By YUSUF MOHAMMED

It is human nature to want to be treated importantly. Every human being loves to feel important irrespective of status. At Zenith Bank, they understand this clearly, so they treat their customers with the utmost care. According to a staff who pleaded for anonymity while chatting with BusinessHallmark, “Zenith is very concerned about how bankers attend to customers. They don’t take reports of unruly behaviour towards customers lightly no matter how little the money the customer has with us. In short, there is no room for being rude to customers here. It is the major reason why we are successful.”

At Zenith, it is obvious that a staff has to master the art of being charming. This has been the experience of most of the customers that were interviewed by this newspaper. The first branch that was visited was the one at Adeniyi Jones, Ikeja Lagos.

There was warm reception for anyone irrespective of status upon entering. This warm reception starts from the security to the staffers. Like many of the other branches in Lagos, the compound of this one was spacious enough to accommodate as many vehicles as possible.

Unlike before, there were not many customers in the bank. One of the bankers said it was due to mobile services. Many people now make transactions without coming to the bank. In this banking hall, the floor looked regularly mopped and everything seemed to be working fine. The flat screen television on the wall was on CNN but the volume was low. The clock on the wall was working fine.

BusinessHallmark learnt from a customer who simply gave his name as Fatai that as a customer, he goes in sometimes to drink water from the dispenser whenever he is thirsty and nearby. In fact, they are aware of this and have never complained.

“There is always water here. There is no day that I have come that I did not see water. In this branch, they make customers feel at home” he said smiling.

“The customer service is what attracts me to the bank”, according to Anthony Ukaigwe. “I have banked with several banks in the past that didn’t have good customer service. They were so unruly to the customers that I wondered if they were actually providing us service for free. With Zenith bank, I have not had problems.

He further stated that, “At Zenith, the way they attend to you makes you feel special. Everyone is important here irrespective of financial status (how much you have in the bank).

“Although it is normal to have VIP customers as it is a financial institution and not a charity organization, Zenith stands out from the crowd of banks in terms of how they relate with their customers,” he said.

Still on the branch at Adeniyi Jones, apart from the customers of the bank, other bank customers have hailed the bank for its Automated Teller Machine. They say it hardly fails them.

The branch on Acme Road, Ikeja is similar to other branches. But unlike the one at Adeniyi Jones, there are more customers trooping in and out of this branch due to its location.

Alhaji Yakubu Mahmuda Kampala, who is into Bureau de change at the Murtala Muhammed local Airport told BusinessHallmark that he has been doing business with Zenith for 10 years and that he hasn’t had any problem with them.

“This is my 10th year with Zenith. So far, the bank has been brilliant. Unlike a particular bank whose name I don’t want to mention, they delay transactions. I deal with money every day so I don’t need banks that would delay my transactions. Due to the nature of my business, I rely on Zenith Bank,” he said.

For Abdulazeez Mohammed who hails from Kogi State, “the reason why he has been a customer of Zenith Bank is that it is very efficient in terms online banking. Banking is now easy with the Zenith’s innovations. You can be anywhere in the world and send or receive money without going into the banking hall.

“Although there a few other banks with such technological improvements, however, they don’t have quality customer service like Zenith Bank. Aside from easy banking, I like the way I am attended to whenever I have complains. In my view, Zenith is way ahead in terms of customer service.”

Adebola Macaulay, an indigene of Lagos State, is of the view that although the Bank is up there, there is still room for improvement. In a chat with BusinessHallmark, he said, “As giants in the banking industry, there is always room for improvement. You can’t rest on your oars. I joined Zenith in 2010 due to persuasion from a few friends. Since I joined I have been addicted. I don’t know of anyone who has left Zenith. I have left several banks but I’m sure I won’t leave this one. They may have some faults as no institution is perfect but I find it difficult to pinpoint it. There is always room for improvement though,” he opined.

On the street, Zenith Bank has grown in terms of visibility and perception. It has branches in every part of the country. For instance, there is hardly a street in Lagos where you don’t see Zenith Bank.

The world is moving fast in terms of technology and this may be a disadvantage for the illiterates. It was gathered that Zenith has made sure that the fast pace won’t affect customers who are not technologically inclined. It would continue to cater for those who are digitally driven and the computer illiterates.

Marcel Eguabor, Head of Corporate Communications Zenith Bank told Business Hallmark in a phone chat that their top priority is to see that customers are satisfied with their service.

He said, “People, technology and service. That is our motto. The customer is the reason we are in business. We are centred on our customers first. Our staff, everyone is trained to serve our customers. We also deploy the best in technology to achieve that. We are the first to pioneer internet banking in the Nigerian banking industry.

“We also pioneered IT based solutions. We started alerts. It was internet based. Email based alerts before mobile service started. We pioneered all that”.

Speaking of mobile services, the banking halls are not as crowded as they used to be. When asked why, he replied;

“Yes. It is because we use all other channels – Electronic channels and others. We have taken service to the comfort of the homes of our customers. They seldom need to come to the bank except they want to do physical things like make use of the cheque book and ATM cards.

Asked if there is provision for those who are not tech savvy with the level of technological advancement in the bank, Eguabor said;

“Yes there is provision for them. That is why we have the USSD codes. USSD is the banking for people that are not too literate. It is not internet based, you don’t need data. You dial strings. *966# and you dial. If you want to open a zero account you can, if you want to transfer money, you put the account number and transfer. It has different strings.

“That is to make sure that the not too literates are carried along. We have a solution for them too to operate their accounts from anywhere they are.”

Zenith Bank Plc. is one of Africa’s foremost financial institutions, serving individual customers and corporate businesses with a range of financial productions and services.

The bank offers best-in-class banking services from over 700 branches and business offices across all States of Nigeria and Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja. Zenith bank also has presence in the United Kingdom (UK), Ghana, Sierra Leone, The Gambia, South Africa, China and United Arab Emirates (UAE).

With a team of over 10,000 personnel, the bank leverages its robust information and Communication Technology (ICT) infrastructure to provide secure and fast electronic channels to its clientele.

The bank places high premium on its core business strategy which is anchored on its People, Technology and Service. Exceptional service delivery that surpasses clients’ needs is the banks’ cardinal expectations.