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How Nigerian banks ‘hustle’ for retail services

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KPMG Nigeria, in its 2019 Nigeria Banking Industry Customer Experience Survey, released in Lagos, said the nation’s banking industry are raising strategies to get more customers enlisted for retail services, as the reforms in the industry continue to reduce their “free earnings” opportunities.

According to the KPMG survey, which covered 25,466 retail customers, 3,045 small businesses and 369 commercial/corporate organisations, “after the 2017 peak, we have now seen two years of decline in overall customer experience performance in the retail segment with nearly half of the rated banks falling below the industry average.”

However, Sterling Bank Plc, emerged third best retail banking institution in Nigeria, but was singled out as one of the biggest movers in the industry since 2017 in a research that was completed across the second and third quarters of 2019 and collected via face-to-face and online survey methodology.

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Sterling Bank scored 72.1 percent, along with Access Bank, as both trailed GTBank and Zenith Bank Plc, which scored 74.2 percent and 73.4 percent to rank first and second respectively. The report said the top two performers had remained the same for the fourth consecutive year, although GTBank replaced Zenith Bank as the top-rated bank in this year’s rankings, while Sterling Bank, First Bank and UBA are the biggest movers this year, occupying third, fifth and seventh positions respectively.

It also noted that only two banks recorded actual increases in their customer experience scores – reflecting higher customer expectations and the imperative to respond to rapidly evolving customer expectations.

Further analysis of the report showed dynamism in the SME segment in this year’s ranking. Despite lower levels of overall satisfaction for SMEs, Fidelity Bank and Ecobank made the greatest improvements with both banks moving up more than four places into the top five.”In the corporate segment, we also see a dip in overall CX scores compared to the previous year’s performance. Citibank and GTBank maintained top spots from last year, with new entrants Standard Chartered and Access Bank making top five positions at third and fifth places respectively.

“When assessed against the six pillars, integrity, defined as being trustworthy and engendering trust, is the pillar where Nigerian banks perform the strongest. This is not unexpected given the role banks play in the lives of customers,” the report noted.It also observed that integrity was fundamental to great customer experience because, without it, the experience loses value. It, however, noted that personalisation, which is the bank’s ability to use individualised attention to drive an emotional connection with the customer, lags other pillars.

“Ultimately, as more banks progress towards an average score, less differentiation is noted amongst them by customers while performing well is the new minimum standard required and adapting to changing expectations is critical to success.”According to the report, while the Nigerian banking landscape has constantly been characterised by steep competition, the stakes have been raised even higher and performing well on customer experience is the new minimum standard.Since 2007, KPMG in Nigeria has been asking customers across segments about their individual experiences with their banks. Over this period, more than 200,000 customers had been interviewed across the country.

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KPMGSterling Bank Plc
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