Published On: Tue, Aug 1st, 2017

Growing crowds buoy GTB’s bottom line but cause service challenges

ENIOLA ILORI

A recent Banking Industry Customer Satisfaction Survey carried out by international auditing firm, KPMG, showed that Guaranty Trust Bank (GT Bank Plc) was the best commercial lender in Nigeria in the SME and Wholesale Banking category and the second best financial service provider after Zenith Bank Plc in retail banking market. In addition, the bank was considered the most well capitalized bank in Nigeria, indicating the huge equity and non-equity resources the bank has deployed to ensure the efficiency, effectiveness and safety of its operations to the benefit of its various stakeholders.
But what precisely gives the bank an edge over its closest rivals? Is it the satisfaction customers derive from its busy front desk officers, or perhaps the trust and confidence the bank seems to enjoy amongst a younger generation of depositors? To answer these questions, we visited some of the bank branches in Lagos. Our findings are revealed below:
AKOWONJO BRANCH
This branch is situated along Akowonjo road. Well built, no doubt, with spacious parking lot. There were three security personnel; one in the banking hall and the other two outside. It has four ATM machines at a left hand corner close to the security post, of which three machines, at the time of our visit mid week, were dispensing cash in front of a snaky queue while the fourth machine arrogantly told anxious customers that it was ‘out of service’.
On entering the banking hall, it was clear that the fevered complaints of overcrowding common to this branch were not misplaced. The banking hall was stuffed right from the entrance; the banking hall is positioned on the ground floor while the upper floor is designed for customer service and back office operations. The large banking hall was split into two halves, one half for withdrawals and the other for deposits. The floor plan was sensible enough but still did not address the problem of a mammoth-sized onslaught of customers on its services.
There were 10 smartly dressed Tellers at the counter; four were attending to depositors, while the other six were addressing customers making withdrawals. Each teller spent an average of four minutes per customer. But even at this frantic pace the queue was still a customer’s sweaty nightmare as the press on the inflow of more customers made the banking hall a sea of human heads. Surprisingly despite the obvious number of customers on queues more prospective customers were penning new account opening forms at an angle to the queue of depositors and cash withdrawers.
The customer service desks had three staffers attending to complaints and enquiries. One other seat was empty on the day. Indeed, just as the problem of long queues manifested at teller points so also did the challenge of long lines continue to worry customers needing to make enquiries and other non-depository or withdrawal services at the customer service points. The customer service queue grew so long that some other staff of the bank in uniform went around attending to some of the customers so as to decongest the hall.
The bank has a water dispenser by the side, well stocked with water and disposable cups for customers and staffers use, the environment was clean and neat. It branch has two conveniences, one for male and the other for female users. The conveniences were well maintained and clean.
COMPUTER VILLAGE BRANCH
This branch is situated inside the popular Computer Village at Ikeja, Lagos. This branch can’t be compare to the branch at Akowonjo, as it has no parking space. Any customer going into this bank with their cars will definitely have a problem with where to park and secure their cars, the reason is because there is no where they could park, not even a motorcycle.
It is certain that any customer who wants to make a quick transaction will be discouraged and make a U-turn judging by how crowded the entrance looks like. It has only one security man outside the banking hall who was in-charge of the security entrance door. It has two ATMs and they were both dispensing cash but the queue on each ATM was so long that it got to the road and the customers had to cut the line in between to continue at another end.
So if a customer going into this bank is able to manage and go through with the ATM queue then he or she should be ready to face the other queue at the security entrance door, though it wasn’t as long as the one of the ATM. But you would have to be patient before you can make it through into the bank.
The bank is a two story building; the ground floor has a security seat like that of a receptionist to give directions to customers who needs help on where to go. The banking hall is on the first floor and welcoming you from the staircase are customers hanging around, then the banking hall was like you need to plead with people to wade your way through, because it was so crowded.
The medium size banking hall has six Tellers at the counter attending to the customers on the long queue and it took each Teller six minutes to complete a transaction with a customer and still the crowd kept on increasing which made the banking hall rough. Despite the fact that the air-conditioning was on, there was still heat from the too many people in the hall. The two customer care representatives were on the second floor attending to the few customers on the queue, taking them five minutes in attending to a customer.
The bank has a water dispenser filled with water and stocked with disposable cups in it. The convenience was dirty and customers waiting to use it complained that it has always been like that.
OBA AKRAN 1
The bank is among the several banks situated along the Oba Akran road, it is a well-structured storey building. It has a medium size parking lot that can take in 15 cars on the average, so customers coming in with their cars will surely get some space for parking and securing their cars.
There were two security guards at the bank; one was in-charge of the parking lot while the other was at the security entrance door. There were two ATMs in the bank premises and they were both dispensing cash. There were seven customers on each ATM and it took a customer three minutes to complete their transaction.
This bank had few customers in the banking hall as at the time of our arrival, at exactly 3:20pm. It is a medium size banking hall which has six Tellers at the counter attending to the few customers on the queue – like 20 customers in the hall – unlike the other branches that had double of it, because it was almost getting to the closing hour, and it took a Teller four minute to complete transactions with a customer. The upper ground was for customer service and the domestic operations.
There were three customer services on the seat, taking them 10 minutes attending to a customer. The customers on the queue were 15 in number, impatiently waiting to be attended to.
The bank has a water dispenser stocked with some cool water and disposable cups for customers and staff’s use. It has two conveniences for male and female, which was very clean and neat. The bank has a clean environment and well conducive for banking.
OBA AKRAN, BERGER PAINT BRANCH
This bank is located along Oba Akran road, Guinness bus stop, Ikeja , Lagos. This bank is inside Berger Paint building, opposite the Guinness Company. it has a medium size parking space for customers and staff coming in with their cars; it has two ATMs in the bank premises. And they were both dispensing cash and ten customers were on the queue taking them five minutes in completing their transactions. It has two unfriendly security men outside the banking, one of them was directing the customers driving in on where and how to park their cars and the other was at the security entrance door.
The banking hall is of a medium size with three other well-dressed security men, standing and discussing, they are more or less like receptionists, to direct you and ask if you need any assistance. There were six Tellers at the counter attending to the customers on the long queue with orderliness. It took a Teller 10 minutes to attend and complete transactions with a customer.
The upper floor was for the customer care representatives, with some other operation rooms. There were three friendly customer care staff patiently attending to the customers on the long queue taking them seven minutes to attend to a customer. There were 12 customers on the queue waiting to be attended to, when one of the staff stood up with a smile to attend to the customers with lesser issues on the queue, so as to reduce the crowd.
The bank has a water dispenser for decoration, because it was empty and has no water in it for customers who might need some water to cool down; it has two conveniences for both male and female which was neat and well cleaned and also with toiletries. The garland for overcrowding goes to the Akowonjo branch. Congratulations!

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