Friday, January 9, 2009

Customer service

In my last post I mentioned the importance of having excellent customer service in order to drive positive word of mouth marketing. Customer service is a big topic, and is based upon fair, open and honest dealing with clients – something your MFI’s policies and procedures should aspire to.

However, though your MFI’s policies may be strong, and your loan officers might have the best intentions towards their customers, creating a friendly and open relationship with clients is a skill. The good news is that it is a skill that can be taught. Loan officers can and should be trained to:

· Smile;
· Greet the customer;
· Use the client’s name;
· Use positive body language;
· Make eye contact; and
· Thank the customer.

Just remember: SGUUMT!

(I’m joking. It’s a ridiculous acronym.)

But do remember that roughly 55% of our communication is non-verbal, i.e. through our gestures, facial expressions, and posture. So it’s important that our body language is positive and in sync what we say.

“Positive” body language is open, e.g. the head is up, arms are uncrossed, eye contact is being made, and the loan officer has a friendly, genuine expression on his or her face (see photos of closed body language on the left, and open on the right).

Thirty eight percent of our communication is through tone of voice. Yes, it’s not just what you say – it’s how you say it! That leaves a tiny 7% of communication flowing through our words. Only 7%! So while it's helpful to drill loan officers on what to say to clients, don’t forget to work with them on their body language and tone of voice as well.

Action item:

Hire students to pose as potential clients of your MFI and report back on the service they receive (this is called being a “mystery shopper”). Sometimes we think our customer service is better than it actually is. Are your loan officers hitting the bullet points above? If not, it may be time for more training.


  1. This is really informative as well as an interesting post to read. I am agreed that smile^_^ is powerful enough to create that first link of 'putting at ease' with the customer. This simple technique is often the spark that ignites relationship building and client retention. I think surprising and delighting customers with outstanding service is one of the most effective ways to grow a business.
    Small Business Answering service

  2. This is great. I am looking to improve my customer service. Would it be good to go through an answering service like TAB Answering? If anyone could offer some feedback that would be awesome.