In about 11 hours 30 minutes, I will be a year older. Each year around my birthday I typically think of a gift to give myself and so I decided to finally publish this article which I have been mulling over for weeks as a birthday gift to myself. If you think that’s strange, you need to get to know me better 🙂

Here goes!

Up until just recently, my entire career has been spent in the Nigerian Banking Industry, with the latter part of my banking experience spent catering to the Retail Banking segment across a couple of banks.

In that time I began to crave a new banking experience for the Nigerian Industry because I could see, touch and smell all the possibilities we have available, its like dying of thirst while taking a swim in clear, fresh water. Over the years, this craving has crystalized into a dream for the future of banking in Nigeria.

I am not Martin Luther King but I have a dream! I have a dream for banks in Nigeria!! 🙂

I dream of a bank in which I don’t have to use my entire 1 hour lunch break to attempt sometimes unsuccessfully financial or non financial transactions which can be enabled through interactive smart interfaces or better still flexible branch service hours to meet the need of professionals. Maybe its just me but I typically don’t want to spend my lunch break on a queue in a cramped banking hall with tired service representatives and limited cooling.

I dream of bank with actual customer intelligence which can customize services to my needs and notice the little things like paying school fees for a college abroad and offer reasonably priced facilities I can use to manage my cash flows not try to force an additional USD card on me. A bank that can notice that I am turning 25 or 40 and offer a long term savings plan, mortgage or retirement planning product.

Do I hear you say wishful thinking? I seriously doubt that, you see, banks know more about most people than their parents, best friends or spouses. My bank knows my date of birth, employer, salary, frequent beneficiaries, frequent benefactors, vacations – dates, times and places, business trips, home address, frequent bills, name it! Your bank knows it!! My question is then why don’t banks use this information to deliver personalized customer service.

When I say customer service, I don’t mean Customer service like most people perceive it. Customer service is value added period! Value added is not reading the track 2 information of my card so you can say “Welcome First Name and Last Name” when I use the ATM only to on the next page ask me to select “Current”, “Savings” or “Credit” while knowing fully well I only have one account on that card and I don’t have a credit card!

Customer Service or value added is not sending me happy birthday messages without offering me age appropriate products as I grow older and my financial capacity and needs change. I get enough birthday messages from my friends and family, I want value from my bank!

Maybe my views on customer service/value added are outlandish or too futuristic but I am a customer with valid needs waiting for the Bank of the Future to meet them.

What do you think?