Interview Kanovich

Olga KanovichMember of the Management Board,
Senior Vice President
>> Sberbank is one of the country’s oldest organisations, which has seen changing generations, political and economic systems. The Bank’s social responsibility is our 170-year history

I am very proud to say that in 2011 we were able to achieve all the objectives we set for the year. We substantially improved the management of back office processes, met all targets with regard to transforming the quality of the back office function and improved workforce productivity by over 30%. And all of this was achieved without a single disruption in the Bank’s operations.

Handling customer complaints is a live feedback channel, which helps us understand what should be improved, how we can quickly rectify deviations unavoidable in the Bank’s work, and how we can prevent such deviations in the future. Through spirited efforts, we were able to build a complete complaint and claim management process virtually from scratch in a much shorter time than many other organisations need to achieve comparable results.

Today the process of handling customer complaints and claims at Sberbank is as follows: first, a customer encounters a problem. If the problem cannot be resolved immediately, the Bank files a claim or a complaint. The next stage is a back office investigation. Depending on the problem, the investigation can be a very long process requiring an expert examination, or a very simple one, requiring minutes or seconds to make a decision. The third stage is making a decision on the complaint or claim, and the last step is the execution of the decision. If the claim is recognised as legitimate by the Bank, this execution involves transferring money to the customer’s account. For complaints, the Bank sends a substantive response to the customer. We believe that at Sberbank, there should be no customer complaints at all; therefore we use our motivation system and other mechanisms to ensure that handling customer requests immediately becomes second nature to our employees.

We believe that at Sberbank, there should be no customer complaints at all; therefore we use our motivation system and other mechanisms to ensure that handling customer requests immediately becomes second nature to our employees

To us, the main development in 2011 was the creation of an integrated bank-wide system for filing and handling customer complaints, which allowed us to centralise this process and make it more transparent. Now we are able to analyse the volume and structure of customer complaints and their handling time. A significant portion of our work deals with the most transaction-intensive business areas: card transactions and other transactions by our retail customers. Unquestionably the main objective here is improving the Bank’s response time. We are working to create conditions that support instant decision-making on most customer complaints. This is not as simple as it may seem: numerous technology and infrastructure solutions are required to support this. Centralisation of our complaint handling process benefits the quality of customer service by improving the Bank’s response time to both immediate problems and their causes.

Leading global experts have said our back office transformation process has been implemented in an unprecedentedly short time, given the geography of Sberbank’s operations and the volume of transactions. Our current back office transformation objectives encompass three main areas: maximising process automation and reducing dependence on the human factor, improving employee engagement and skills, and, finally, improving employee motivation and creating as comfortable working conditions as possible.

Over the last four years working conditions in Sberbank’s back offices have undergone substantial changes in almost all regions. Alongside the transformation of the back office function, we launched a largescale process to move back offices to new premises specially designed and built for them. These sites have been built and equipped in line with global best practice. We believe that employees can best focus on their work when they have access to all the social facilities they may require. Facilities available to employees include cafeterias, gyms and medical services. I can confidently say employee perceptions of back office jobs have changed dramatically over the last four years: previously there was little interest in working in such a position, but now this is one of the most attractive places to work within the Bank.

Given the geography and scale of Sberbank’s operations, our corporate service standards affect the quality of life of our customers. Our Mission states that the Bank is committed to making people’s lives better. If this is true, if the Bank’s products and services do make our customers even a little bit happier, then customers will come back to us because I can’t think of a single person who would not return for more happiness.

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