TQM IN PUBLIC SECTOR BANKS


       U. Surya Rao, Prof and Head, Dept of Management Studies,
            Madurai Kamaraj University, TamilNadu, India.

  C. Swarnalatha Raju, Assistant Professor, Dept of Management Studies,
K.L.N. College of Engg, Pottapalayam 630611. Part time scholar in Madurai
                  Kamaraj University, Tamil Nadu, India.

       Delivering higher levels of service quality is the strategy that is increasingly
being offered as a key to service provider’s efforts to position themselves more
effectively in the market place. All most all banks perform same functions. Therefore,
customer takes into account the relative efficiency while choosing a particular bank.
Moreover, banks carry on business with public money and therefore customers expect
better service from them. Customer’s decision to patronize one and not the other is
based on quality service offered to him. Banks therefore, prosper or decline depending
upon the quality of service they provide to their customer. Servicing a client is
different than selling a tangible product to customers. It requires a different
motivation, a different mindset, Recognition of service quality as a competitive
weapon is relatively a recent phenomenon in the Indian banking sector. Bank at times,
did not feel the need to pay attention to service quality issues and they assigned very
low priority to identification and satisfaction of customers needs. The need of the hour
is to build up competitiveness through enhanced service quality thus making the
banks more market oriented and customer friendly.
                              THE PAST SCENARIO

The bank in my place, in which I have, observes from 10 am to 2 pm timings. The
shutters are upped at 10 am but rarely any one of the bank persons is at his or her seat
before 11 am .Then they keep leaving their seats for coffee breaks, gossip breaks,
water – taking breaks etc, at 2 pm sharp, the shutters are downed. The passbook
printer is always out –of-order; the drafts cannot be issued as it is the salary week.
They cannot be issued in other weeks because of shortage of staff. The chequebooks
are out of stock and you have to implore the bank manager or accountant to allow the
withdrawal of your ownmoney by a withdrawal form. The bank manager and other
employees working in the bank may call themselves bankers, but they are not in
banking services.

Have you ever wondered why these organizations who have failed to take care of their
customers? Their customers are totally dissatisfied with their services. The single
most important reason is their clients are forced to cling to them because they have no
choice, they are helpless.

But the times are changing and changing fast. More and more private players are
entering these fields with more caring attitude towards the customers, with more
sophisticated tools and equipment as aids to servicing, and with a new zeal, a new
enthusiasm, to help the clients and to serve the customers. The day is not far when
these giants organizations will wither away and they will be forced to serve their

Service is “experienced” by the customers, and it touches their lives everyday, and in
many cases every moment.

The dramatic growth of the service industry has enabled every Indian to reach out to
anyone in the world, from any coner of the country. Banking which was restricted to a
handful of people a few years ago, has spread to every street, with a private / public
sector bank offering convenience and innumerable facilities to people.
New Trends In Services Distribution And Delivery

Innovative strategies for distributing and delivering services ensure a better
competitive advantage over rivals and can give a service provider the edge to get
ahead of the competition.

Banks – until a decade ago, banks were brick and mortar institutions that usually
allowed customers to conduct there banking needs between 10 am to 5 pm. The
customer would have to go to the bank come rain or shine is they wanted their work
done. But now a plethora of initiatives have transformed the distribution and delivery
of banking services. Apart from extending the hours (9 am to 8 pm) Customers can
transact with their bank using
* The Internet
* The ATM
* The telephone
* Call the banks representative home.
What is noteworthy is that by enabling customers more convenience, the bank has not
won the hearts of customers, but also technology- enabled automated systems. This
resulted in lesser transaction costs for banks.
    Type of interaction between the               Service Distribution and Delivery
    Customers and service provider                             Methodology
* Customers going to the service provider * Make services easily accessible               to
                                              customers (location should be)
                                              * make the process of service         delivery
                                              smooth , easy and enjoyable                for
                                              customers ( they should feel welcome at
                                              the venue)
*Service provider coming to the customer * Give complete details of the service
                                              aspects to the customers to enable easy
                                              decision making (a detailed brochure)
                                              * Go prepared to ensure that the
                                              specifications     cater   to   the    unique
                                              conditions of the customer.
    Type of interaction between the             Service Distribution and Delivery
    Customers and service provider                           Methodology
   *Customers and service provider need            Delivery        should     be   easily
meet to transact.                                   accessible to the customers and at
                                                    least attendant cost.
                                                   When interaction is not direct,
                                                    care should be taken to explain in
                                                    detail    all    aspects   (especially
                                                    financial charges, etc.) to ensure
                                                    there is no room for doubt).

Importance Of Superior Customer Service.
The use of a service has been based on
 1. Service quality
 2. Quality of service delivered
 3. Commitments
 4. Continuous innovations
 5. The First experience with the service and
 6. Simplicity of the process acquisition.

