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Monday, April 5, 2010

SBI customers can get it done with 'SMS Unhappy'

By G. Naga Sridhar

Hyderabad: Mr G. Venkatram wanted a gold loan to meet an emergency expenditure from a State Bank of India (SBI) branch. But the clerk told him to come after two days, as he was busy.

Immediately Mr Venkatram sent an SMS to the SBI Head Office stating that he was “unhappy.” Within minutes, he received a call from the branch manager and the loan was sanctioned.

This is an example to highlight the efficacy of the SMS Unhappy service launched by the SBI in Andhra Pradesh.

“When we launched this in December 2009, many thought it was just hype. But we proved them wrong, by solving 71 per cent of the problems of the customers within 48 hours. This disposal rate is very rare in the industry,” Mr Shiv Kumar, Chief General Manager, told Business Line.

This is a portal-linked service, which enables a dissatisfied customer to SMS “unhappy” to 8008202020, which is connected to a “happy room” at the SBI Head Office.

Within minutes, the customer will receive a call from the Head Office.

So far, the bank has received 7,865 unhappy messages (complaints), out of which 6,990 have been resolved, officials said. A majority of the complaints pertain to ATM transactions and clearance-related matters.

“Interestingly, the system is also serving the purpose of getting valuable feedback from customers. Any kind of matter can be brought to our notice with an SMS,” he said.

All the branch managers will get pop-ups on new or pending complaints in their branch.

This keeps the staff on their feet to address problems, officials said. Once a complaint is addressed, the branch head is expected to send that in writing to the portal, which will then be updated.

“Nobody except the people concerned in the Head Office can meddle with the complaints or delete them. Our staff checks with the customers before closing the complaint,” Mr Kumar said.

Expand service
In view of the “huge success” of the service, SBI is likely to replicate the system across the country.

“However, it is up to the corporate office to decide,” said the official who first thought of the system in 2008, when he was serving in Bhubaneshwar.

“I wish all banks will adopt similar transparent systems of complaint redressal. I thank SBI for this,” reads a message sent by an elated SBI customer.

These kind of “happy messages” abound on a monitor at the SBI office.

courtesy: The Hindu Business Line


  1. great initiative; hope it works...

  2. The Service charges taken by SBI from its basic account customer are exorbitant. For instance if a customer transfers an amount below Rs. 5 lakhs by RTGS from his home bank to any other bank in India SBI would charge Rs.25/- for such transaction whereas the same SBI customer deposit a cheque of Rs.4 lakh in his home branch in the account of a beneficiary of Non-home branch, the total charge involve is Rs.600/-. This charge is exorbitant and is not justified. Schedule of charges of banks like Punjab National Bank is yet on the lower side even in basic accounts which never pinches the pockets of its customers.

    As a matter of fact, keeping in view that the SBI is a Nationalised bank and have got greater role and responsibility than other private banks. In a layman's language a private bank gives and services against profit only, but a Nationalised Bank like SBI gives more trust and focus on service to citizens than just profit.

    The SBI business would certainly grow more if matters such as these are genuinely addressed

    Rajeev Ajitsariya, Guwahati (rajsunin@gmail.com)