Money  

Customer satisfaction and the future of banking


As the Customer Service Week comes and goes every year, most organisations roll out the decorations and treat their customers to a week-long show of celebrating them and maybe sending them a text message or two to show they care, but in reality, customer service goes beyond just setting aside a week to show appreciation to the customer.

In other parts of the world, the customer service of an organization can make or mar the company’s reputation and can in fact have a direct effect on their bottom line, either adversely or positively.

The financial sector is not left out of this paradigm, too. In the past, the Banks held sway over the customer and dictated the tunes with customers having to wait for hours just to carry out a transaction in the Banking halls. But in recent times, Customers’ changing lifestyles and financial services need have and will continue to influence and shape how banks create financial products and market them. In the past two decades, although banks in Nigeria have reduced from about 89 to 23, the numbers of financial products and services created by these banks have increased exponentially.

These were made possible by the disruptions caused by the revolution in information technology and the market opportunities offered by these never-ending digital innovations. Indeed, nowadays it is possible to do virtually any transaction without the customer leaving the comfort of their homes.

Most business owners know that the customer is king and treat them so. And in a bid to retain their loyalty, organisations mobilise staff members, reposition systems and infrastructure to ensure that they are readily accessible to customers.

Interestingly, what differentiates organisations from their peers is the willingness and promptness to empower, reward and celebrate the customer as the king.An Ernst and Young 2016 Global Consumer Banking Survey of 55,000 consumers in 32 countries reveals that traditional banks are under threat and their relevance with consumers is waning. Therefore, traditional banks need to rethink and in some cases even revolutionize their approach to consumer relationships. To this end, the various financial institutions in the country have developed novel ways to attract customers and reward them for their loyalty.

This year alone has seen FCMB embark on the “Millionaires Promo,” Access Bank has the “Family Fortune promo”, Heritage Bank with the “Happy Days promo”, Diamond Bank with its “Diamond Xtra promo” and Fidelity Bank with the “Get Alert Promo”.

The FCMB promo is premised on the customer increasing the savings by N50, 000 and maintaining it for 30 days in order to win N2 million, for Fidelity the customer is required to grow their savings up to N20, 000 in order to qualify to win N3 million. For Access Bank customers, a minimum of four family members are to open an account with a minimum of N20,000 each, but N150,000 cumulatively for seven days to qualify for weekly draws; raised to N300,000 for 30 days for monthly draws; and maintained at that level or above for 90 days to hit the mega draw of a house, sound-proof generating set or a family car etc.

To qualify for the Diamond Xtra promo, a customer is to maintain a minimum monthly balance of N5, 000 while additional deposits will count as multiple entries and increase the customer’s chances of winning N1million, an SUV or salary for life.

Although the primary functions of these banks are to mobilise deposits, credit credits and meet customer obligations daily, through these promos, the banks have made more customers millionaires in the past decade than any other period in Nigeria.

It is estimated that over 200,000 customers have been made millionaires through different financial products and marketing promotions by banks in the last five years. And more than half of these millionaires created by the banks emerged from DiamondXtra customers.

Worthy of note here is the DiamondXtra scheme. The Diamond Xtra draws is a unique customer reward scheme tied to the DiamondXtra account proposition, which aims at stirring and promoting a savings culture among Nigerians, thereby deepening the financial inclusion initiative of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

With a deposit balance of only N5,000 in this special account, customers qualify to participate in the draws and multiples of that amount increases the depositor’s chances of winning. The DiamondXtra scheme was launched in 2008 to reward loyal customers, both old and new, through its Diamond Xtra scheme, the bank has rewarded over 6,200 of its customers from inception.

These winners have cut across all segments of the society, from those in the professional fields to the lowest artisans, as every DiamondXtra account customer has equal opportunity of winning because the draws are selected through daily transparent electronic draws.

The Head of Corporate Communications, Chioma Afe, stated that since the Bank launched the DiamondXtra reward scheme in July 2008, it has given its numerous customers the unique privilege to enjoy multiple benefits on one account, adding that the draws have produced 6,200 winners with a cumulative cash reward of over N4.7 billion.

These are figures not to be taken lightly if one juxtaposes it with the level of unemployment and large population the Nigerian populace. Taking this into cognizance, the bank has also extended its offerings to capture the growing MSME industry in Nigeria.

The Micro, Small and Medium Scale Enterprises (MSMEs) are globally regarded as the backbone of any economy. In Asia most especially, MSME’s are recognized for their competitive edge and innovation. In fact, MSMEs in developed economies have also been identified as a vehicle for employment generation and providing opportunities for entrepreneurial sourcing, training, development and empowerment.

Diamond Bank, therefore, set out and identified four major drawbacks owners of these businesses encounter and has taken steps to provide solutions in form of products and services to address these challenges/needs. It explained that it has continued to take steps in assisting MSMEs.

In recognition of this, it was named the best SME Friendly bank in Nigeria by the Nigerian-British Chamber of Commerce in recognition of its value addition to the growth and development of SMEs as the engine of industrialization in an emerging economy like Nigeria.

The bank is reputed to have the best customer-friendly banking solutions for SMEs, strictly tailored to meet each entrepreneur’s needs and requirements in the segment.

Diamond Bank has also shown strong commitment to the sector through the sponsorship of CSR initiatives such as BET programmes (Building Entrepreneurs Today), which is in its fourth year.

The financial institution intends to continue to recognise and reward its customers by always providing opportunities and schemes to appreciate them. The bank states that its monthly draws for its Diamond Xtra scheme will continue till the end of Season 9 in November 2017, where 15 winners will emerge from this draw.

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