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Executive Interview: Customer Service Still Key in New Banking Environment

In a transformed banking environment, what do you consider to be the most important factors for a bank to be successful?

A successful bank today needs to look outside its own organisation, and put customers’ needs at the centre of its strategy. Payment and cash management products have become commoditised in many ways, so while a customer should not take for granted  products and infrastructure, which remain essential for a robust and reliable service, we recognise the importance of investing in our people, infrastructure and operations across Europe to ensure we continue to add value for our customers. Having the right people, with the right skills, in the right roles and locations, is critical to our ongoing success. While other banks are actively hiring people as they prepare for growth, we think you need to go further and ensure that employees have the skills and experience to do their job, together with the management support and infrastructure to enable them to be effective. For example, at HSBC, we have a comprehensive sales transformation programme, overhauling our processes to enable sales staff to spend their time engaging with customers and being as responsive as possible, as opposed to dealing with administration.

Having the right people with the right skills, in the right roles and locations, is critical to our ongoing success. 

While HSBC has demonstrated considerable success and resilience throughout the years of crisis we are constantly striving to do better. To find the best ways of managing the business with the interests of our customers at the core, we have looked beyond banking for inspiration. For example, we have visited the sales and service organisations of major companies in other industries to understand how they deliver complex, customer-centric solutions, to understand best practices and apply these to our business. We are formalising deal coaching to ensure the right teams work together to construct, present and deliver innovative, robust solutions that specifically meet customers’ needs. In addition, although HSBC is often complimented on the quality of our RFP responses and other customer communications, we are also reviewing critically how we present information to customers and prospects to ensure that it is clear and specifically addresses customer requirements.