African Bank completes omni-channel digital push

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African Bank has completed the full implementation of its omni-channel digital strategy.

The bank says the custom-built IT platform enables customers to access African Bank’s products and services, and switch seamlessly across complementary channels, including Web, banking app, cellphone banking, contact centre and the branch network.

“The idea is to offer our customers a range of access points to their banking products and services, depending on which channel they are most comfortable with,” says Shannon Timothy, African Bank channel executive.

“This is a very different offering to what was available in 2016, when 100% of loans were originated via the branches versus the current in-branch origination rate of 76%. Bank statistics confirm that 93% of MyWORLD bank accounts, 83% of investment accounts and 97% of funeral policies were opened by customers in-branch as opposed to online.”

Timothy believes the current network of some 400 branches provides African Bank with a competitive advantage.

“People like coming into the branch, especially at the outset of their journey with us. They value personal contact with a consultant to properly articulate what their needs are and to fully understand what the bank has to offer in terms of the different products and services. Our MyWORLD transactional product may be one of the cheapest in the market but it offers a range of value-add innovations that new customers should know about.”

According to the bank, Timothy’s belief is supported by a global survey on consumer insights conducted by Censuswide, which reported that more than 80% of respondents said they would want to talk to a human being for a complex or sensitive interaction.

It notes the results of the 2020 South African Customer Satisfaction Index report bear domestic testimony to this global insight, with African Bank being ranked first for the second year in a row for its branch and contact centre channels.

“We witnessed a big influx of customers returning to the branches after the first lockdown,” notes Timothy.

He believes trust and empathy are better demonstrated through personal contact. “So many of the engagements in-branch concern empathetic conversations around reduced income, or educational conversations on the pros and cons of savings or insurance products, depending on the customer’s individual needs.

“Support for the bank’s digital offerings remains imperative. Once trust and understanding are created in the early stages, or in crisis situations as seen last year, customers tend to move freely and comfortably towards transacting online,” says Timothy.

“We have the ultimate diversification of face-to-face and digital offerings, which provides an enhanced customer experience, which is an important component to the ongoing success of our business.”

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