Innovation and Bank Customer Satisfaction

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By Obinna Chima

As the structure of banking in Nigeria continues to evolve, issues of customer satisfaction are increasingly becoming the focus of financial institution. From the banking hall to the numerous alternative banking channels, banks are developing platform to ensure that their customers get the best of services amid the rising competition in the industry and dwindling revenue.

In the last two decades, bank customers have not only surged in number but have continued to manifest changes in lifestyle and behaviour. This customer lifestyle evolution has made innovations in financial products and servicesdelivery a necessity, as banks have to create, and recreate financial products to be in line with current social and business realities; and, ensure that these product innovations meet the rapidly changing choices of the customer.
In fact, changes in customer lifestyle has followed the unprecedented breakthrough in technology, which changed the way business transactions are conducted and the way we live.
In the 2016 EY Global Consumer Banking Survey, which gauged the relevance of banks in meeting the rapidly changing choices of the customer, the report stressed that excellent customer service is key to success in Africa’s banking sector
Indeed, the report noted that whereas just three years ago, banking customers said that the financial stability of their bank was the top reason they were maintaining their banking relationship, today’s banking customers are clearly more focused on the service they receive from their bank.

It is worth noting, however, that while financial stability fell into second place as a primary reason for maintaining a bank account in the report, it remained a key factor for almost a quarter of Africa’s banking customers
“In part, the shift away from financial stability reflects the growing strength of Africa’s banking markets and regulation. But it is also being driven by increased awareness of customer rights (largely the result of successful national financial inclusion programs) and greater competition between players. At the same time, Africa’s diaspora and business travelers are returning home with increased expectations of their banks based on their international experience.

“This points to a valuable opportunity for Africa’s banks to differentiate themselves based on excellent customer service which, in turn, should allow them to increase market share and improve loyalty amongst existing customers,” it added.
That is why as banks this week marked the Customer Service Week, the need for the to pay greater attention was brought to the fore. Taking place annually during the first full week in October, Customer Service Week is an international event celebrated throughout the world. The theme for Customer Service Week 2016 was “Service Champions,” which reflected the vital role representatives play in creating a positive experience for each customer, even in sometimes difficult situations.

For Diamond Bank Plc, one of the leading banks in the country, the financial institution has continued to make customer satisfaction as well as the changing lifestyles of its customers the focus of its brand strategy.
In fact, in the recent poll conducted by leading KPMG, Diamond Bank was ranked as one of the top three most customer-focused banks in the country. Participating in a keenly contested category, the bank emerged overall third best in the customer satisfaction index (CSI) with 73.5 points in 2016.
Diamond Bank has maintained a customer-centric strategic mix; passionately leading the revolution in mobile banking innovations and financial inclusion of the un(der)banked in the country. Its mobile app is the most downloaded and registered in the financial services sub-sector, with over 1.5 million users.
The bank’s Diamond Ye’llow account has remained the most successful in the country, with over five million account holders in two years and through its monthly DiamondXtra draws, Diamond Bank has given out N4 billion to its loyal customers in the last five years, while setting aside N600 million for its loyal customers this year.

The bank had stated that it remains very passionate about its customers, and is continually looking for ways to improve its services in line with developing trends.
It added: “Diamond Bank Plc is a customer driven bank and the quality of our services embodies our mantra which is centered on going beyond banking to achieve customer satisfaction. We are unflinching in our resolve to constantly deploy new technologies and digital applications to drive financial inclusion, convenient banking and enhanced customer friendly services. This rating is a confirmation of our resolve and focus, and reinforces our standing as a bank for the people.”

Investing in the Future
Diamond is particularly interested in Young people because they represent the bank’s strategic vision as an organisation of providing superior value and technology-based innovation. The bank stressed that the buying power of this segment that account for more than half of the population in Nigeria, also makes this engagement a strategic imperative. At the same time, our expansion into the retail market requires that we focus on this group.
“Our core corporate social activity in this area focuses on training and equipping students of tertiary institutions in underserved states across the country with (ICT) and Entrepreneurial Skills. This approach will not only provide youths with practical skills that make them employable but will also serve as a source of livelihood through IT Skills development,” it added.

The initiative was implemented in partnership with Paradigm Initiative of Nigeria, a foremost ICT firm in Nigeria. Paradigm Initiative Nigeria (PIN) is a social enterprise that connects underserved Nigerian youth with Information and Communication Technology (ICT) opportunities, with specific concern about the ill effects of unemployment and cybercrime among other vices that limit the potential contribution of young Nigerians to the nation’s economy. PIN would provide trainees with continued post-program mentorship and support for a period of six months after graduation.
Also recently, Africa’s first Nobel Laureate, Professor Wole Soyinka and the Lagos State Government commended Diamond Bank for its leading role in championing the intellectual development of children and the growth of art in primary and secondary schools.

Speaking at the unveiling and announcement of the 2016 edition of the Vision of the Child (VOTC) painting and literary arts competition recently, the Deputy Governor of Lagos State, Dr. Idiat Oluranti Adebule, stated that Diamond Bank’s initiative and sponsorship of the competition since its inception in 2012, was a testament of the bank’s strong commitment to the future of children, pointing that such commitment serves as a wake-up call to other corporate organisations to support and participate in various programs aimed at boosting the quality of education in the State.
On his part, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Diamond Bank, Uzoma Dozie, reaffirmed his commitment to continue to support laudable projects involving the education of children and the growth of art in the country.
He stated that the growing innovations in technology points to a future where machines will play leading roles in business, thereby leaving only individuals who have the ability to give insight and vision to be the drivers of the future.

“We believe that the VOTC is at the forefront of that future by creating this platform for children to create pictures from information around them thereby grooming them to take over the affairs of the business world and the nation as a whole,” Uzoma added.
Prof. Wole Soyinka, the initiator of the VOTC, said this year’s theme was designed to herald the 50th anniversary of Lagos as a State. The anniversary is billed to hold in 2017.
He added: “Childhood is an invaluable time in an individual’s life which should be filled with sweetness and light. However, the past few editions of the competition have revolved around gloomy themes as we realize that life also has its ugliness and pain, and it is in acknowledging these that we can all share in the collective responsibility for good”.

Customer Security
The Security Standard Council, the global union of major payment card issuers recently re-certified Diamond Bank Plc with the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) Version 3.0 certificate. The certification was for the bank’s debit and credit cards and stand as a stamp of approval that Diamond Bank’s network architecture, software design, security policies, procedures and protective practices conforms to global security standard and will help prevent card and data fraud in card-based transactions by its customers anywhere in the world.

The move was to ensure greater security in the transactions of its customers.
The PCI DSS standard requirements were developed by the five major payment card issuers, which include Master Card, VISA, America Express, Discover and JCB International. The standard is a benchmark for assessing the level of compliance with safety, security and protection of customers from data fraud by skillfully and accurately evaluating account data via the Bank’s IT network infrastructure and security policies.

Expressing the Bank’s delight on the certification by the PCI Security Standards Council, the bank’s Head,Corporate Communications, Ayona Trimnell, had said she was pleased to receive the certificate after the rigorous audit exercise.
“The award of the PCI DSS certificate marks the end of a rigorous audit exercise that saw Control Case LLC, a United States based Qualified Security Assessor and one of the world’s best Qualified Security Assessors validate the various frameworks we have put in place to ensure our customers carry out card-based transactions in a secured environment. We are pleased to receive this award as it further demonstrates our unrelenting drive to provide unparalleled customer experience,” she added.