Banking Customer Service a Comparison Between USA and China Term Paper

Excerpt from Term Paper :

customer service as adopted in the U.S. And China. It has 5 sources.

In layman's terminology customer service could be defined as the way an organization keeps its customers happy. However, in reality, this is different and more complex as one go into the depth of the definition of customer service. For some customer service is about keeping the customer informed while for others it is about assisting the customer when they want and the way they want it; and yet there are others who consider customer service is the all encompassing service that organizations provide to clients as they demand it. These perceived concepts of customer service although not wrong but does not actually define it in its true essence per se. The reason is intrinsically linked with why customer service is needed and what importance does it hold in our daily lives.

Customer service according to the researcher is about way the organizations span its service to ultimately cater to the customers as and when they need without losing the organizational objectives of service deliverance. The process of customers stems from the backend and transferred to the forefront to provide service to the customers as they desire it. While many of us take customer service for granted because we are indifferent to the bad service a bank caters to us, a slow fast food counter or a spoilt vacation at a hotel resort the phenomenon exist and corporations are thriving because of it. For consumers' customer service is an elusive phenomenon as most organizations concentrate on deliverance rather than on the style and value of the service. Managers and employees are busy strategizing on deliverance of service rather than asking the question whether their service is meeting the expectations of the consumers.

On the other hand one must also consider the fact that customer service is imperative in today's corporate world and for the consumer important for meeting their day-to-day needs. Ranging from catering food to banking transactions, we greatly rely on the expert skills of these service oriented organizations to meet our needs but most of all to make our lives easier. Thus, from both the management and the customer point-of-view, customer service is a component of the business that is needed by both the deliverer and the user yet its adoption is as much elusive.

This is even acutely felt when an organization is operating in the global environment. A bank in the U.S. would have to operate differently in China as it would have to be more attune to the needs of the Chinese consumers rather than the American customers even though its base and corporate governance is American. Thus, understanding the "need" is not merely about deliverance but rather comprehending and anticipating the needs from the cultural, social and economical contexts as well. But most importantly customer service in a banking industry is about trust, norms and traditions. These have to be followed in order to better satisfy the consumers.

Thesis statement

II. Earley and Erez's theory

In today's global corporate environment, management must be equipped in dealing with multicultural management techniques that would enable it to oversee the effectiveness and efficiency of running a global organization. But before that they must understand the importance of the value of developing a multicultural framework for management. Development of such an infrastructure requires management to concentrate on the process of management right from the internal structure towards the external structure. Management must concentrate on issues like human resources management in a multicultural environment by examining the nature of the employees' aspirations, their goals and objectives and their motivation to strive higher. These must be congruent to the organizational objectives yet at times one observes that this is not the case when management fails to identify with the local people.

Christopher Earley and Miriam Erez's book "The Transplanted Executive" [1997 p. 43-66] indicate that cultural values and self-motivation can play an important role in management effectiveness and can hinder or progress management planning implementation. Diversification therefore should be the main focus for managers who are working in foreign environment. The manager must understand the motives and the source of self knowledge play in his own strategies to be able to implement and encourage the workforce to integrate it into their own work environment. Yet according to the authors this is highly critical if and when managers are not able to communicate the need for implementing the strategies as they are meant to be. Communication therefore can be the source of hindrance for the progress of organizational progress when there is a cultural communication barrier between the culture of the management and that of the workers. To eradicate, management must consider the implication of not comprehending the values, the motives and the tradition for approaching the local employees.

The author have taken the example of the U.S. And the Chinese banking environment in which the element of customer service are considered to be imperative yet both the cultures consider service differently. This is because both perceive values; cultural norms as well as business in different manners thereby making it difficult for one or another to acclimatize in the local environment should the bankers decide to establish an organization in their competitors' countries.

Traditional Chinese culture is conservative; it focuses on traditions and norms whereas in the U.S. more value is given to professionalism and friendliness. The U.S. bankers are concerned with profitability, low margins and high transactions whereas in Chinese business environment deal with the establishment of the relationship building. Banks are not institutions but rather an entity with which clients formulate long-term trusting relationships. The U.S. banking industry although bases its client dealing in the same context yet carry out its business in a different manner. Instead it focuses on professional relationships and builds trust based on these ethical codes to formulate long-term trusts. There is thus a different approach to dealing with clients in the Chinese and the U.S. servicing especially in the banking industry [1997 p. 43-66].

III. Viewing customer service from three tiers

Traditional organizations tend to follow the organizational hierarchy and departmental spread. In such a framework, management often views the different functional departments in the context that they play in the organizational progress and development. But most importantly management tend to give importance to its improvement department wise instead of concentrating on the contribution of each department in making the organization develop for the sake of business. Modern organization according to Schneider and Bowen [1995] has changed such misconceptions. In fact today's organizations base their plans and strategies on the three tiers:

A. Coordination Tier

B. Boundary Tier

C. Customer Tier

Each of the above play an imperative role in determining the direction of the organization. The evolution of such tier oriented organizations has emerged because of the increasing importance and realization that customer service has become a competitive advantage. Service oriented organizations like the banking industry greatly rely on the efficiency of the service deliverance level but at the same time it has to consider the quality of the service. When viewed from this perspective the above three key factors play a great role in succeeding the business or making it a failure.

In a multicultural-based organization where there are two differing cultures attempt to coexist in a foreign environment coordination has become an issue of great concern. The situation demands that the organization be equipped and anticipate the changing attitudes and behaviors of the consumers, on top of understanding the difference of the culture of the host country. This is difficult as diverse as Chinese and American cultures are, it is not easy to integrate both the cultures and yet at the same time balance consumer attitudes as well. Thus management has to balance internal conflict in order to achieve harmony with external environment through the customers. Customer service deliverance therefore becomes highly improbable, yet at the same time a competitive advantage for the management should it succeed in achieving the balance act.

1. Customer tier

According to Schneider and Bowen [1995] in a service oriented organization customers are the foundation for the business. Without them there is no business therefore the main aim of the organization has to focus on servicing them, catering to their needs and meeting their expectations. For every organization and depending on the service that it provides, there are certain expectations and criteria that customers judge them. For example in the banking industry it is about in-depth knowledge of the industry, the monetary environment, the kind of services available as products and the speed at which the service is being delivered. Some of the common features that customer expect are security, trust, fairness in dealings which is what service excellence is all about. Customer centric organizations in the service industry thus usually succeed better as compared to other strategies because they are keen on finding out about customers expectations and meeting them; they devise plans to cater to the customer's needs and most…

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