In today’s competitive business landscape, digital transformation is imperative for banks to realise enhanced customer value and unleash significant bottom-line improvement.
At Diamond Bank, we stand at the forefront of driving customer experience through technology innovation.
We have taken bold innovative steps, such as our enhanced mobile banking app experience, and our online chat-bot Ada, which has seen continued growth in use by our customers across board.
In consideration of our customer’s needs, we continuously seek ways to improve overall customer experience by looking at critical issues that impact our customers, and seeking digital solutions to enable a more efficient customer experience.
For this case study, we have considered a pressing issue related to dispute resolution and the tangible value digital has helped deliver (i.e. efficiencies and cost-to-serve).
Every customer can relate to the frustrating experience of waiting for retail vendors to complete a transaction using multiple POS machines and blaming the network/system which after failing, results in a trip to the closest ATM fraught with its own challenges and potentially failed transactions.
Nothing worse than having your funds finally ‘deducted’ from your account with no cash in hand to show for it and then beginning the odyssey of resolving the failed transaction with your bank, all the while not resolving the initial need for the transaction. This leads to deep discontent and customer dissatisfaction thus reliability and guaranteeing a satisfying customer experience is critical, extending to the need for a streamlined, efficient transaction dispute process.
The use and dependencies on ATM and POS implies the need for reliability. The complex nature of banking systems, which the customer will never see, implies that we must maintain optimal customer experience in the midst of failed ATM or POS transactions. The dispute process must be seamless and efficient to guarantee the right customer experience.
ATM and POS disputes for our VISA and BETA cards customers for local transactions take on average 3 – 5 days to resolve (and this is prevalent across the banking industry in Nigeria). The reality is clear – this deprives our customers of often-essential funds for that duration leading to discontent and dissatisfaction – our shared perspective is that it is unacceptable to how we bank our customers’ lifestyle.
Such negative experiences also serve to break down the level of trust our customers have in electronic channels and the attendant benefits. For a critical channel in the transaction value chain, dispute resolution enabled through automation becomes imperative.
Reflecting on the new reality that RPA has enabled, Uzoma Dozie, Chief Executive Officer stated that: “When my team advised that they were looking into Robotic Process Automation with Deloitte, I was excited to see what results we could derive from that partnership. In under 2 months, we have been able to develop a robotic solution that successfully engages over six (6) different system platforms within and outside the bank to solve a pressing customer need – ATM and POS dispute resolution. We have achieved a proven reduction of over 400% in the resolution time for a single dispute, and more than 300% reduction in backlog resolution turn-around time. I am now even more excited for what is in store for the Bank and its customers through RPA solutions.”
To address this issue, we collaborated with Deloitte to assess the viability of assisted intelligence for efficiency improvement to accuracy of process outcomes (a combination of Robotics Process Automation, Data and Business Logic) to help automate the tedious dispute resolution process.
We used Robotics Process Automation (RPA) to prove this concept over a 6-week period working with the team of RPA developers from Deloitte right here in Nigeria. The team utilised an agile approach executed in a series of three (3) agile sprints, working closely with our business and technical specialists to converge with speed on the optimum solution iteratively. Diamond Bank has leapfrogged into the future of work.
Rob Giles, Head, Retail Banking: “We’re really excited by the possibilities that Robotic Process Engineering presents. As Nigeria’s fastest growing and leading retail bank it is important for us to deliver predictable and consistently positive experiences for our customers. RPA has cut down the time it takes to solve customers’ requests and it has created more time for our people to focus on creative activities and engaging with our customers. In collaboration with Deloitte we have proven that RPA works and it delivers positive outcomes for customers, colleagues and bottom-line performance.”
The solution was developed on the UiPath™ Enterprise RPA Platform. The RPA platform engaged multiple systems through this process, namely our core banking system, our Customer Relationship Management (CRM) solution, Dispute Management System (DMS), BankOne, Extraswitch and Base II.
