working towards great client service

Trust – the secret Weapon for United Organization and Client Retention

Words by Pham Thi Dang Dung (s3343750)

Upon working in customer service department of any bank, many of graduates usually think “Hmm, I could gain a lot of money when working in a bank’s customer service, but I have to serve customers, and I don’t like at all”. That is the response when she answered my first question after the brief introduction: “Could you please share with me the most interesting experience when you’re working in customer service department?”

Paused for moment, she continued: “As the person who acts as a bridge between customers and the company, I have to serve them, but figuratively, not literally”.

Yes, our conversation started like that, and it created a curious feelinginside my head. What she actually means by figuratively?


 Figure 1: Huynh Mai Lien – Premier Relationship Manager at HSBC Bank (taken by Loc Nguyen)

She is Huynh Mai Lien, a premier relationship manager in HSBC bank, one of the largest and most prestigious banks in the world. With experience in client management field, she shares with me that in the 3-year working, she has never let any clients disappointed, even the most difficult ones. You now are becoming curious, longing for the secret behind her success. Keep going along with my story.

After the talk, my mind was open to a new horizon. Serve means building and maintaining long-term customer relationships. Each organization and manager has their own list of factors they think important. In her case, the so-called point is trust.


Figure 2: Reproduced from Vagawi (2011)

  • Trust within an organization and trust between the company and client

Within an organization? Complicated?

Trust has a number of important benefits for organizations and their members, and influences several vital properties of organizations (McEvily, Perrone & Zaheer 2003). Galford & Drapeau (2003) say trust within an organization is further complicated than trust between the company and customer. Nevertheless, in a premier manager’s perspective, in the professional workplace like bank, trust within the organization has been well-established from the top-down that makes the staff easily base on. Thus, they trust, feel open and cooperate with each other regardless the promotion, in case they need help. Ms Lien agrees the most of those who work in customer service department are girls, and girls really like gossip. However, bad gossips about colleagues rarely happen within the bank’s office as the manager does not allow these kinds of thing exist. The evidence is that for years she has worked for this bank, she has never heard of and got complaints regarding internal issue.

That’s it, trust within organization sounds easy to create and maintain, not hard like rumors usually said. Gossip, compete, etc. in order to get the promotion do not exist in the customer service in bank at all. I think newbie who first joins in the organization on the first day should behave yourself, be responsible, etc. that is how you can gain trust from other colleagues. Once you gain it, try to keep and build it, because it’s the strong background and foundation for the next crucial step.

“The best weapon of a bank to help it survive is how to gain and build trust from its customers”.

Building client trust in your organization and your products or service is the key to build a successful business (Ghosh & Roy 2011). It’s vital for the survival of any business. Perhaps because of the HSBC bank’s well-known reputation in the world as it is one of the world’s largest banks which ranked at third in top 60 (Relbanks 2013). Ms. Lien shares it can be one of the advantages of HSBC in terms of acquiring customers. As mentioned above, she agrees that building trust is extremely important, so after winning other competitors and surely acquiring customers, what should we do next in order to retain them alongside building trust. Ms.Lien also asserts: “Client retention is much harder than client acquisition”. It’s quite true, I think, because bank service is like a FMCG product, try it first, if it’s good, continue use it, if it’s bad, then switch to another.

1. First impressions matter – always prepare yourself

Figure 3

Figure 3: Reproduced from Wilson (2012)

“Once they come in the office, there was an established mind in their head that they somehow chose your bank, and somehow you’ve already succeeded in acquiring them”, said Ms. Lien. Then, whether they stay or not all is up to you, client-company representative. First impression is the key for a long lasting relationship (Hall 2009). By the time clients look at the customer service officer, the way she dresses up helps clients make the next important decisions. Regardless of levels of clients, that person always needs to dress conservatively and be prepared. Ms. Lien said that she has met many demanding clients with unreasonable requirements. In those situations, being patient is worth; also, detailed, careful explanation and friendly attitude are essential

2. Proactivity within client-company relationship


Figure 4: Reproduced from Miscellany (2011)

Strong customer-employee relationship can build customer confidence. Therefore, customer service officer needs to actively perform over and above to client demands. The company proactivity within client relationship is believed to be essential to improve client satisfaction, which lead to client retention (Beverland, Farrelly & Woodhatch 2007). Thus, the word ‘proactivity’ concludes a very large meaning.

