When Vijayawada-based Vijaya Prasad walked into his bank branch for a gold loan only to be rudely turned away by the clerk behind the counter, all he did was shoot off a one-word SMS to his bank 'Unhappy'.
Within minutes, not only did he get a call from the bank's call centre, the branch manager personally sought him out and cleared his gold loan in just one hour flat. Over 16,000 disgruntled bank customers like Prasad have found to their delight that one SMS did for them what months of running around from one bank branch to the other could not.
But these are no happy experiences of satisfied customers banking with swanky private banks. Hold your breath, this is a unique paperless and instant customer grievances redressal initiative being pilot-tested by the state-run State Bank of India (SBI) in Andhra Pradesh in a bid to don a customer-friendly avataar.
What's more interesting is that SBI, which has for long been weighed down with an image of being a slow-moving 'sarkari outfit', has not only designed the software for the system in-house, it has gone one step ahead and filed for a global patent for the initiative branded as the 'Unhappy Service'.
"We filed a patent for our 'Unhappy service' last month after extensive research indicated something similar had never been attempted anywhere in the world," Diwakar Gupta, deputy managing director (national banking group), SBI,told TOI.
In fact, so impressed was SBI chairman O P Bhatt with it that he has decided to replicate it nationwide. The service is expected to go national by the end of the year.
Run out of an obscure looking, paperless room that sits in one corner of SBI's AP headquarters in Hyderabad, the 'happy room', as it is nicknamed, is the nerve-centre of SBI's happy customer drive. It is manned by a Happy Team' of just four SBI employees who resolve customer complaints filed through sms to a single number — 80082020202.
"We have resolved over 16,000 customer complaints pertaining to 1,100 SBI branches in AP with this service. Even customers from other states, who have dealings with any branches in the state, have got redressal through this service," said Shiva Kumar, chief general manager, AP Circle, SBI.
Source: Economic Times