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Monday, February 20, 2012

Union Bank rolling out NextGen branches

Customers at the next-generation branches being rolled out by this bank don't have to wait in queues. They can complete all transactions at a single counter. In case of problems, a branch assist will be at hand.

The branch staff assembles 15 minutes before the opening of business hours, says a quick prayer, takes stock of business targets and discusses problems encountered the previous day.

The abovementioned changes are being wrought by Union Bank of India in its branches as part of its customer service excellence project.

By mapping the flow of customers and the type of service they seek, the bank has streamlined the branch structure to improve customer experience, empower branch staff, improve sales performance and drive alternative channel migration, according to Mr M.V. Nair, Chairman and Managing Director, Union Bank of India.

The bank has already upgraded over 50 branches in Mumbai and Delhi to the new branch structure, and has plans to roll out 250 next generation ‘UnionXperience' branches by May 2012, informed Mr Nair.

Queue management

To reduce the waiting period for customer, the bank has introduced a queue management system (QMS). This system has been customised in such a way that customers who require differentiated services such as senior citizens and high net-worth individuals get precedence without inconveniencing other customers.

The QMS will also ensure that frontline staff handles only one customer. This will ensure that the customer gets the universal teller's undivided attention.

Once a customer enters the branch, he is welcomed by the branch assist. This official enquires about the customer's needs, and ensures that he is served suitably. He/she has the responsibility to educate customers about using alternative banking channels — ATMs, phone banking, cheque deposit machine, and pass-book printer — in the self-service area.

New biz generation

The customer service representatives (CSRs) have the responsibility to proactively approach customers visiting the branch with a product offering which is tailored to their needs or seek a reference, said a senior bank official. They are responsible for outbound sales so that low-cost current account and savings bank account deposits are mobilised, he added.

Among others, the CSRs have to identify and deliver at key ‘moments of truth' (a crucial moment) for focus segments such as account opening and complaint resolution, and strengthen customer relationships through personal rapport.

The CSRs are also responsible for customer on-boarding programme to ensure that after an account is opened, the customer is contacted after 30, 60 and 90 days so that stickiness is built into the relationship.

Currently, barely 2 per cent of the funds (around Rs 1 crore) set aside as employee incentive is distributed. However, with the branch network undergoing transformation and employees having more time to cross-sell and build customer relationships, these funds are expected to be gradually used up, said Mr S Govindan, General Manager, Union Bank of India.


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