Being proactive is not difficult; just make sure you add values to your clients. Ms. Lien shared with me although she’s been in this department for years, she thinks she can counsel to her clients in the simplest and clearest way so that they feel easy to understand and make the final decision. However, some clients don’t find it easy to understand, there’s one type that will ask a lot, and like said above, you should be patient and willing to respond to their answers. Another type is that while you are explaining, they just nod their head. Then, you must sometimes stop and ask them whether they are clear or not. Putting an eye on client’s facial expression in order to guess their feelings are extremely crucial, know how to stop, continue or even make joke at the right time.

Sometimes, calling directly to the in-charge client and friendly ask them their feeling about the current service; or even ask them random things around their lives just want to show our care for them.

Or unexpected things might happen, update right away to clients.

At the end, I understood her metaphor, serve clients figuratively yet not literally. In any company, we should follow the fundamental marketing relationship ladder, acquire clients, ‘serve’ them, build trust and retain them.


Figure 5: Reproduced from Payne (1994)

Thanks to Ms. Lien, we gained several useful experiences. Make sure you remember all key points, just go to ‘My Computer’, create ‘Trust’ file and save these paths as follow.

D:\Within Organization\Not Complicated\Avoid Gossip\Open\Cooperate\Happy

D:\Client and Company\Client Retention\Impression\Appearance\Personality\Be Patient\Preparedness\Advertise Honestly\Proactivity\Tell the Truth\Honor Promises\Be Responsive\Safeguard Privacy\Problem Solving\Account Manager Wannabe\You

There you go, ready for the real workplace working as an account manager.

zun and mentor

Proof of Life (taken by Vi Nguyen)

Word Count: 1115


Beverland, M, Farrelly, F & Woodhatch, Z 2007, “Exploring the Dimensions of Proactivity within Advertising Agency-Client Relationships”, Journal of Advertising, vol. 36, no. 4, pp. 49-60.

Galford, R & Drapeau, AS 2003, ‘The Enemies of Trust’, Harvard Business Review, February, pp. 89 – 95.

Ghosh, L & Roy, S 2011, ‘Importance of ‘Trust Factor’ in Corporate Branding’, IUP Journal of Business Strategy, vol. 8, no. 4, pp. 55-62.

Hall, M 2009, Soft skills at work: First impressions may be the last impressions, if you aren’t careful, Annapolis, United States, Annapolis.

McEvily, B, Perrone, V & Zaheer, A 2003, ‘Trust as an organizing principle’, Organization Science, vol. 14, no. 1, pp. 91-103.

Miscellany 2011, ‘The Proactive Marriage. Change Beginning with {You.}’, image, Ken Patterson, viewed 12 May 2013, <>.

Payne, A 1994, ‘Relationship marketing – making the customer count’, Managing Service Quality, vol. 4, no. 6, pp. 29-31.

Relbanks 2013, ‘Barclay International Banking’, Relbanks, homepage, viewed 12 May 2013, <>.

Vagawi 2011, ‘Can You Ever Trust Your Addict’, image, Recovering You, viewed 12 May 2013, <>.

Wilson, JC 2012, ‘Last impressions’, image, Jeremycwilson, viewed 12 May 2013, <>.


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2 thoughts on “Trust – the secret Weapon for United Organization and Client Retention

  1. Wow! Finally I got a blog from where I know how to in fact get useful facts concerning my study andd knowledge.

    -“and girls really like gossip…” SO TRUE!
    -“whether they stay or not all is up to you…” I LIKE THIS…
    -“counsel to her clients” COULD USE A SPECIFIC EXAMPLE FOR THIS
    -“Putting an eye on client’s facial expression” VERY INTERESTING TIP
    -“just go to ‘My Computer’, create ‘Trust’ file and save these paths as follow.” I LOVE HOW YOU WRAP-UP THE ARTICLE!

    Overall good job. Symbolic images can be improved- make them have the same ‘look and feel’. Also the links to academic resources suddenly tapered-off towards the end of the article. But quite an enjoyable read, great resource person. ~Mel C

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