Ghana news: Banks, telcos urged to be more creative to serve customers better

A visiting Senior Fellow and Executive Education Associate, Manchester Business School, United Kingdom (UK), Professor Pikay Richardson, has urged financial institutions and telecom companies to be more creative in their operations to attract more customers to their products and services.

He explained that in an era where business growth was directly linked to customer satisfaction, being able to meet and exceed the needs of customers through excellent service was crucial to the survival of their businesses.

Prof. Richardson made the call at the 2016 Banking Conference held on June 28 this year in Accra on the theme: ‘How competition is improving customer choice and bringing innovation in the Ghanaian retail banking market’. The conference was organised by Corporate Initiative Ghana (CIG), organisers of the annual Ghana Banking Awards.

The conference, the first in the series of activities to mark the 2016 awards slated for July 15, also provided a platform for players in the banking industry to interact and share ideas on the future of banking in the country.

Explaining the value of competition within an industry to the customer, he said competition was a significant factor that drove performance in the banking and telecom industry.

Such competition, he added, had benefited the customer tremendously in many other jurisdictions and advised banks and telcos in the country to forge greater cooperation to give them more.

Meanwhile, he said meeting and exceeding the customer’s expectation required that the company in question identified and familiarised itself with the basic desires of the customer whose interest fuels the growth of the business.

Collaboration

The Head of Enterprise Products and Propositions of Vodafone Business Solution, Mr Edward Aikins, for his part, said such collaboration would help banks serve customers in remote areas without having to set up physical branches which increased their cost of operations.

“If the taxi drivers in the country knew that putting Uber App on Google map will bring new experience for customers they would have developed a product along that line. Therefore, if banks and telcos do not collaborate they will not be able to serve customers better,” he said.

Future for banking

The Manager of Marketing and Alternative Channels at uniBank, Mr Clifford Mettle, explained that banks all over the world appreciated the fact that the future of banking had gone beyond the face-to-face interactions or brick and mortar structures to the use of relevant technology solutions to meet their needs.

He observed that the advent of mobile money technology in Ghana presented both opportunities and threats to the banking industry.

“Banks that win in the era of mobile money will do so by identifying actions that have to be taken to benefit from the opportunities present in this new era, while mitigating the risks,” he added.

Mobile penetration

Data from the National Communications Authority (NCA) shows that the mobile penetration rate has been increasing consistently year on year over the last 10 years and more.

In December 2014, for instance, while Ghana’s population stood at 26,779,409 mobile penetration was 30,360,771 representing a rate of 113.37 per cent.

The figure rose to 127.63 per cent and 136.34 per cent in 2015 and 2016, respectively. In real figure, 2016 ended with a population of 28,094,823 with a mobile penetration of 38,305,078.

The figure increased to 39,234,216 at the end of February 2017. Presently, mobile voice subscriptions represent more than 99 per cent of the market share.

Ghana Banking Awards

For his part, the Chairman of the Planning Board of the Ghana Banking Award, Nana Otuo Acheampong, told the Graphic Business after the conference that the digitalisation and innovation were the future for the banking industry.

“We foresee the bank and telcos complementing each other in their area of operations,” he said in response to a question on whether he foresees telcos taking over the operations of banks in the future.

Touching on the 16th Ghana Banking Awards slated for July 15, the astute banker said the awards would this year put a premium on customers as a valuable resource for banks.

He emphasised the importance of the customers and the need for banks to sustain relationship with customers to spur growth.

The prestigious awards ceremony, which has grown to become one of the country’s most transparent awards since its inception, has rewarded banks which distinguished themselves in various categories over the years.


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