‘Goals of Skye Bank’s Retail Transformation Agenda’
In the past two years, but more relevant is the last 12 months, Skye Bank has consistently talked about focusing on the retail and SME space and that is not unusual because we are a commercial bank with the branch network to reach the retail and commercial banking space.
What we are doing is to begin to deliberately drive the network to deliver value to the organization. We have done some classification of our branches, moved personnel around and engaged direct sales associates such that the footprint for reaching customers is expanded.
After that, we started a transformation agenda to drive the change we required. We engaged some experts in SME and Retail Banking. IFC is working with us as well as some other Retail international institutions to design structures that will deliver value.
What you saw today is one phase of the actualization of that objective. We have clearly defined our products and value offerings as well as streamlined the products. We used to have a long array of products which said to be confusing, making delivery a problem. Some of the products were not focussed on the customer. Also, customers were not very clear as to how one product translated to the other.
Now, we have defined the products clearly and the offerings are also very clear. We can also seamlessly move customers from one level of offering to the other. Our customers know what they will be getting for being a customer of the bank at any segment or level.
We have also ensured that our products are flexible, so once, you get to the top of a particular segment, a customer can move up and begin to enjoy enhanced benefits fit for their status. We will be using data in a big way.
Now that you are focusing more on Retail Banking, what is driving this new focus?
A couple of things including, data, statistics and an ever increasing need to enhance stakeholders value in the long run, especially in the last couple of years. The Bank’s failures of the recent past have shown that whether nationally or internationally banks which have consistently survived are the Retail bank. Skye Bank is just refocusing on its retail and commercial banking business in a strategically defined manner. The thrust is to focus for value delivery in that space.
Besides the acquisition of Mainstreet, how are you networking to ensure your presence is everywhere?
The acquisition of Mainstreet immediately almost doubled our branch network and enables us to be closer to customers. Yes, in some locations, you might find a former Mainstreet close to Skye Bank, but we are streamlining the process to ensure we are effective and efficient in branch network positioning. The objective of the acquisition is growth in customer base, branch network, profitability and in all sectors of our business. That is why we are making sure that we get the required value out of that acquisition.
Other strategies include focussing on technology to deliver service and value, designing products that are adaptable to customer needs as has been highlighted above, increasing sales force and managing the teams strategically using various performance management and reporting tools, using electronic channels for more reach, communicating more effectively with customers, using the social media etc.
Given the challenges of connectivity, how are we ensuring you have the required capacity to meet the mass market?
Before the coming on board of the former Mainstreet Bank, we invested a lot in technology and upgraded our banking software to make the platform more robust.
We also ensured that in that robustness, we had customer engagement tools that enabled us to reach customers and communicate with them.
Branch network is good in the mass market but for the retail space, a solid retail bank requires more than bricks and mortar to effectively reach customers. We are positioning to provide effective alternative channels.
Every retail customer should be just a click away from their account. Also, Skye Bank as a brand has been one of the top banks in ATM deployment. Before the Central Bank policy on offsite ATM’s, the bank used to have the widest representation across the nation with a very good uptime. Everywhere that had potentials for customer experience, we provided ATM’s but the policy changed somewhere along the line. It has changed again and we have gone back to deploying these ATM’s. Network is an issue but it is not so much an issue because the up time of ATMs has improved greatly.
We have also fine-tuned the process of cash retract, which was also a major problem for ATM operations. There is an auto process of ensuring that transactions that are not completed are quickly reconciled.
You have introduced a reward scheme for your savings customer, the “Reach for the Skye Millionaire” scheme, tell us about the scheme.
We have observed over the years that savings is not a culture for most people. People open savings account but run it more like current account. But savings should be a process of setting aside some cash and it should be more enduring – building for a purpose, potential or unexpected purpose. We have heard stories of hardcore savers who have built empires from this discipline of saving over a period! We want more people to inculcate this habit.
Now, how do you engage customers’ attention? Sometimes, you have to do more than just provide platforms for them to save. That is the heart of the Reach for Skye Millionaire Reward scheme. What we are saying, is that any of our savings customers can become a millionaire while also saving.
For us, it enables us to connect with customers and appreciate them while customers have an opportunity to increase their funds – a win-win. During this period, three of our savings customers will be rewarded with One million naira each every month for twelve months in the first instance.
In addition, there is a 2 million naira that some other customers will also get as consolation prizes. Total at play is N60m and we have all the required approvals to give out these rewards. We will also carry out the process of giving out the rewards in a transparent manner. Neighborhoods should be expecting to see us doing this soon.
Give us a rundown of the accounts you now have under the R-TAG Project?
We are catering to 4 primary Segments i.e., Mass Affluent, that is for the top end of the customer value chain, Emerging Middle Class, Mass Market and the SME’s. We also have products for other segments outside these four like Children/Youth segment, the un(der)banked and Nigerians who reside abroad. These products will continue to run and we will also pay special attention to the youth market, we have the Skye Campus Plus account and a dedicated web site is for engagement with youths and where they can interact with students from other campuses.
The segments have been clearly defined with offerings that address each segments’ need. The focus for us is no longer on products but on segment-specific value propositions.
The Reach for Skye Millionaire reward scheme is just addressing a particular savings class, but for other products, we have other value propositions like FREE debit cards and cheque books, removal of withdrawal limitations on savings account types, and a hybrid savings account which pays interest at fixed deposit rate. The offerings are all attractive I assure you. Everyone is encouraged to walk into a Skye Bank branch and experience the culture of value for money!!! Save and win!! You cannot get it any better!!
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