My background may be in civil engineering, but client service has always been my passion. In fact, I’ve been in this line for over 20 years.
I’m the head of Client Care Centre and Client Acquisitions in Retail Banking in Standard Chartered Indonesia, where I’m responsible for almost 200 staff. I’m responsible for developing, coordinating and managing strategies to provide 24/7 voice channel capability in the country to meet client needs.
I actually started as a head of Telesales when I joined the bank in April 2002. One common trait needed for both Telesales and Client Care is that you require good interpersonal skills. This is something that I picked up as I was living on my own since I was 15 – having good social skills was a necessity to flourish.
I recall telling my hiring manager back then that I may have a civil engineering degree, but this means that I’m good with numbers. I told him: In a bank, you also work with numbers. Since I’m good with numbers, we are working with the same thing! That was my ticket to enter the Bank.
What I really love about Client Care is that every day is different. Whether you are in a good or bad mood, there are certain standards to meet. You got to adhere to a script, and yet know when to be flexible. You have to be firm yet friendly. It’s very exciting and dynamic.
What I really enjoy is seeing my team grow in their roles and become so well acquainted with their clients. They just need to hear the client’s voice and they can anticipate what kind of mood he or she is in and what is needed.
I think what really makes Standard Chartered Indonesia stand out from other markets is not just the emphasis on performance, but also the ties that bind us. Our team has meals together and we are so connected with each other. If someone’s father from another unit passes away, everyone will know and send their condolences. On happy occasions, we also celebrate together. This is what is special about the Indonesia office – we care about each other and relationships matter. It’s a unique atmosphere that is hard to find elsewhere.
For example, I know the names of my almost 200 staff, their personal interests, and their family members. I am with them every day – I work with them on the floor instead of being in a separate room as I believe a manager should be “on the ground” to know what is happening.
One interesting thing about Indonesian culture is that we don’t address each other by names only, but we also attach honorifics that makes it more familial. Adult men are known as “Pak”, so a younger staff may call me “Pak Vidi”. Adult women are called “Ibu”. “Pak” and “Ibu” mean “Sir” and “Madam”, but can also be used for “Father” and “Mother”. These are just some examples of the honorifics we have here.
Lifting morale and maintaining motivation of my staff will be a key priority for me going forward. As the retail banking business is shifting to digital platforms, there will be manpower resource changes as the Bank transforms. Regardless of shifts towards digital, clients still need human interaction and this is the opportunity that my team has to be the voice of the Bank.