An organization exists to meet the needs of the customers and to serve them. To serve
the customers better, the organization should focus on its employees, who provide the
service to the customers, and make them an integral part of the service strategy.
Combining this with the technological advancements, which enable quicker and better
services a services organization, can arrive at the right formula for success in the
service industry. Once an organization develops a strong set of people and technology
to provide seamless service experience to customers, the same becomes a competitive
advantage for the firm. Service quality due to people and technology can also translate
into a key differentiator for the service provider and can be leveraged while marketing
the service provider and can be leveraged while marketing the service. Superior
service cannot be delivered unless the firm has a highly committed and customer-
oriented team.
The Gaps In Service Quality
The following reasons can be attributed to this:
    Word of mouth, past experience and brand promise through communication lead
     to a certain level of service expectation among the customers.
    This expectation is continuously being benchmarked against what the customer
     gets in reality, during his interaction with the service provider.
    The gap between what was expected and what is perceived/experience in reality
     decides the satisfaction score that the customer finally gives to the brand/service

Why does this Gaps Occur?
    Under-preparedness of the organization to meet the customers’expectation and
    Wrong inputs and wrong promise to customers leading to wrong bill and
    Lack of training, inadequate manpower and continuouse attrition to the ablity to
     mange the customer service on a sustainable basis.
    Use of new technology to support the back-end operation, which results in delay
     in understanding and implementing new system
    Continuous promotion and focus on new customer additions, giving no time to
     correct the past issues with customers, leading to accumulation of problems with
     all customers.
    Low morale, due to high pressure to set things right quality. The higher the
     pressure on the employees, the less they will enjoy working, and that is the
     beginning of the customer service.
    Highly centralized processes, which are not customer-centric, delaying the
     decision, marking to solve customer issues. Most customers go out of the
     service, when their issues are not resolved in time.
      Low empowerment levels for customer interfacing employees.
The higher the gap in performance versus promise, the lower will be the reliability
with the service provider, which will eventually limit the growth of the service and
every time this gap is experienced by the customers in the service delivery, the more
space the service provider cedes to its competitors.
Ten Critical Elements to Remove these Gaps
      Communication: The communication strategy should promise less, and must
       be developed only after thorough preparedness of the entire sales and service
       delivery team. In addition, the customers should be continuous informed of
       changes, new introductions and benefits.
      Make Tangible the Intangible: Through the service is intangible, it can be
       tangible through product/ service benefits, aesthetics and continuous
       innovation. Telephony service, internet banking, has all revolutionized
       customer experience.
      Reliability: Ability to consistently deliver the promised service will make the
       service reliable, and reduce the gaps in customer experience.
      Responsiveness: Willingness to listen and respond to customers in time is the
       most critical element the customers look for.
      Assurance: The trust and assurance the employess can bring to the customer
       can make help in removing the gaps. The assurance should be clearly
       understood by the customers, and should be made only after through checking
       internally on what is possible.
      Empathy: Caring and personalized attention to customers will play a big role
       in removing the gaps, as customers do not want to be treated as another
       complainant, but as an individual with a unique complaint.
      Empowerment: Service organization cannot be run top to bottom, and
       decisions cannot be the domain of a few top managers. Every employee
       interfacing with the customers should have empowerment levels clearly
       defined, in order to handle the customers’ issues effectively and to remove the
       gaps in the service delivery quickly.
      Measure: Every customers related activity should be measured daily, be it
       customer care operations, billing, collection, complaints, query resolutions,
       touch points. Only when you measure, improvements are possible and every
       one becomes alert.
      Walk the Talk: In a service organization, every one should follow this credo
       from top to bottom, to develop trust among customers.
      Customers Relationship: The Customers who enjoyed good relationship
       become the service champions in the marketplace, replacing the need for
       advertisement. The expectations of the customer can be understood, fine tuned
       and met through continuous interactions and feedback process.

Suggestions For Improving Quality Services
      The service industry is set to dominate the Indian Banking economy, and its
       contribution will grow to over 70% of the GDP, like it has been witnessed in
       the USA and European countries. This means, higher opportunities for work
       force in service and better customer –service standards in all areas.
      Bank will continue to dominate the service industry and the same will require
       strong service strategy, better technologies and better people.
      Investment in people and their development is critical for the success of
       services marketing.
      A mixture of high technology and high touch service will exists in the service
       market. At any point of time, we will have a few customers who need to be
       handheld and taken care of, while the rest can be managed through indirect
       service modes. E.g.: IVRs (Interactive Voice Responses). Physical banks will
       coexist with ATMs, net banking and shopping will continue despite home
      The service strategy/ process should be flexible to acquire, serve and retain
       the customers, keeping in mind the diversity of customers.
      In the long run, it’s way a company services its customers that makes the
       difference. Customer delight does not have any boundary, and every day a
       new way of delighting the customers can be developed to make the services
       marketing an exciting field.
      The use of technology should be based on the readiness of the customers and
       employees to adopt which will ensure faster adoption and use.
      It’s not what we have to offer, but what and how the market will accept the
       same is the key to the success of technology.
      Lastly, success in sevices marketing can be achieved only through an
       intergrated operation of the entire organization and customers, guided by a
       strong service strategy. Every function should understand and anticipate
       customers’ expectations, and work together to deliver, by using the latest

Total Quality Management in Banking Service means to satisfy, delight and then
surprise all customers. Total Quality Management should concern of both
management and the employees service operations should not waste the customers’
valuable time. The choice between “speed” or “Smiles” remains an issue in service
redesign. But the real challenge is how to make banking service fast and friendly.


   1. Leonard Berry & Parusuraman.A, in marketing services
   2. Prakash C Karlapudy by managing services in the new millennium.

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