Ebert notes that in the banking industry, “most banks are designed to control customers rather than satisfy them, while products are set to for the convenience of the bank rather than that of customers” (13). The banking industry is known for giving more priority to managing assets than they do to customer satisfaction and quality management. In any industry, “the lifeblood of business is its customers” (Ebert 3). Profits in the banking industry come from selling products and services. If customers lack the right perception about a product or service, they lack motivation to purchase it and sales go down. Customers’ perception on the other hand is driven by quality. It is for this reason that banks should base their quality standards on what customers demand.
As Rawlins explains, “Total Quality Management (TQM), which is about total customer service and continuous customer satisfaction, is applicable not only in manufacturing but in the service sector as well, where the customer is just as important” (4). For Emirates Islamic Bank, customers are more sensitive to quality since they are in constant contact with the person providing the products, as opposed to the manufacturing industry, where customers lack contact.
“The Emirates Islamic Bank in the UAE provides innovative and efficient Shari’s compliant solutions to its clients’ financial needs” (Emirates Islamic Bank 1). To achieve this, transparency, effectiveness and quality are paramount in the bank’s operations. Among the things that customers are looking for include; quality,speed, dependability, flexibility and cost are crucial.
- Quality: Quality in the banking industry is defined by customer satisfaction, a willingness to recommend someone to the bank and their level of loyalty. Quality objectives include customer focus, leadership, factual approach to decision making, and continual improvement. Stakeholders in quality management include the customers, employees and investors.
- Speed: As markets get more and more competitive, quick responses to customers’ needs are paramount. Speed in the banking industry is aimed at ensuring customers access products on time, employees clear their work on time and meet targets, investors access information on time, and decision-making on key issues is timely. Stakeholders in this process include employees, the management, customers and investors.
- Dependability: Dependability has the biggest influence on how loyal customers will be to a bank. Dependability is achieved through quality, transparency, fairness and punctuality. The Emirates Islamic Bank can achieve dependability by embracing technology to allow them to respond to stakeholders’ concerns promptly. Through mobile and internet banking, customers can reach the bank promptly. Employees have to be assured of a conducive working environment. Dependability can also be achieved through availing as much information as possible about the bank’s operations to stakeholders. Involved stakeholders include investors, creditors, customers, employees, management and community.
- Flexibility: Flexibility is the bank’s ability to embrace change, anticipate market needs, and design products that meet them at the appropriate time. Flexibility in Emirates Islamic Bank can be achieved by introducing modern products that suit customers’ current financial needs. Flexibility aims at achieving the loyalty of new clients, retention of old ones, and ease of doing business. Stakeholders concerned with flexibility include employees, customers and the management.
- Cost: In any industry, cost plays a significant role. TQM will allow the bank to improve quality, manage time, reduce complaints through improved quality and embrace technology to make work accurate. Embracing technology will allow the bank to reduce the number of employees and serve more clients in a shorter period of time. Cost objectives include cost allocation, resource management and reduced cost of doing business. Concerned stakeholders include the management, investors, employees, debtors and creditors.
Operation improvement through Total Quality Managing (TQM)
Like the manufacturing industry, the bank can use TQM to improve its operations. One way through which the bank can improve its operations is by reducing the time taken to access products and services. This includes time taken to process a loan, open a new account, deposit money and access ATM and credits cards, just to mention a few. TQM encourages time-saving techniques such as embracing technology, training and accuracy.
Emirates Islamic Bank can also improve its operations by offering custom-made services to its customers. Customers with complaints can have someone to talk to in person rather than write them down. For those who are far, the bank can set up an efficient and reliable call center. TQM will allow the bank to improve operations through friendly and efficient customer care staff, reduced timeliness for different tasks, and promptness when addressing customers’ problems.
Among the tools that the bank is using to create and control quality include logistics management, cost control and time management. Through logistics management, the bank can have documents, resources and other materials sent and received on time. By embracing technology, the bank has been able to improve accuracy when sending and receiving documents. For example, rather than using a courier to send and receive papers from one branch to the other, the bank now uses scanning. This not only saves time, but also ensures that papers reach their destination with the original information.
The bank also uses time management to control and create quality. Once again, technology has played a role in enabling the bank to do this. The creation of products such as credit and debit books has allowed customers to engage in transactions without necessarily having to go to the banking hall. The bank has a considerable number of ATMs, internet banking, phone banking and mobile banking, all intended at helping the bank deliver products to customers in the fastest time possible. These products also ensure convenience for consumers.
In retail banking, the bank has developed a wide range of products to allow solutions for each of its clients. Among the products that the bank has introduced include the Al Reem ladies banking, ETHMAR priority banking, Intaleq car finance, Small & Medium Entreprises products, just to mention a few. Such a wide range of products has allowed the bank to deal with specific problems that arise from individual users and manage them more efficiently.
Even though the Emirates Islamic Bank has gone a long way in managing quality, a few areas could still be improved. The bank has been experiencing a large number of complaints from dissatisfied customers, as evident in the UAE complaints board. Majority of the complaints arise from their credit cards operations, where transactions are not honored (Complaints board 1). From the same site, customers have complained that the bank does not send statements on time, they do not honor their promotions and offer no explanations for revised fees. The bank can use TQM to improve its service delivery through constant communication with clients, prompt response to complaints and laying down standard procedures to honor promotions.
Like every other industry, profits in the banking industry are dependent on sales volumes. If customers lack the right perception about a product or service, they lack motivation to purchase it and sales go down. Customers’ perception on the other hand is driven by quality. It is for this reason that banks should base their quality standards on what customers demand.
Like the manufacturing industry, the bank can use TQM to improve its operations. “Total quality management is the process through which a business continuously improves the quality of its products and services” (Rawlins 4). One way through which the bank can improve its operations is by reducing the time taken to access products and services. The bank can further use TQM to ensure flexibility, dependability and customer loyalty. Cost management, which is possible through TQM will allow the business to increase profitability.
Complaints Board. Emirates Bank/Emirates Islamic Bank, 2011.
Ebert, Tara. Trust as the key to loyalty in business-to-consumer exchanges trust building measures in the banking industry. Wiesbaden Gabler, 2009. Print.
Emirates Islamic Bank. Retail banking, 2011.
Rawlins, Ashley. Total quality management. Milton Keynes: AuthorHouse, 2008. Print.