A bank’s new deal for customer satisfaction

bank-customersTHE customer is king! This is an age old mantra that continues to inspire global businesses, leading smart CEO’s and business leaders to re-align their processes to deliver value to the customer.

In this market, Skye Bank seems to be taking the lead by reconfiguring its business strategy and product offerings in a bold new customer- centric move labeled, ‘Retail Transformation and Growth,’ (R-TAG).

For several months and at various fora, Skye Bank had been talking about streamlining operations to play big in the Retail (defined as Consumer and Small and Medium Enterprises) sectors; even the recent acquisition of Mainstreet Bank was ostensibly to fulfill that strategic intent.

All doubts and misgivings were, however, laid to rest last week as the bank formerly unveiled the R-TAG strategy to its customer-public who have long yearned to be made the center piece of the banks business. The customer-public is without doubt a major stakeholder group, whose consumption patterns determine the success or failure of any enterprise.

With R-TAG, Skye Bank has moved its approach to Retail Banking from a product-led to a customer-led model with a clear identification of four primary focus segments namely: mass market, emerging middle class and mass affluent (for Consumer Banking) and SME’s.

In a release after the launch, the bank explained the imperative of R-TAG as, “designed to revolutionise retail banking business in the country and serve as a game-changing business model with a focus on customer segments, using unique value propositions rather than the product led approach commonly adopted by Retail organisations. This is the key to activating the bank’s new retail sales approach which is based on a ‘Pull’ strategy, supported by a positive customer experience across its key service touch points.”

Just before the formal launch, the Group Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, Timothy Oguntayo said, RTAG was conceived because of a desire to meet customers’ needs and that, it was the result of wide consultation.

Oguntayo added, “with R-TAG, our products are now streamlined but loaded with a lot of benefits because customers deserve a lot from us.’’ He expressed confidence that the programme is second to none in the Nigerian market space, stressing that, “We are confident it matches and surpasses competition.”

For the bank’s Executive Director, South-South, South-East and Retail Banking, Ibiye Ekong, it was the natural route to go. Perhaps alluding to the on-going integration of Mainstreet Bank and Skye Bank and the tie-in with R-TAG, Ekong said, “that is not unusual because we have the network. Let us begin to work the network to deliver value to customers and ultimately to the organisation. So, we have done classification of our branches, moved personnel around and engaged direct agents so that the footprints for retail customers are expanded.”

Explaining further the process of arriving on the R-TAG strategy, she said, “after that phase, we came up with a transformation agenda that sought to find out from customers what products they would want.

“We entered into the process of working with experts; with IFC, we worked with some retail experts and other international companies on how to design structures that will deliver value. What you have seen today is the first phase of actualisation of that objective.

“We now have products clearly defined and streamlined. We used to have a long array of products and what you find is that people get confused, delivery becomes a problem; customers do not know how one translates to the other. We have been able to identify the product, clearly demarcated so that, from one level to the other you know what you are getting being a customer of the bank.’’

Speaking at the launch of the project in Lagos, Oguntayo, assured that the new business transformation project would bring about customised and needs-satisfying financial solutions in a manner that will exceed the expectations of the customers.

He said the trend in retail banking involves knowing the needs of the customer beyond finances to include Lifestyle needs and designing appropriate solutions to meet those needs, saying that Skye Bank is poised to serve as a dependable partner to its customers across the country.

In his words, “our renewed drive and focus on retail banking is anchored on the premise of building a long lasting relationship with our customers, based on trust as well as supporting the financial inclusion drive of the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, so as to bring a lot more people into the financial system and the formal economy.”

This is why the bank has instituted its ‘Reach for the Skye millionaire reward’ scheme as a product feature for its flagship savings product to encourage savings culture amongst the mass market segment.

In addition, he said the current banking environment as well as the acquisition of Mainstreet Bank, which after integration will significantly increase the branch footprint of Skye, signified a clear competitive advantage for Skye Bank to follow the Retail Banking model.

Along the lines of Oguntayo, the bank’s Head, Retail Banking Group, Nkolika Okoli reiterated that before now serving the Retail market was based on a product approach but with R-TAG, the new strategy focuses on the customer.

Ms. Okoli added, “the reason for streamlining our Consumer Banking business into three primary focus areas is to make it easier for customers to derive value and make it easier for the bank to serve them.”

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