The COVID-19 pandemic has forced institutions to change the way they deliver services and products to customers. In addition, institutions have been forced to invest substantially on measures and infrastructures, which are meant to protect consumers from the risk of contracting the novel corona virus.
Prior to the arrival of COVID-19, some two years ago, it was common for customers of banks such as First National Bank Botswana (FNBB) to flock into banking halls and Automated Teller Machines ( ATMs) with little care about the likelihood of contracting any disease or infection. However, times have changed, and customers are even more cautious since the outbreak of COVID-19. This week, FNBB Director of Channels, Chana Sekgororoane said they have found it fit to put in place measures which are currently protecting consumers against the possibility of contacting COVID-19 while in their banking premises and ATMs.
“We have ensured there are sanitizers at all our branches and ATMs across the country,” she disclosed to Botswana Guardian. The integrated financial service provider has also installed floor decals at branches countrywide that ensure that customers social distance 1.5 meters apart. “No customer is allowed into our branches or at ATMs without wearing a mask. In addition, we have also limited the number of customers who can be within our branches at any point in time,” added Sekgororoane.
According to the Director of Channels, measures have also been put in place to make sure staff is protected against the scourge which has caused distress across the world. At the onset of COVID -19, the Botswana Stock Exchange listed bank wasted no time and started installing desk separators for staff, including those at branches. “Since the outbreak, the bank has been providing employees with reusable and disposable masks as well as sanitizers. Most importantly employees with flu symptoms do not come to work until cleared off,” explained Sekgororoane, who has been in her position for 7 straight years.
Moreover, the Bank has also installed sanitizers within self-service stations which are found in all its branches. To reduce traffic at the branches, FNBB has since strengthened digital banking platforms and added more self-service features on the FNB APP. “We have put in place other measures that completely enable our clients to do banking in the comfort of their homes through our digital platforms like Online Banking and FNB APP,” stated Sekgororoane.
Both personal and business customers are free to utilise existing alternative banking platforms such as the FNB App, Cellphone Banking, Online Banking, Online Enterprise Banking for both transactional and self-service options. “The Bank ensured that there are perpetual additional features on these platforms to make banking experience seamless, for instance, our FNB App has no data charges for the convenience of our clients on all mobile networks,” said Sekgororoane.
In addition, the Bank has also increased FNB Cash Plus footprints across the country. Cash Plus is a unique initiative by FNBB which allows clients to do almost all banking transactions through the Bank’s approved agencies, without setting foot at ATMs or branches. She is happy that the Bank has invested substantially on digital banking infrastructure capacity which ensures there is limited downtime, especially as more and more consumers are utilising online platforms.
“We have always had the capacity to support digital banking adoption and thankfully COVID-19 compelled our customers to go digital therefore increasing usage of the available platforms,” she disclosed to Botswana Guardian. The Bank also has a 24-hours contact centre, which operates through a Toll-Free number accessible on all mobile networks.
“With the ongoing extensive digital migration and customer education especially on usage of digital platforms and alternative Channels, we foresee less walk in customers for most of our banking services in the future. Our Self-Service team has been busy enhancing our digital platforms and equipping them with more features that will offer services that that customers can access without having to go to our branches,” said Sekgororoane, when asked about business after covid-19.