Roza Keshishyan: customers are the Bank’s most valuable asset

29.05.2024 | 22:50 Home / News / Articles /
The public insight into the activities of banks is offered through their senior leadership – board chairmen and executive director, whereas an important part of the team remains in the shade. As part of its special project, Banks.am will talk to the heads of important, yet behind-the-scenes, divisions of banks, whose daily efforts produce tangible results in the banking sector.

The next article of the special project features Roza Keshishyan, Head of Customer Service Department at AraratBank, who spoke about the specifics of working with customers, crisis management, the imminence of incorporating artificial intelligence in the service sector, the existing challenges and the impact of digitalization on job functions.

Knowing your customer is the key to your service success

Customer service is far more than simply meeting, servicing and seeing off your customer. You can’t have a satisfied customer until you know him. AraratBank’s service staff knows precisely how to identify the additional needs and concerns of the customer and offer solutions by actively using cross-selling and upselling opportunities. Of course, to approach this task competently, our staff members are provided with ongoing training and professional improvement. By the way, each employee of AraratBank recognizes that customers are the Bank’s most valuable asset. Therefore, every effort is being made to identify the needs of customers and to elaborate services and products tailored to meet them.

Consensus between the bank and the customer

I really love my job, otherwise I wouldn't have worked in this field for so long. I’ve never imagined myself in another field. I enjoy what I do, even when I’m interacting with the most demanding customer. I normally coordinate the activities of the service staff and it’s only in complex situations that I deal with customers in person.

Customers are the driving force behind the development of the bank. Patience and attention are clearly required to work with customers. The greater the customer demand, the more motivation you get. These values appear to be directly proportional.

We often have easy-going, well-informed and financially educated customers who don’t cause inconvenience. And in some cases, customers try to make demands that contradict the terms of the legislation and bank regulations. In such cases, we should patiently explain the existing procedures to the customer.

Correct, competent and accessible description of laws and regulations to the customer contributes to reducing conflict rates, and from human interaction perspective, I always recommend our service staff to demonstrate patience and empathy towards the customer.  

People of differing backgrounds and requirements, who enter the bank during the day, should experience such a level of service that would keep them coming back for more.

In every crisis, lies opportunity

My appointment at AraratBank coincided with the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic and the war, which unfortunately affected activities of each and every one of us. During the pandemic, we had to transfer part of the staff to remote work, which was an unusual and, in some sense, an unprecedented measure. We had to confront the pandemic while ensuring an adequate standard of customer service. During the war, the regular operation of the Bank and the emotional control were our primary concerns: amidst overwhelm and stress of uncertainty, we realized that it was our responsibility to provide a reliable back for our soldiers.

It’s important to know that each crisis brings an opportunity. Despite the decline of human contact, the mode of remote customer service picked up momentum during that period. The crisis led to the introduction of a new set of tools, which later evolved to an integral part of our work routine and still continues to grow.

Reacting to a crisis without panic

As strange and sad as it is, acting in a crisis situation has become a common practice for us. Unexpected crises have made our banking system stronger and more resilient. Especially when it comes to customer service, every crisis follows its own scenario with unrepeated events. However, I will mention only one of them: Due to the situation following the enemy military action launched against the Republic of Artsakh on September 19, AraratBank decided to return the gold items pledged by borrowers in Artsakh, as the Bank could not stand aside in such a situation. Panic spread among the population: on the one hand, it was a matter of survival, and on the other hand, the desire to return the pledged gold as soon as possible. During the days of forced displacement, the Bank returned pledged gold items to more than 400 borrowers who had applied to Stepanakert branch, but the process was not yet over, and the rest of the gold items was still to be returned to Armenia. Thanks to the efforts of AraratBank, the gold items pledged in Stepanakert branch, not distributed in the branch, were moved to Yerevan. This is one of those times which clearly shows how the Bank supports its customers, setting aside financial interests.

Impact of digitization and application of AI

As in all sectors, digitalization is becoming increasingly vital in the banking sector. It allows saving time and money of the customer. Today, customers are more educated than ever in terms of using banking products, as they have started to manage their time and funds more efficiently. To rationalize and develop remote services, banks need customers who take a proactive approach and contribute to the quality of service delivery with their proposals and comments.

There is a group of customers that cannot be easily switched to a digital platform, but we continue our efforts to engage all customers in digital transformation. The whole department and I personally are always ready to provide relevant advice to all customers who are curious about innovations.

Today, the influence of artificial intelligence (AI) on the advancement of many fields, including the customer service system, is quite strong. It also makes considerable progress in the Armenian banking sector, contributing to the improvement of service quality. The AI application in the service sector is an innovation and is expected to grow further. Today, to boost effective interaction between the customer and the bank, virtual assistants are deployed to resolve frequently asked questions and offer personalized assistance, which increases user satisfaction and operational efficiency.  

Staying focused on fraud prevention  

It should be noted that the digital enhancement is affected with a growing number of cases of fraud, and the Bank always stays focused on preventing fraud against customers. Oversight in this regard is exercised by several departments of the Bank.

The Bank responds very quickly to any allegation of fraud. If, for instance, the fraudulent transaction is related to the customer's card account, the Bank takes immediate measures on blocking the card and breaking the fraud chain.

In the modern world, fraud schemes are scaling up so fast, and new cases are emerging so easily that it’s crucial to show particular vigilance and raise customer awareness, without leaving room for panic. While it’s true that no one is safe from falling victim to fraud, we strive to safeguard the system from fraudsters, applying maximum protection and ongoing education opportunities for our customers.

Read also:

Alina Tsaturyan: Head of Staff as a link between subsystems

Suren Babajanyan: Without a genuine approach to service, branding becomes a sideshow

Arpi Jilavyan

Photos: Emin Aristakesyan
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