On the new dawn for seamless banking transactions Alex Alozie, Head, Operations added that: “The complexity of the RPA solution developed is first of its kind in the Nigerian banking industry. The system not only manages the operational interface between the platforms involved in the ATM/POS dispute and settlement, it also goes as far as posting the required charge backs/ transaction into our core banking application so the customer automatically receives value – THIS IS REVOLUTIONARY!!! .”
On execution, the robot was able to perform the following tasks without human intervention and at orders of magnitude faster than a human operator could, without error, slowing down or getting fatigued:
- The bot logged into the Customer Relationship Management (CRM) platform to view open cases assigned to it.
- The bot read all the cases, iterated through the list to investigate root cause of the cases using a set of rules and a suite of logic to determine valid, invalid cases and cases requiring further investigation.
- Using the set of rules and logic, the bot had developed capabilities to access the switching dispute platforms and dynamically integrate with our core banking application to investigate dispute transactions ensuring that there was no duplication of resolution.
- Once the investigation proved a dispute was a valid case, the bot proceeded to the respective switch and logged a charge back.
- Finally, the bot went back to the case on CRM and closed the case with a resolution message communicated to the customer.
- The bot was also able to check for invalid cases, return these to the initiator or escalate on the CRM platform for proper checks to avoid unnecessary re-work.
- In scenarios where the Robot was unable to resolve the dispute automatically, the solution escalated to a Diamond Bank Supervisor for further action.
IMPACT & BENEFIT
During the course of the exercise, over a thousand cases were treated and automatically resolved – demonstrating rapidity and efficacy with a lens on reducing cost-to-serve. We were able to realise a few benefits not limited to the following:
- A 300% reduction in turn-around-time (3-5 days’ backlog of cases handled in less than 24hours)
- 400% reduction in average handling time of a single dispute resolution (the Bot processes cases in average time of 1-2mins which is on the average five (5) times faster than a human (i.e. 6-10mins).
- We saw an immediate increase in the capacity of the team to handle more value adding tasks with productivity gains of up to 60% – this is helping us re-define the future of work at Diamond Bank.
Agility, responsiveness and flexibility has come alive in serving customers. Sampson Aneke, Head, Transaction and Electronic Banking concluded by saying: “This development is truly exciting! An investment that pays for itself in terms of reduced cost of managing the resolution process, and value from a return on customer satisfaction.
Working with Deloitte and our in-house team of “robot farmers”, we are cultivating the field of Robotic Process Automation to unlock significant values in several critical use cases.
Deloitte’s focus on driving digital in Nigeria aligns to its purpose of making an impact that matters. Simply put, there are clear and tangible financial impacts to rolling out robotics. Nigerian Banks should leverage robotics to drive more efficiency in banking operations, reduce cost-to-serve and more importantly scale robotics innovation to enhance their customers’ journey and experience.
On the back of Diamond Bank’s progressive approach towards the adoption of digital enablement in the dispute resolution space, Yemi Saka, Consulting & Digital Leader (Deloitte West Africa) illustrates that Robotic Process Automation is a key component in the future empowered workforce.
Microsoft plans to train 25 million workers for free in 2020
A number of organizations, over the past few months have come up with similar training programs.
Microsoft Corp aims to provide free online classes and resources for job-hunting to 25 million people by the end of 2020 as a way to mitigate the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. The classes are going to be held on LinkedIn and GitHub online platforms and are expected to teach 10 highly demanded jobs.
The training is available to workers across the globe and it is geared towards teaching digital skills. The pandemic, having created a more technology-dependent face of work, and Microsoft is on a quest to aid the development of digital skills ranging from data analysis, digital marketing, and help-desk services.
Microsoft, leveraging data from its LinkedIn business, chose 10 job roles as a result of the growing demand for them as well as their potential to provide opportunities for a wide range of people – including those without college degrees.
Brad Smith, Microsoft’s president, called it “the largest skills initiative” explaining that Automation and artificial intelligence are changing the skills required for probably every occupation; hence, workers without digital skills will fall further and further behind.
