Local banks should embrace new technologies to enhance services

last week, I read a post by a follower on the ServiceMag social network platforms that I think, somehow, described the current service by the local banking industry perfectly. “We have too overcrowded bank branches that are understaffed, with few tellers to serve that almost always crowded in banking hall.
A bank client uses an automated teller machine. Banks are yet fully take advantage of opportunities offered by ICTs. (File photo)
A bank client uses an automated teller machine. Banks are yet fully take advantage of opportunities offered by ICTs. (File photo)

Last week, I read a post by a follower on the ServiceMag social network platforms that I think, somehow, described the current service by the local banking industry perfectly. “We have too overcrowded bank branches that are understaffed, with few tellers to serve that almost always crowded in banking hall.

There is, for instance, this bank X in Kimironko, which is always full of queuing clients every time is visit,” he said our Facebook page.
Peter King Oloo had this to share; “There’ the famed ‘pause’ where counters are left unmanned and clients ignored for over an hour…this practice is common with indigenous banks.”

Obviously, service delivery in banks is still not to the level we all wished it were. Many bank personnel still consider customers as a burden, and think they are doing people that bank with them ‘favours’ as opposed to offering them services. What’s more, it seems like the sector has not fully embraced information and communication technologies (ICTs) to tap the opportunities they present. What else explains the long queues in our banking halls when Rwanda is widely known for its advancement in ICT? If we have so many ATM machines across the city and its suburbs, why are there still these long queues? With the cashless Rwanda we all want to see, how come we find points of sale (POS) machines only in few shops?

It is no secret that the banking industry has completely changed from what it used to be in the past, and has adopted new tools to ease service delivery. Today, most of us want to sit in the comfort of our offices and homes and bank through dynamic and easy online platforms no matter the day, the time or the location. In today’s world, we want our banks to respond to our questions and concerns straight away, not after two months. We need to agree that due to the innovation in the service delivery methods, new ways of doing business and treating customers are necessary.

Innovation, indeed, is central to the service industries whether in transport, hospitality, manufacturing, or trading, etc. Innovation and adoption of enabling technologies are the main purpose behind our daily quest for improved service quality whether in Europe, the US or in Africa.

In order for the banking industry to deliver services efficiently and effectively, it is paramount they embrace technology wholeheartedly. Though many of our banks understand that quality service is an important aspect of their organisation, adopting innovative systems to reach that target still seems difficult for the majority.

Otherwise, how can you explain that big banks in Rwanda do not reach out to their customers on social media platforms? Last week, I read an exchange between a customer and his bank and was surprised that he only got a response from his bank two weeks after he lodged a complaint; and only after tagging

In such a case, what do you tell the customer? Do you tell a customer that you have a company twitter handle, but you do not have a dedicated team to handle such complaints or queries as and when they arise?

Though top service quality is still evasive, and not always clearly distinguished, especially in the African environment, our banks, and other sectors, must embrace high quality service provision as a norm or fizzle out as people withdraw their patronage.

It is also true that providing particular specification for quality services is not an easy task because services are intangible. But the usage of information technology in the service sector should today get prior importance because time and cost efficiency are key factors that are linked today to satisfying our needs.

It is time our banks simply react to the changes the industry is facing and put in place, structured systems redesigned to offer the best to their clients. Our needs, behaviours and expectations as customers have indeed changed into a new and current culture and it is paramount all banks in Rwanda play their game well…not only few but all.

In the banking sector all over the world, technological innovations are taking the shape of trend thus requiring the sector to make huge investments in order to gain customer satisfaction. If our banks want to build strong reputation among their customers and survive in this competitive environment, technological innovations and training your teams to use them properly are what they need to invest in urgently.

The writer is a customer service consultant and the publisher of The ServiceMag

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