Many Namibians are unhappy about the services they receive from public and private offices, especially from the financial sector because of the carefree attitude many organisations have towards customer service, says Bank Windhoek retail banking services executive officer, Chris Matthee.
FNB group manager customer service, Erica Mulondo, also notes the customer services provided in Namibia are definitely below international benchmarks but that there is always room for improvement.
Matthee says: “There are many horror stories about customer service in Namibia. Bank Windhoek’s active mission is to make banking a rewarding experience and has thus made customer service a strategic imperative in the bank.”
But Mulondo believes much has been done to set higher standards from a regulatory point of view. “Customers are highly sophisticated nowadays and thus express their demands frequently. However, more aggressive focus on setting higher standards with tangible evidence to see visible improvement and changes are required.”
As customer service remains a topical discussion with many Namibians unhappy with what they get, PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) remains adamant on the adoption of a people-centred attitude if the local banking sector, or any other service-providing industry is to transform the public bodies.
In a 2013 report titled ‘Transforming the Public Sector in Namibia; Tomorrow’s Leading Public Bodies, Government Departments and SoEs’, PwC noted that five factors, such as the delivery on new service models, understanding the customer, building capacity, continuously improving and pulling down the walls are imperative in building customer service.
PwC managing director, Nangula Uuandja, pointed out in that report, customers have become very demanding, especially with the challenging economy and growing urbanisation of young people.
“Given this new context, public sector organisations need to re-evaluate their purpose and role. They must first formulate a new, strong and clear vision and mission with the power to energise employees and citizens towards a new future and a shared purpose. Furthermore, Government departments and State-owned Enterprises (SoEs) need to respond pro-actively and pre-emptively,” Uuandja stressed, adding, the global challenge for public sectors is to adjust to the new reality of doing more with less for the demanding citizens.
Some of the complaints about service delivery at banking institutions include long, stagnant queues inside the bank branches and at ATM machines that are often ‘out of service’ and the seemingly unexplained banking charges, amongst others.
Bank Windhoek has pledged to strengthen its customer services through transparent communication, convenient product channels, with friendly and efficient services delivery.
“We believe our customers are the reason for our existence and because of this belief, we continuously strive to deliver excellent customer service throughout, ” Matthee says.
Deloitte Africa Digital Engagement leader, David Graham, in his article, ‘Riding the Waves of Change, Building an Internal Change Capability’, says due to various factors; be it globalisation, increased competition, new technology amongst others, organisations will typically have waves of change initiatives to drive new operating models, technology implementation, customer service, cost reduction and process improvement.
“Sadly, changes are often poorly integrated or simply falter before proper attention has been paid to sustaining behaviour change. This is often due to the fact that a typical employee faces an overflow of change and communication campaigns, events and messaging on a daily basis and the fact that this is rapidly changing work landscape is not holistically considered. Going ad hoc or project-based change management to building a consistent internal change language and capability in an organisation can be a significant factor in enhancing the success of change initiatives and ultimately enabling an organisation to ‘out-change’ competitors,” David emphasises.