Banking and the changing consumer lifestyles
It is said that the only thing constant in life is change, and when one looks around the immediate environment this can be seen to be true. Nowhere is this more evident than in the banking industry.
Over the last two decades, the number of bank customers has grown and as the numbers have grown, so also have their lifestyles and behaviours evolved. Gone are the days of lining up patiently with your tally number at a bank, simply because you did not have a choice. This customer lifestyle evolution has made innovations in financial products and services delivery 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.
The importance of this is highlighted as the first week in October is celebrated as Customer Service Week around the World. Businesses and organizations carry out special events to highlight the importance of their customers and show appreciation to how they have contributed to the success of the organization and reinforce a customer-focused culture.
In fact, changes in customer lifestyle have followed the unprecedented breakthroughs in technology, which changed the way business transactions are conducted and the way we live.
Along with the technological revolution, it was inevitable that there would be changes in the customers’ lifestyle. 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 show a waning trust by customers on the ability of banks to continue to provide the necessary value additions in customer service delivery.
Although Banks Relevance Index in the provision of financial services seem not to be very cheery because of the intrusion of other non-traditional financial institutions into the financial services delivery sub-sector, a few banks have continued to create financial products and services that are well at par with technological innovations. For example, some banks even go to the extent of developing financial products and engage technology companies to develop tool to drive it.
Diamond Bank as an organization has shown itself committed to recognizing the needs of its customers and has continued to lead the revolution in meeting the ever-changing behaviour of the customer.
Diamond Bank’s digital initiative, like some other banks such as GT Bank, First Bank and Zenith, has remained revolutionary. In 2014, the CEO, Uzoma Dozie, launched a major redesign of the Bank’s digital focus and strategy aimed at expanding its channels of electronic financial services for its customers and also improve the financial lives of the under- banked and unbanked. Since then, it has improved on all its digital electronic banking services and led a number of innovative projects that have translated to rapid growth on the retail side.
According to him Diamond Mobile App features lifestyle solutions, which makes banking a convenient, exciting and unforgettable experience. He explained that the app has been upgraded to allow users make, among other exciting services, local/foreign currency transfers, foreign currency chequebook request, cheque confirmation and cancellation and many more.
In recognition of this, the Bank was recently awarded the “best bank in mobile banking in Nigeria” at the 2016 Businessday Banking Awards. The organizers said the award was in recognition of the Banks high value addition to the growth and development of mobile banking in the country and its leading role in revolutionizing and positioning the mobile phone as a tool for driving financial inclusion in the country.
Supporting Nigerian Businesses…
The Banks various efforts at encouraging and supporting Nigerians and their businesses is encapsulated in its BET (Building Entrepreneurs Today) programme. The BET programme is an SME initiative aimed at generating interest in entrepreneurship and to express the bank’s readiness to support and encourage entrepreneurs in Nigeria. The CEO says that the programme is not about financing, but about providing access to advisory services, market potentials and countless opportunities.
A Three million naira grant is provided to the winners of the BET programme. The individuals are not expected to pay back the money but rather channel it into growing their businesses. Uzoma said the programme was geared towards equipping businesses and their owners in order to create more jobs in Nigeria.
The Bank has also introduced new ways in which technology could be used in aiding small business which include the Diamond Mobile POS (MPOS). This can be used with a smart phone and card reader. The Card reader is smaller in size than the original POS devices and also allows the user to capture information such as emails and phone numbers from buyers with the issuance of e-receipts. The MPOS is configured through the Diamond Bank POS app and pairs the MPOS with the smartphone via blue tooth.
Diamond Bank has remained the leader in promoting MSME as the engine of sustainable growth and development in Nigeria’s economy.
It also supported the Federal Government in its drive to stimulate massive growth and development in the information technology sector, and spur the creation of innovative solutions by technology Start-Ups in Nigeria.
The Federal Government project, which was tagged ‘Aso Villa Demo Day” is intended to encourage economic diversification, celebrate creativity and innovation by young Nigerians.
Investing in the future…
The Bank prides itself on going “beyond banking” and as such has involved itself in areas that are not traditionally identified with financial institutions. It has lent its support to the Lagos State Government in sponsoring the Vision of the Child painting and literary arts competition since its inception in 2012 because it believes in “contributing to the growth, development and nurturing of children”.
Diamond Bank has maintained a customer-centric strategic mix; passionately leading the revolution in mobile banking innovations and financial inclusion of the under-banked in the country. The Bank’s Diamond Ye’llow account has remained the most successful in the country, with over five million accountholders 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, and has set aside N600 million for its loyal customers this year.
KPMG, a leading global advisory and consultancy firm, in its recent survey, ranked it among the three best in Nigeria in the customer satisfaction index (CSI).