By Samson Isa, Director, West Africa at Clickatell
Sterling Bank Plc is Nigeria’s leading commercial bank with over N1 trillion in total assets, 180 business offices, and over 800 ATMs nationwide. The bank prides itself as “Your one-customer bank,” celebrating each customer as a unique individual. To that end, they are continuously looking for new ways to delight their customers and empower them to get the information and customer service they need and want—while at the same time streamlining their own internal customer service processes and organizational flow.
Today’s consumers choose to chat as their preferred method of communication (e.g., text, Instagram, Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, etc.) and expect a high degree of convenience in the way they are served with goods and services. Sterling Bank wanted to offer personalized, self-service to its customers via the popular messaging app, WhatsApp. A partner of ours since 2013, we got to work to accelerate innovation for their customers’ benefit.
Together, we created a unique and very personalized digital banking experience that lets customers and prospective account holders access their accounts and communicate with the bank as easily, and delightfully—and most important using the same chat channel, WhatsApp—as they use to connect with family and friends. Customers can now do bank transfers, make airtime and bill payments, check balance and BVN inquiries, as well as statement generation directly on WhatsApp with the aid of Kiki, the bank’s new AI-based personalized financial assistant.
Designed to provide personalized service to every customer of the bank, Kiki possesses conversational intelligence and will answer questions related to personal finances once prompted. Kiki also connects customers directly to live customer service agents, making dispute resolution seamless.
Oladipo Alabede, Group Head of Digital Banking at Sterling Bank, said “It has improved security that prevents fraud and enables customers to have access to all their accounts. The service is designed for self-service registration and the customers can sign-on from any location. The current features of the app include Sterling to Sterling and Sterling to other banks’ transfers, airtime top-up, bill payments, balance inquiry, BVN inquiry and statement generation, among others.”
We are pleased to help Sterling Bank enable chat banking on WhatsApp, making banking services available to its customers anytime and everywhere on a channel they use daily.
Chat banking is the future of financial services with bank customers preferring the channel for conducting routine banking, as it is fast, simple, and secure. Also, it is quickly becoming a necessity to stay competitive. About 44 percent of consumers would rather start a text chat vs. wait for an agent’s response on the line. What is more, chat messaging is the most frequently used smartphone feature. As independent-access-from-anywhere-via-mobile becomes the customer service norm and chat continues to gain even more momentum—COVID-19 is only accelerating this trend—customers will expect that your bank makes it as delightful and easy to connect as your competitors do.
We are proud to be leading this shift in financial services with Sterling Bank. One of the key requirements of the project was that Sterling Bank needed a local WhatsApp number. While many of our competitors were able to offer them US-based numbers in the WhatsApp channel, our partnership with WhatsApp allowed Clickatell to provide them with the much-needed local number so that the project could move forward.
Sterling Bank is already working on the next phase of the project. A new set of features will soon be enabled, as the bank is exploring ways to serve customers better by introducing micro-lending, micro-investment, account opening, card request, and credit rating, and more.
Curious how we can help you bank deliver the digital banking experience that gets customer connecting, chatting, and coming back for more? Let us talk.