Money & Banking

Suryoday Micro Finance to hire hospitality staff for new venture

NS Vageesh Mumbai | Updated on January 16, 2018

A better experience: The quality of the reception — the smile, the greeting and warmth of welcome — plays an important part in making the bank customer feel at home

Aims to improve customer experience in small finance bank

Suryoday Micro Finance, which is starting a small finance bank (SFB), plans to hire staff from non-banking industries, such as hospitality, to beef up the customer service experience.

R Baskar Babu, CEO, said the availability of technology for a range of functions had made it imperative to address customers effectively and provide them with a good experience.

“I don’t want a banking specialist to come and replicate what he has done in some other bank,” said Baskar Babu.

“Banking is a simple business and we intend to keep it simple. We are not into derivatives or anything complicated. We need good technology, good processes and a culture of customer service to serve this segment.”

Suryoday has 2,300 people on its rolls now; this will go up by about 700 in the next one-and-a-half years, and maybe more if the expansion is faster, Baskar Babu said. Among the departments and functions which would have to be newly staffed include compliance, legal, technology, risk, branch banking and marketing — functions that didn’t exist in a meaningful manner earlier.

But the key change is going to be in setting the culture right — and Baskar Babu said he had spent a considerable amount of time on this aspect.

The move to recruit people who have worked with restaurants or hospitals is part of this initiative and comes from Baskar Babu’s own observation of the superior service rendered by select individuals working in this demanding industry segment and the difference they make to customer perception.

Mixed background

Suryoday plans to launch SFB operations with a branch of four-five staff members that may include one person from a non-banking background with the responsibility of providing a superior customer experience.

Going forward, that ratio could alter to having one person with a banking background and the rest from other backgrounds. These people would be the true brand ambassadors for the bank, he said.

The focus on providing a good customer experience came from looking closely at customer experience in the existing branches of other banks, explained Baskar Babu.

A customer who wants to open an account often doesn’t know whom to approach at the branch — and is probably tossed about from counter to counter. Many customers stand and wait for the staff to give them attention and feel lost.

That experience needs to change, he pointed out. There are a number of educated people also who need help for digital needs. These executives will take care of such requirements.

Elaborating further, he said, the quality of the reception — the smile, the greeting and warmth of welcome — plays a part in making the customer feel at home. Even something as simple as how a customer would like to be addressed is important — Mrs or Ms, first name or surname ?

“These are subtle things, where lots of gaps have been left by incumbents,” observed Baskar Babu. “It is impossible for them to change now. We will try to get the basics right. Then the scale can be improved.”

Published on October 18, 2016

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