CUSTOMER service is at the heart of banking and key to a bank’s growth and stability especially in the current competitive banking environment, says Bank of Zambia (BoZ) supervision department director Gladys Mposha.
Ms Mposha said in an interview that banking was predominantly a customer-oriented business and hence good customer service was at the heart of the sector.
She said customer service was key to a bank’s growth and stability, especially considering the current competitive banking environment banks were operating in.
“Customer retention is going to be the key factor for banks, going ahead. As customer awareness grows, banks will be required to gear up for providing more efficient and at the same time cost-effective services,” she said.
Ms Mposha said customer retention required investments in technological capabilities and human capital. She also said customer resolution mechanisms within banks, which were legal requirement under the Banking and Financial Services Act, were at best ineffective due to lack of investment in ‘‘training and up-skilling of human capital’’.
She said lack of investment in the human capital to deliver quality service to customers resulted in BoZ being inundated with numerous customer complaints from the private banking sector.
“In carrying out statutory objective of effective regulation of financial services providers and markets, the Bank of Zambia also seeks to ensure that the best interests of consumers are protected,” she said.
Meanwhile, Ms Mposha said financial inclusion was important to the economy as it enabled improvement of the welfare of the poor and contributed to financial stability. She said financial inclusion also contributed to the growth of micro-businesses that ultimately stimulated growth of other sectors in the economy.
She challenged banks and financial institutions to increase the level of financial inclusion in communities and especially in the rural areas. “I pose this challenge because as major players in the financial intermediation, banks and financial institutions have a significant role to play in driving forward the agenda for poverty reduction,” she said.
Ms Mposha said more needed to be done by banks to ensure that those in the informal sector also had access to financial services.
She however said it would take creativity and commitment to innovation to ensure the needs of diverse groups were met.