Saturday, January 10, 2009

Customer service and the dissatisfied client

Here’s a short training for loan officers on how to deliver good customer service to unhappy clients. Consider it an action item.

Time: 15 - 20 minutes

Purpose: Enable loan officers to deal with dissatisfied clients in a positive manner.

Materials: White board/paper, pens

Trainer’s Note: Role-play the complaints in Step 3 with angry facial expressions and tones of voice. Also, be sure a response isn’t to just quote policy back to the client. That will only make them angrier!

Training Step 1:

Ask: What should you do when a client complains about the service she’s received?

Explain: We should Apologize, Acknowledge, and Correct!
Explain: When we complain about something, we need to feel that the person we’re complaining to takes us seriously. Otherwise, we'll just become more upset. That means as loan officers on the receiving end of a complaint, we need to do more than just say we’re sorry. We also need to acknowledge that the person has a valid reason for feeling unhappy. We need to empathize with our clients – i.e. let them know that we understand how they feel.
Finally, we need to let them know how we’ll correct the mistake. Remember, we're human so mistakes do happen. What’s important is that we deal with them correctly, by apologizing, acknowledging how the client is feeling, and correcting the error.

Step 2:

Ask: But what if the client is actually wrong? How do we handle it then?

Explain: if the client is in the wrong, we still need to show empathy and respect, even while we’re being firm about policy.

Step 3:

Review each complaint below and ask: How should a loan officer respond to this complaint?

Well, I just assumed I could use your loan for myself, and not just for my business. Nobody told me that I couldn’t.
Possible response: I can tell that you’re upset, Mrs. Ghaffar.

Your interest rates are too high for me! I have a limited income.
Possible response: I can appreciate your need to save money.

Your report said my group had a B rating, but it actually has a AA rating!
Possible response: Oh no! I’m sorry for the mistake!

We’ve been waiting four weeks to get this loan and now you want to delay it again!
Possible response: I’m sorry for the delay. I know it must be frustrating for you.

Step 4:

Ask: What complaints have you received from clients?
List answers on board. Go through each complaint and ask, “how can a loan officer best respond to this?” Discuss.


  1. Hi. I'm a microfinance blogger, just like you. I request permission to post an excerpt of this article on customer service in microfinance, since I'm working on a post about this topic.

    Additionally, I look forward to reading the workbook you mentioned.

    Kind regards,

    Fehmeen -

  2. This is really informative as well as an interesting post to read. Thanks for the good info! The ideas and insights are very worth reading.

  3. this is definitely a mfi worker in the philippines and i believe il get much learning from this.

  4. It's good for generating more ideas on dealing customers specially for providing good customer service. It's is also useful for training. Thanks a lot for sharing your ideas.