HFC is the most efficient bank in Ghana as far as response to customer phone calls is concerned -according to the “Banking Industry Telephony Efficiency” BITE Index by Market Research firm, Walsbridge.
The survey was carried out by way of telephone mystery shopping over a 7-month period between June 2016 and January 2017 at the branch level. A total of 650 phone calls were made to 211 branches of 23 commercial banks from a “non‐customer” perspective.
It revealed that the customer call response rate in Ghana’s banking industry is just 21% at the branch level whilst 42% of the customer phone calls are simply ignored by banks.
HFC Bank emerged Ultimate BITE winner with a score of 75% followed by Cal and Prudential Bank which both scored 70% to share the second spot.
HFC achieved this feat after recording a call response rate of 53% compared to an industry average rate of just 21%.
Speaking to Joy Business after the launch of the report, Chief Executive of Walsbridge, Kofi Asamoah explained that the ultimate BITE winner is a composite index of 4 categories namely Telephone Response Rate, Telephone Etiquette, Product Knowledge and Competence and Consistency in Pricing Information delivery.
“Different banks won in different categories. Except that when you put all the figures together, HFC topped. That doesn’t necessarily mean that HFC did better than other banks in all the categories but rather when they put all the highs and lows together, it stood tall among the rest” he noted.
“It may be that HFC has well-trained staff than other banks or have better systems than other banks. It’s just like writing exams in the classroom, you may do well in some subjects and not too well in others, but when you put all the subjects together, one person will come on top even though you may have done better in mathematics than him or her” he added.
Access Bank came tops in Telephone Etiquette with a score of 89 %. UMB and Energy Bank in 2nd and 3rd positions with 77% and 73 % score followed this respectively.
The survey also revealed that almost 50% of the calls were not transferred professionally.
Telephone etiquette is basically how bank staff talks and relates to customers on phone – whether he is friendly, patient introduce him or herself, especially in a business call.
Most transferred calls had one of more of the following, being cut off mid-sentence, talking to an empty line, talking to another person without proper introduction/warming, holding on for several minutes to a failed transfer or repeating oneself to different personnel after each transfer.
In order to make a lasting impression on prospective customers’ businesses, telephone conversations must be well-branded. Communicating with prospective clients without asking for their names does not send a good signal; perhaps the bank is not interested in doing business with them.
PRICING INFORMATION CONSISTENCY
HFC and CAL Bank both scored 99% to jointly emerge Best Bank in Pricing Information Consistency whilst ADB placed third with 93%.
The survey sought to find out the reliability of information clients receive regarding pricing information from different branches of the same bank.
Consistency in prices across branches of the same bank helps to build customer confidence and strengthens brand position. On the other hand, receiving different information from different branches negatively impacts the bank’s reputation and customer loyalty. It fuels mistrust and perceptions of “hidden charges”, “overcharging” or “unauthorised deductions”. When prospective clients request for information about prices, they expect the information they receive from different branches or the same bank to be about same.
PRODUCT AND SERVICE PRESENTATION
CAL and FBN Bank also both topped in terms of Product and Service Presentation with 98% followed closely by GT Bank with 98%.
Product and Service Information is about how the relevant information is presented to the customer because when one wants to do business with a bank, it is expected that the staff is trained enough to communicate effectively with him or her to understand.
Product knowledge makes the customer service team looks competent and efficient. Their conviction in the company’s offering is reflected when they interact with the customer leading to the higher possibility of a sale and customer satisfaction.
Three major indicators were used to ascertain how well bank staff explains products and services to prospective clients.
These include the ability to explain requirements and procedure clearly to the understanding of callers, ability to answer follow-up questions properly without the excessive use of jargons or appearing dismissive, repetitive, defensive or condescending and confidence level.