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Tips for customer service excellence

Customer Service Excellence Tip 5 - Magic words that make customers happy

May 6, 2017


Imagine you have a bag full of magic words that you just have to dip into and use to make the customer happy. Would you not love to use the magic words in your conversation?


What are magic words?

Can you find the six simple magic words that are scrambled here?

Did you know that you can create moments of magic for your customers with these magic words?


Moment of Truth

What is a moment of truth?

Every interaction that a customer has with the organization, whether in person, or through any other channel is called a moment of truth.


Creating Moments of Magic

Irrespective of the customer’s past experience, each interaction with the customer is an opportunity for you to make a positive impression and create a moment of magic.


So have you got the six words that you can use to create moments of magic?


Why should we use magic words?


Let us take the example of “Thank You”. We learnt in childhood that whenever someone does something good for us we must say “Thank You”.


Why should we thank the customers?


1. The customer trusts the Bank and places his/her hard earned money with the Bank.

2.  The customer is the reason for the existence of the Bank

3.  We have a job in the Bank because the customers transact with us.


Does this magic work?

You might argue, " I sometimes thank the customer, but I don’t see any magic happening.  So does this magic work?."

I agree that many of the customer service officers try to be polite, greet and thank customers. Why are they not able to create magical moments?


Let us take a cue from the magical world created by JK Rowling in her books.


In Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, one of the most loved books in the Harry Potter series, Harry learns about “Patronus Charm” that can drive out dementors, creatures who feed on miseries and suck out happiness. Initially, Harry is disappointed because however much he shouts out the spell, he is not able to have much effect.

The Patronus Charm is powerful yet difficult because in addition to chanting the magic spell “Expecto Patronum” Harry has to project strong positive feelings with concentration. With practice, Harry is able to focus on positive feelings and produce a powerful Patronus Charm in an emergency to save his guardian.


Did you get the answer to your question why our “greetings and thank you” do not seem to have much effect?


Let us look at a story in the real world.


A branch manager of a Bank tried to improve customer service in the branch. He had created a new customer interaction process where all the customer service professionals in the branch were advised to greet the customer at the beginning of interaction and close with “Thank You” at the end of each customer interaction.  The Branch Manager stood in the lobby interacting with customers, observing and encouraging his team to greet and thank  each customer.


After a week, he took a feedback survey from customers to find out how they felt about the new way of interaction. The survey included direct questions like

“Did the customer service executive greet you?

 Did the customer service executive thank you?”


He was surprised to find many of the customers marked a “NO” against these questions. He had himself seen and heard his staff greet the customers. So the next time a customer marked the feedback form, he observed and then asked the customer “why do you say the staff did not greet and thank you?”


The customer sounded surprised.


“Did she thank me? I did not hear it – she was not even looking at me when she gave the cash. I did not feel there was any difference at all.”





So what is the learning?


It is not enough just to say the magic words. How you say the words matter.


How should we say the magic words?


Just like the Patronus Charm did not work until Harry learnt to focus his positive energy, the magic words would work well when you say it with:

ü  Positive energy

ü  Proper eye contact and body language

ü  An intention to make the customer happy



Does this magic work? Believe me, it does. I have been a branch manager for several years in various branches and I have experienced it myself.  I have also seen my team interact with customers and create moments of magic, and customers walking out with smiles on their faces.


What is in it for you?


The best part of this magic is that it is not just customers who become happy – we also get recharged with positive feelings and energy.


We can use the magic words with whomever you interact with – family members, colleagues, even strangers whom you meet on the train or bus.


Why not create moments of magic for your customers and everyone around you? It costs you nothing, but gives you so much happiness.


So what is your story about using magic words? Do share your experiences.


Did you like this post? Do share it with your friends to spread the magic of happiness.


Look out for the next tip: Two secret ingredients that can add power to your magic and win the customers’ hearts.



Thank you and have a wonderful day!


Customer service excellence Tip 4 - Be well groomed & Professionally attired

May 1, 2017

"Dressing well is a form of good manners" - Tom Ford


Are there days when you feel too tired or frustrated to bother about dressing and go to the branch without proper grooming?


