Customer Experience Featured Article

Nigeria Hopes to Clean Up Banking Image with Better Customer Support

November 05, 2014

It’s no secret to anyone who has received a scam message from Nigeria asking for their bank details that financial fraud is rife in that African nation. Today, the nation’s banks are tasked with cleaning up an industry – and improving customer experience standards – in an environment that has been damaged by the explosion of financial scams.

By all reports, Nigeria isn’t a great country for banking, according to international standards, according to a recent blog post by market research analyst Karunakar Mohapatra  writing for the Web site CustomerXPs. The loss caused by fraudulent activities has cost the nation 19.06 billion Naira (over $100 million) in 2012, which is up from 1.65 billion Naira in 2000. 2008 was the worst year on record, with a loss of about 34.8 billion Naira.

According to globally set standards Nigerian banks are below par by standard. A recent infographic sourced from the Ernest & Young Banking Customer Satisfaction Survey 2013 highlighted areas of key concern in financial customer service for Nigeria, including the fact that 37 percent of customers have closed accounts with banks due to poor customer service. The actions recommended in the infographic will drastically improve customer experience and bring Nigerian banks at par with global standards, according to Mohapatra. They’re also a pretty good lesson for all financial services company.

These recommendations include:

Offering customers a channel choice. Many banking customers in Nigeria use branch locations and ATMs to do banking, and the availability of online and mobile channels – which make it convenient for customers in more rural areas – are slim. Implementation of more channels would allow customers to interact with their banks on a more convenient basis.

Give customers a reason to trust. The number one factor in trusting a financial institution is its perceived financial stability, according to the infographic. But the second most important trust factor is the quality of the customer interaction process and the reliability of the advice offered. Simply put, customers won’t do business with an institution that hasn’t earned their trust. One of the best ways to earn trust is to provide exceptional customer service each and every time.

Better problem resolution. It doesn’t matter how pleasant the bank agent at the other end of the interaction is, if the advice isn’t sound and the transaction isn’t completed to the customer’s satisfaction, the bank has lost that customer’s trust. Bank employees need better access to data and real power to solve customers’ problems in a single transaction via the customer’s channel of choice.

There’s a lesson not only for Nigerian financial services institutions here, according to Mohapatra.

“With the increasing fraudulent activities via ATMs and emails, banks are considering precautionary steps to combat the malpractices,” he wrote. “While stringent actions are being taken to prevent fraud, the customer experience is also taking a hit.”

In other words, it’s not enough to be safe, stable and secure if these qualities are achieved at the expense of customer support. 

Edited by Alisen Downey

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