Fintechs must learn to treat customer service as a critical business necessity

The most important thing remains to offer a standardised customer experience across the entire organisation.

Kenya’s financial sector is one of the most evolved and progressive in 21st-century Africa. This is mostly a result of technological innovations such as mobile money; changes in products and consumer behaviour such as trends in mobile overdraft consumption; demographic dynamics — the country’s population is made up of 75 percent youth — and the entry of different players into the sector.

With these developments, we have witnessed better regulation, increased formality, and above all a rise in the country’s financial inclusion to 83.7 percent as recorded in December 2021. Indeed, technology is written all over this success, the role it has played in enhancing customer experience and spurring financial freedom is evident.

Besides technology, organisations across different sectors ought to not only learn the importance of service with respect but also practice it. Doing more to protect frontline customer-facing staff is one example, and this starts with creating a safe working environment for your people – one that is friendly.

To celebrate service, those offering it must be in the right space emotionally. Therefore, the rollout of mental health programmes, customer relation training, and a friendly working environment should go a long way in ensuring that your staff offers service with respect, even in the face of hostility. As a 21st century organisation, this should be treated as a critical business necessity and not just a matter of civility.

For customers, choosing the right partner to prepare for their financial future is an important decision. This, therefore, calls for those in the financial space to walk with the customer every step of the way. With such demands, any organisation needs to prioritise improving the skills, competencies and effectiveness of its staff through regular training.

While skills and capabilities are significant for staff, this should be complemented with effective strategy and leadership. As it’s often said, leadership is about relationships, not titles or positions. Therefore, captains of industry should celebrate service this week by setting their teams up for success, and by providing them with the environment, tools, and knowledge they need to provide excellent service.

The writer is the Managing Director of IZWE Loans, Kenya.

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