Dear Banks

Fashion home!
Dear Banks,

With this post I thought to let you know what most customers think and personally what I think also. You are well appreciated for your activities so far and we do not take them for granted. In fact, the only reason why we are putting this much efforts and attention towards you is because we understand how much you mean to us.

I have been a victim of a closed bank branch which was a stone throw from my house. Closing down that bank branch made me understand and appreciate better what your presence to our communities is to us. We also do understand and agree with the fact that as a bank, you are out to make profits and as such should do anything to achieve this aim as long as it is moral and legal.

Having known all of these, we also think you should see things from our end being your customers and adjust appropriately. As a bank you need to always remember the fact that there will be no you without us and to keep us, the need to treat us well is paramount. Have you ever wondered why we do not believe anything you say anymore? Have you asked yourselves why it has become increasingly difficult to convince into having or sustaining a banking relationship? Do you think the reason why you no longer get as much deposits/funds is just because of the slow economy? Have you ever wondered why you waste so much money training your staff (marketers especially) and the next month you are sacking them?

Photo Credit: Wikihow (edited version)

The answer to these numerous questions is simple. Satisfied customers and staff. When these two set of people in your bank are satisfied, you can be assured of a more successful and profitable output. It is unfortunate that in most banks, there staff members are as pissed and irritated with the bank as their customers. If this then be the case, who is meant to pacify who? It is absolutely impossible to see a happy customer in an organization with unhappy staff members; IT CANNOT WORK. You only give what you get.

Most banks have the most frustrated staff members as their customer facing staff. Meaning that these are the first point of contact of any customer. How on earth can this work? More so, I wonder why banks do not have a feedback unit. I understand that there are various departments in a bank and all these departments work towards ensuring that the bank’s vision is achieved. Dear banks, please do not forget that no matter how lovely your vision statement is, if it does not meet the needs of your customers, then it is rubbish.

The banking process is supposed to be a relationship between the bank and the customers and in every relationship, effective communication is key. When is it appropriate to say that a communication is effective? This is when the intended message is received, acted upon and feedback is sent. By this, parties involved in the communication can say to have effectively communicated. So please, I urge our banks in Nigeria to adopt the strategy of having a feedback unit so as to constantly know how and what the customers feel about their processes and policies.

By feedback unit I do not mean a box placed in the banking hall asking for people’s comment. Nobody has time for that, may be some years back we could believe that these boxes are usually checked and comments are attended to. But not any more, we have lost that confidence and trust. What we need is a proper unit well equipped with whatever it will require to go out there and get customers opinion and view of the bank. For many of you banks that are quick to manage costs, you can do this quarterly or at intervals if not on a daily basis. Also please note that this should not end at getting these feedbacks, ensure to act on them. It is called being responsible and customer centric.

Like I have always said, the hiring and firing system of most banks does nothing but makes a mockery of a bank. It is very funny to see that a bank that advertises for staff this month, is seen the next month to have fired these same staff in the name of retrenchment. Unfortunately, they do this and blame the economy. If you understand at every point in time the need for your existence and run with that vision, you will never have to go through the unnecessary stress of holding endless meetings at all times and mounting undue pressures to your staff.

One of the characteristics of a Nigeria banker is ‘I am in a meeting’. Most times, they are in the meeting truly and one can’t understand what these meetings lead to. My neighbour drives out of the house 5:30 A.M every morning to catch up with a 6 A.M meeting and I still don’t understand what those meetings have yielded. Is it not just common sense to do things differently if we expect a different result? Its high time banks in Nigeria relax a bit, look inward and correct their errors.

How is it possible that you have staff members in a position for six years and even more without promotion, increase in salary or any form of remuneration and yet you want them to come in high spirits to work? Even with the help of alcohol and Indian hemp, the spirit of such staff will always be low. Show me a happy bank staff and I will show a very satisfied customer.

Once more, I urge you banks to go back to your drawing board, make amends and watch us flock your halls. Wishing you a very profitable year.