COVID-19 is expected to have a far-reaching and deep impact on our economy. With only a few establishments unaffected by the COVID-19 crisis, almost all businesses are scrambling to respond to the changing environment. All major sectors like agriculture, manufacturing and services have been adversely affected.
In the wake of the lockdown that followed the threatening sporadic spread, commercial bank customers lament over unsatisfactory digital service varying from the failed transaction, double debit, unsolicited bank charges, ATM irregularity charge amongst others.
Amidst the tension faced by the banks at the first ease of lockdown, when banks were partially allowed to work, Access Bank stood out in terms of effective customer service delivery and operational structure.
Access Bank saw the possibility of a fundamental shift in customer behavior, and predicted a possible decrease in the physical branch visits with an immediate increase in online transactions, peer to peer payments, wallet usages, etc.
Access Bank stepped up her game and converted more of these experiences into positive stories for long-term digital adoption.
A major part of retail banking services including deposits, credits, payments, etc. is part of what governments refer to as ‘essential services’, so banks had to continue these services to minimize the adverse effects on people. However, managing all these at a much-reduced employee count can be challenging. Access Bank tackles these challenges by embracing digital banking.
According to National Association of Independent Online Media Publishers (NAIOMP) findings, the Bank took some proactive Strategies for Digital Marketers in Retail Banks.
Access Bank kept all their digital channels open and proactively update their customers much before they feel the need to reach out for help, especially during the time of crisis. It is commendable that despite the lockdown, Access Bank persist to give out soft loans to their customers.
Access bank also took its management to inform their customers about the safety-related precautions such as:
-Hygiene steps are taken to sanitize the branches, ATMs, currency notes, special training to banking correspondents, etc
-Employee-hygiene measures like daily temperature check, usage of sanitizers and protective equipment
-Steps that need to be taken for customers who have no other option than visiting the branch—appointments, maintaining distances in queues, etc
-Special provisions for the old and vulnerable sections
-Possibilities of COVID-related phishing emails, unauthorized KYC requests, etc.
A visit to 15 branches of Access Bank in Alimosho, Ikeja reveals that safety measures start from the entrance. Some of the branches were open only for ATM withdrawals while some were opened to attend to customers across the counter.
The branches opened for ATM clearly made boxes on the floor of the premise, with about 6 m spaces away from every customer.
Access Bank proactively updates its customers about steps taken at the branch level through digital channels. Emphasis was given to drive more visits to digital channels than branches and ATMs.
Like Access Bank, retail banks being one of the main touchpoints and key essential services for millions of people in Nigeria, need to rise above the crisis. Digital banking serves as the best bet for banks to navigate the crisis. Banks need to be more creative with digital services more than ever. Don’t forget that the world will go back to normal one day. Until then, we need to stay digital and stay safe.
We congratulate Access Bank for their delivery.