The near collapse of the global financial system has left bankers searching for a more reliable winning strategy in a permanently altered competitive landscape. Public trust in financial services companies has drastically reduced to a record low, underscoring the need for retail bankers to repair badly damaged customer relationships and perception. More than ever before, banks need to rethink the deeply entrenched business practices. The financial reform being introduced in many economies has brought banks under closer scrutiny. There are also some restrictions in the businesses banks can do and the way they will be permitted to operate. The rules of the game have clearly changed.
The Nigeria banking industry has not been immune from this change in the rules of the game. In the last three years the industry has experienced significant changes as a result of new policies introduced by the Central Bank of Nigeria. The industry is witnessing transformation involving recapitalization, management turnaround, policy reforms and other changes which have created situations of uncertainty in the minds of the banking public. The impact of these banking reforms and policy changes has more impact on customers and how banking relationships are managed by the banks.
Retail banking is a customer and loyalty driven business. The power of customer loyalty is clear and compelling. It leads to more profitable growth. Loyal customers stay longer with banks that treat them well. Customer perception however, is typically driven by a variety of factors which include cultural differences, tastes, status, and education to mention a few. Customer satisfaction therefore, remains a crucial success factor for retail banks. However not enough attention has been devoted to customer satisfaction and loyalty in Nigeria and where attention has been devoted, impressive results have not been observed. This should be a major concern for retail bank leaders. With high levels of competition and pressure, it is time for banks to identify specific satisfaction drivers in their businesses and act on these findings to improve the quality of service, perception of customers and forestall customer attrition.
Customer satisfaction has the greatest potential to set a bank apart for good or for ill and it has assumed an important practical approach for service providers. It leads to other consumer buying behavior including making customers promoters of your business. For instance if a consumer is satisfied with a particular service, this would encourage a repeat patronage and desire to try out other services. Satisfied customers are likely to inform others about their experiences, while dissatisfied customers are prone to switching service provider and also become detractors by engaging in negative word of mouth advertisement of how bad your services are.
Our current industry survey is putting our competence and experience to work by polling more than 400,000 customers of banks in Nigeria to measure their loyalty to their primary bank. We will link what respondents tell us to their bank’s financial performance. Probing deeper, we will explore the root causes of their loyalty. We will attempt to disaggregate the overall sample to understand the differences in customers’ attitudes toward their banks by gender, age group and household income. The report that will follow the survey will describe what banks that aspire to sustainable, organic customer-led growth can do. The retail bank survey by S.M.A.R.T focuses on issues relating to customer-bank relationship.
S.M.A.R.T. is uniquely well positioned to help companies advance on their loyalty journeys. We have been refining techniques that help companies become customer-focused and customer-centric organizations and realize bottom-line benefits. We have developed a comprehensive set of disciplines for implanting a customer loyalty system into organizations’ strategic outlook and operating rhythms thereby making the voice of the customer a presence at every level of the organization and a spur for continuous improvement where it matters most. Our work is to provide information that help organizations move from one growth phase to another. This has enabled us to develop many best practices in different segments of business.
We at S.M.A.R.T thank all our survey respondents and hope that the findings will assist the retail banking sector to achieve customer growth and retention in the wake of the new banking era.
Please Click here for the excerpt on the Retail Banking Customer Satisfaction Survey Report.