Do you, like our friend in the first scene below, feel that you do not have to bother so much about dressing well?


Your attire speaks before you do


















If your answer is "yes" think again.

How would you react if you go to a hospital and you are not able to identify who are the doctors because everyone is dressed in casual tees and jeans? It is a Saturday!

Would a policeman command as much respect when he is in casual clothes as when he is in uniform?

There is the story of a young banker who was the relationship manager for the top priority customers in the bank branch.


A priority banking customer walked into the branch on a Saturday. 


Customer: I would like to meet the branch manager or someone senior in this branch. I would like to create a fixed deposit for a large amount.

Relationship Manager: Sir, I am the relationship manager for priority customers like you. How may I help you?

Customer: No, No. I want to meet only the branch manager.

Relationship Manager: Sir, the branch manager is in a meeting. I can assist you in creating the fixed deposit.

Customer: I will wait and meet him.

The customer waited for half an hour, met the branch manager and gave the cheque of Rs.10 lakhs for the creation of fixed deposit. The relationship manager was in the branch manager's cabin to assist the transaction. When they walked out of the cabin, the relationship manager told the customer:

"Sir, you need not have waited for half an hour to meet the branch manager. I would have completed this transaction for you."

The customer gave one look at the relationship manager who was dressed in casual tees and jeans " You look like a college kid. How can I trust you to handle a transaction of Rupees ten lakhs? What if you misplace the cheque or make a mistake? That is why I wanted to meet the branch manager."

Banking is a business of Trust.  A banker must win the trust of customers and maintain the trust. A banker's attire has to convey that he/she is responsible and trustworthy.

What creates Trust?

  • Personality, grooming, and attire
  • Attitude
  • Knowledge, skills, capability
  • Efficiency in providing solutions 
  • Consistency in performance.


There are people who feel that if you are efficient, you do not have to bother about dressing well. Attire and grooming are important because they create a quick first impression that is difficult to change. 


Here are few simple tips for being well groomed and attired.

1. Get up early in the morning so that you have sufficient time for personal grooming.

2. Ensure during the weekend that your clothes for the next week are washed, ironed and ready.

3. While buying clothes, choose good quality and subtle colors that suit you. (It is better to have six good dresses than buy 20 dresses that wear out after two washes.)

4. Take few minutes the previous night to decide what clothes you will wear the next day and keep the accessories ready. This will help you avoid last minute rush in the morning searching for accessories.

5. Before you start your day at the branch, take a minute to look at yourself in the mirror to perfect your grooming.  

6. Remember to freshen up during lunch break to stay fresh till the evening.

There is an added advantage of dressing well. You will look good and feel confident and some one is sure to compliment you and make you happier.

So, get your best clothes out from your wardrobe and wear them to work.


 Wish you success in all your efforts.

"You can have anything you want if you dress for it." - Edith Head




Tip 3 - Choose a positive attitude

April 28, 2017


What is your attitude when you start your day at the branch?



Do you feel happy, enthusiastic, energetic and ready to wow the customer? or    


Is it just one more day of work, work, and work? or


Do you feel grumpy, tired, frustrated, overworked and wish for a better life?



You might think you don't have a choice. 


You can't change your role. You can't change your branch. You can't change your boss. You can't change your customers. You can't change your targets. So what can you do?

Some say you can fake your attitude. "I will try to be nice to customers so that I can sell an insurance policy." Do you think customers would like it?


There is a story of a young girl who was living with her widowed aunt.  The aunt lived a simple and disciplined life. She was very wealthy and the young girl wanted to inherit her wealth. The young girl tried hard to please her aunt, while in her heart, she disliked her aunt for being so strict. She wondered why her aunt did not like her! 


What would you do if you were in the aunt's position? How would you trust the young girl?

How do you think customers would feel when they know that you are nice to them only to sell something?


So what is the alternative?

Many of us like to live in our day dreams. "If I get a posting near my house, my boss was sweet, my team mates were all helpful, customers were patient and polite, targets were easy and achievable, systems and infrastructure are world class, I will then be happy."  