“Everything we envisioned when 2020 began has accelerated more quickly than we imagined. Even when COVID-19 is in the rearview mirror, equipping individuals with work skills will remain an extremely important priority for companies like us and for the economy as a whole.”
Skills training in recent years has moved increasingly online, as providers of online classes like LinkedIn Learning, Coursera and others have emerged, offering ease and affordability compared to traditional education options.
A number of organizations, over the past few months have come up with similar training programs. Just last month, Bank of America noted that job training and career reskilling would be one of its four focus areas for $1 billion in funding for economic-opportunity initiatives over the next four years. In the same month, Walmart Foundation had also donated $6 million to Jobs for the Future, a nonprofit organization focused on identifying and scaling successful workforce-development programs.
Microsoft will give users access to LinkedIn content for “learning paths” relating to the 10 jobs until the end of 2020. Its commitment also includes $20 million in grants to organizations that will support individuals using the free resources, as well as $5 million to companies that cater to the needs of communities of color.
Andela to expand presence to all African countries
Andela also announced it will accept Pan African applications from engineers with full-stack programming experience.
Global Engineering Talent company, Andela that helps companies build remote engineering teams announced on Wednesday that it now accepts Engineers from all African countries.
Andela says it is a bid “ to double is final talent pool and connect an even greater number of specialist engineers with opportunities”.
Andela also announced it will accept Pan African applications from engineers with full-stack programming experience such as Node, React, Python and Ruby.
Andela co-founder, Jeremy Johnson says, “Over the past five years, we have become experts at identifying engineering excellence from non-traditional backgrounds. We know that there are extremely talented engineers across Africa and we believe that opportunity should not be limited by proximity to a major tech hub. Being a remote-first engineering organization allows us to open up access to Andela for engineers across the continent.”
He added that the removal of location-based restrictions will help double Andela’s talent pool to roughly 500,000 engineers in Africa, who will leverage on Andela’s work with top international engineering teams.
Andela’s customers include Cloudflare, Wellio, ViacomCBS and Women Who Code and helps them gain access to high-quality software engineers who work as long-term, embedded team members.
Andela said the announcement will enable companies that it works with to source the talent they need, “by opening up to additional talent pools access the continent.”
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Co-founder Johnson also said the world is realising remote work will be a catalyst for “democratization of opportunity by doubling our talent pool, we are professional to help accelerate their critical work of building the future.”
Absa was launched in 2014 and prior to being a fully remote organization, Andela operated in Nigeria, Kenya, Uganda, and Rwanda. the company says it has fully completed the transition to full remote with a pilot program in Ghana (2018) and Egypt last year.
Mr. Price plans to exit Nigeria, closes stores in the country
The company said it is going to be focusing on South Africa in a more concentrated way.
Mr. Price Group is making plans to close its Nigerian business to focus on its home market business in South Africa.
The popular affordable clothing, sport, and home wear brand has closed four out of its five Nigerian stores and expects to close the last one in the coming months.
This was disclosed by its Chief Executive Officer, Mark Blair.
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Nigeria is the third country where the company has exited, as it had left Australia and Poland just last year. The Durban-based company cited challenges like supply-chain disruptions and challenges in getting funds out of the country as reasons it has struggled to operate in Nigeria.
Mark Stirton, Chief Financial Officer of Mr. Price explained that, “We are really going to focus on South Africa in a more concentrated way.”
The company is just one out of the few companies that have left Nigeria over the past few years. Companies like Woolworths Holdings Ltd. left the country in 2013. Shoprite Holdings Ltd. had also noted just last year that it may close some stores in the country as well.
The company predicts that it might face a few challenges among other retail companies in South Africa particularly owing to the lockdown it is only gradually emerging from.
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Consequently, Mr. Price had been seeking out ways to conserve cash; it froze head-office salaries and did not declare a final dividend. It also announced plans to sell shares so as to expand its operations through growth, last year.