About 50% will agree.  If this answer won’t do give a more logical answer.  This will add another 10% to agree.  If still it doesn’t work give an emotional answer.  This will add another 10% to agree.  If still it doesn’t work give a more holistic answer.  This will add another 10% to agree.  If still it doesn’t work give a totally unexpected answer.  This will add another 10% to agree. If still it doesn’t work say sorry.  This will add another 10% to agree.   

If you are at the teller you must send the customer to the supervisor if he fails to agree in the first two answers.  You cannot clog the front desk. 

This will prevent many problems and frustating situations of conflict: “It is easier to cheat and be nasty with someone you don’t know than with someone you know.”