When we choose to live in this make believe world, we give power to external things to make us happy. Our happiness depends on so many things beyond our control resulting in frustration.

The serenity prayer is apt here.


God, grant me 

Serenity to accept things I cannot change,

Courage to change the things I can and

Wisdom to know the difference.


Can you change anything?

Yes. You can change your attitude. You can choose to have an attitude of gratitude - be thankful for the opportunity to have a job. Be thankful to the customers who place their trust in your bank and invest their money with you. 

Yes. You can choose to be happy and do the best you can. 

Yes. You can take initiative to improve processes within your branch to help improve productivity and customer satisfaction.

Would you like to know the story of Hriday, a  young probationary officer, who enters the banking world with dreams? He is posted in a semi-urban branch of a Bank. Does he manage in the new surroundings? or does he have to quit his job to pursue his dreams? 



Click here to read the free sample from the book Hello Banker


Do read the story and share your thoughts.

Your feedback can make a difference.

"We don't smile because we are happy. We are happy because we smile." 







Tip 2 - Enjoy making the customers happy

April 27, 2017



"What is it to work with love? 

It is to weave the threads of cloth as if your beloved were to wear it."

- Kahlil Gibran, The Prophet.

When you enjoy giving good service to customers, the service will become exceptional.


You might ask "How can I enjoy serving customers? I am so tired handling so many customers every day that all that I want is to end the day without any hassle."

Take the example of a mother cooking food for her children. 

Does this involve hard work?     YES

Are the children sometimes unreasonable?   YES

Are the children demanding (each having likes and dislikes)?  YES

Yet a mother puts her heart into her work and prepares food with love. She wants the children to be healthy and energetic so she enjoys creating new recipes that are healthy as well as delightful to the children. She is happy when her children eat happily. Where does she get the energy from? - From the joy of serving her family.

Think of the time when you planned a surprise party for a friend. Did you not enjoy ordering all the

favourite food items, inviting other friends, shopping for gifts and creating a greeting card or a birthday message? The joy of making someone happy is so immense.

You can experience the joy everyday when you serve customers - When you enjoy serving customers, you will be recharged with energy every time a customer thanks you with gratitude.

Can you think of an occasion when you received excellent service from a customer service executive and you felt so delighted? It could be at a restaurant, a shopping complex or even a small grocery store. How did you feel? Would you not like to create such moments of joy for your customers?

How do you prepare yourself to serve the customer with joy? We will explore it in the next blog post.

Do write your comments for this post - your feedback is important. DO share any questions on customer service in banking that you would like me to discuss.

Don't forget to share this post with your friends and colleagues.

Hope you find joy in your work.

Thank You. Have a wonderful day!





Tip 1 - What makes customers happy?

April 26, 2017

Hello friends. Welcome to the blog series "Tips for customer service excellence." While I started writing these tips for bankers, I realised that these tips are relevant for anyone engaging with customers. (External or internal.) The very fact that you are reading this blog shows that you are interested in customer service. 


The first tip is to keep thinking "How can I make the customer happy, what will make the customer smile?"


Let us take the example of a young bank officer named Mr. H (H for hesitant ;) Since Mr. H is new to the job he is not very familiar with the products, processes or the systems. He takes very long to put through each transaction. He makes at least 2 mistakes in the transaction and at the end he SMILES at the customer.


Will the customer be happy? The customer might be tolerant once but if the mistakes continue,  the smile will not compensate for the lack of knowledge or efficiency of service.


We then have Mr. X, a very efficient and senior banker who completes the work with speed and accuracy but does it as a matter of routine without showing any care or courtesy for the customer.


How would the customer feel? He would be satisfied that his work is done but would he be happy? Do you know how many customers hate to go to the Bank for some work?


So what can make the customers happy? What can bring a smile on the customer's face?


The first tip is to keep asking these questions to ourselves.


In the next blog posts we will be exploring small, easy steps that we can take to improve customer service.


What is your experience as a customer? Can you recall the latest experience when a customer service executive brought a smile on your face? 


Do share your thoughts. 



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