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Home loan customer care

With multiple products where each product has a lot of procedure and processes involved no bank can do query free business. if you have a basic savings account into which you make deposits and pay bills, if you have a credit card, ATM card, or have bought insurance, taken a loan, invested in a fixed deposit, or even used the locker facilities – each one of these activities require interaction with the bank and could raise multiple enquiries in your mind.

For example, you might want to check the balance of your home loan repayment balance, check the balance in your account, learn what the interest rate being offered by the bank on FDs is, report a stolen credit card and get it blocked, report difficulty withdrawing cash from an ATM machine, want to know details of the different life insurance policies being offered by the bank, or maybe just want to know the documentation required for a home loan. For answers to all your bank-related questions, you can turn to the customer care department of the bank.

On the other hand, the banks have an interest in having good customer relationship. They invest a lot of funds in having resources that ensure you get the best customer service experience and enjoy a hassle-free banking experience. Banks focus on customer care to retain customers and build loyalty that results in a stable, multi-product, long term client relationship. Given the competitive nature of the banking industry, it is easy for a customer to take his or her business to a competitor if they are unhappy with the service provided by their bank. It makes sense for banks to provide the best possible care to their customers and make their banking experience as smooth as possible if they want to retain their customer base, attract new customers, build a brand reputation, and earn the long-term loyalty of both old and new customers.

Toll-free Customer Care Number

Almost every bank has a nationwide toll-free phone number that customers can call to resolve any query they might have. The larger banks have toll free numbers that are exclusively for credit card enquiries and service requests and a different toll-free number for all other product related queries. This segregation is because the card related queries and issues are numerous compared to other products. The questions could range from asking for the outstanding on the card, or reporting an unauthorized transaction if you suspect fraud, to changing the PIN number, or reporting a lost or stolen card and blocking it immediately. As for other products like home loans the queries entail mostly about the status of the loan, when loan will be disbursed and loan repayment balance, prepayment charges, part payment charges etc. All these requests and much more can be completed on the bank’s toll-free lines. These lines aim to offer the highest level of customer care with quick, efficient and courteous resolution to all your banking queries. A happy customer is a loyal customer!

There can be a variety of customer care nos. – the numbers could be toll-free, meaning, you are not charged for any calls to these numbers from anywhere in the country – which banks provide as to facilitate customers to ensure that customers not burden the cost of calls made with regard to mistakes made by the banks or any other inconvenience faced by the customer; or they could be phone numbers where call charges apply. Make sure that you are aware of whether you are calling a toll-free or a charged number. If you are calling a landline number from an outstation location, be aware that long-distance rates will apply.


General enquiries

All banks have a general phone number or numbers for any other enquiries relating to the bank account or any product or service offered by the bank. For instance, you could ask for a mini statement; check about locker facilities; enquire about interest rates on a home loan, personal loan etc.; find out about insurance policies offered by the bank; get details about the fixed deposit rates and tenures; find out how to change your ATM PIN number; complain about problem with withdrawing cash from the ATM; or even simply asking for branch location information. Contacting the customer care no. (or any of the many numbers listed) will help resolve all your banking queries speedily and effectively.

Specific customer care help lines

Apart from general help lines and those for credit card enquiries, many banks also offer dedicated phone lines for specific departments. For instance, banks with a strong NRI customer base have customer service numbers exclusively to handle the requests of their NRI clients

Similarly, some banks have help desks to help with loan or deposit enquiries. If a bank gets a lot of customer queries regarding loans, they might set up a helpdesk for customers to deal exclusively with matters relating to loans. This helps shorten the response time and enables banks to focus on a service and offer more speedy, informed and efficient service to the customer.

For example, a bank might be getting queries from customers about their home loan schemes – what is the loan tenure, the interest rate, the maximum loan amount offered, processing fees, is there any prepayment penalties, late payment penalties, are there any special interest rates for women borrowers, documents required, eligibility criteria. Also, in the case of customers who have applied for a loan – have their loan application been processed, if yes when the funds will be disbursed, if no why the loan was rejected, what is the payment balance.

Another example is a dedicated NRI desk would help overseas customers with forex questions, or with details for opening an NRE or NRO account. It would answer questions specific to NRI customers like foreign exchange transactions or money transfers. There might also be different rates and terms for fixed deposits for NRIs or on loans as compared to domestic customers. A dedicated help desk will have staff that are specifically trained in the department and will be able to quickly offer specialized information.

People living overseas might want a trusted channel to buy insurance from or to make investments through. If the bank has a reliable reputation among their friends or family for good customer service, then they might decide to give their business to them.

Internet banking help desk: With internet banking rapidly gaining popularity among customers, banks are beginning to set up a helpdesk expressly to answer queries related to eBanking and provide support to those who want to get started with it. Certainly, there are several questions that a customer new to e-banking will have – from how to register for it and get a user name and password, how it works, what information is available and what transactions are possible with Net Banking. Increasing adoption of Net Banking by customers for routine queries like account balance or statement, also frees up the customer care resources of the bank that could be redirected more efficiently elsewhere.

Customer care via SMS: While toll free or charged phone numbers have long been a staple of customer care, banks are now increasingly turning to customer care via SMS. You can send a message to a dedicated mobile number to hotlist a lost card, to check your account balance, or to ask for a statement among multiple other service requests. This form of mobile phone customer service is another way banks enable customers to resolve routine service requests independently and instantly, without having to spend time on contacting a customer care representative either by phone, fax or email. From the bank’s perspective, having customers resolve their queries on their own via dedicated SMS numbers also frees up the bank’s customer care support to take care of more complex queries.

Grievance Redressal

All banks have a well-structured grievance redressal mechanism to take care of any complaint that a customer might have. Most banks usually aim to get the issue resolved at the Branch Manager level for immediate resolution of the customer problem. However, if the customer is unsatisfied with the response, he/she can escalate it to the Nodal Officer or the Regional/Principal Nodal Officer for higher level attention. Most banks ensure that they acknowledge and reply to the grievance within 10 days of receipt. If the customer is still unhappy with the way the complaint has been handled, he/she can approach the Banking Ombudsman for redressal, as the last recourse. The details on how to contact the Ombudsman are listed on the Reserve Bank of India website. All banks take the issue of grievance redressal very seriously and make every effort to make sure that the customer is satisfied with the resolution of the matter.

Some banks in India also have a ‘Customer Day’ on a fixed date, once a month, where customers can meet with executives of the bank with no prior appointment. Customers can use this opportunity to meet with top executives to request additional support or to discuss any other matter with reference to their banking relationship.

Feedback

Sometimes you want to express your appreciation to the bank or offer suggestions or comments based on your customer experience. Banks are always only too happy to hear of any particular experience that you are satisfied with or unsatisfied with where your feedback on how a product, service or process can be improved. Many banks have an online form that you can fill in and submit on their website to give feedback. Alternatively, you can write to the officer concerned with your thoughts and comments.

This is welcomed by banks as they help the bank to know what the customers think about the bank, the brand and their product. Customers are the best way a bank can know the holes or problems in their business otherwise not known to the management. Also, when the feedback becomes actionable and executed by the bank it gives the customer a satisfaction that they are heard and taken care of.

To conclude, customer care is a service that banks care deeply about. For customers, it is a quick and easy way to get any doubt, query, or clarification resolved without spending time having to make a physical visit to the bank. Customer care desks are becoming increasingly streamlined and time- efficient. New technologies in the field of Net Banking and Mobile Banking ensure that the customer experience is smoother and speedier than ever before, and banking business can be carried out independently at any time and from any place. The future of customer care is only going to get brighter!

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