Friday, February 24, 2012

Customer Grievances Redressal through Ombudsman

Banking Ombudsman Scheme

I have been reading and teaching on the topic of Customer Satisfaction, Service and Grievances Redressal, etc only half heartedly.  Rarely people across the counter have 'empathy' for the customer and volunteer to understand their needs, let alone solve the problems or offer suggestions politely.  Two major committees on Customer Service in Banks were headed by Chairman of State Bank of India - viz., Shri R K Talwar, the doyen of commercial banking in India and much later Shri MN Goiporia.  Several recommendations given by these two committees were accepted / implemented but there remains a standing complaint that Bankers do not understand and serve the customers.  It could be from depositors or borrowers besides the third category of service seekers like issue of a DD., sending / receiving of a remittance, issue of an LC or Guarantee, transfer of an account or funds, settlement of accounts of a deceased in favour of the legal heirs, etc.

All said and done, Ombudsman is a typically borrowed scheme or facility from British and earlier it was for insurance claims and later extended to bank accounts too.  A detailed reading of the annual report on Ombudsman 2011 by the RBI gives us a comprehensive picture of the changes that have been effected in the post reforms era as also with the introduction of technology.  Consumer Protection Act and Right to Information Act have certainly made a change in customer service.  Today, banking or any other system can not take its customer for granted.  A critical reading of the report explains the transformation in the banking system towards extending better customer service.

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