2020 has brought with it many changes to different industries, and all propelled by the Covid-19 pandemic. Recent reports show that – banks, like most companies, face an urgent imperative to reimagine themselves, with the pandemic accelerating consumer behaviour shifts and causing significant earnings challenges given, the tough macroeconomic environment and extensive risk of financial distress for both consumers and businesses.
As consumer behaviour continues to shift, this will push banks all over the globe to rapidly develop and implement continuous improvements to their customer value proposition in order to remain as agile as possible.
These improvements include establishing and growing digital banking platforms, constant and relevant engagements with customers and providing the appropriate and personalised offering to corporate and commercial banking clients. And done right, this will ensure customer retention and acquisition of new clients, every bank’s ultimate objective.
Bolstering customer value proposition through digital banking platforms
While branch networks will remain a crucial part of the banking industry’s value-chain, a continuous redefinition of the digital banking journey has now become the driving force in ensuring a customer-centric approach and addressing customers’ current banking needs.
Investing in the bank’s digital capability is imperative, in that it warrants streamlined operational and decision-making processes. Additionally, it ensures that banks enjoy extended industry reach and higher brand authority as well as allowing for better and more frequent B2B partnership opportunities.
Ensuring retention and acquisition of customers
As a new market entrant, acquiring new clients is always the primary goal, however for emerging industry players, success lies in the level of retention rates. As customer needs are constantly evolving, banks not only have to adapt to meet these needs but also navigate uncharted territory due to the Covid-19 pandemic, while also understanding that customers are struggling financially as a result of the current subdued economic environment.
Banks have had to come to the fore and secure customer loyalty by offering financial aid in the form of payment holidays, extending loan tenures as well as providing additional support to SMEs and retail customers in unfavourable economic conditions.
Ensure appropriate conversations with customers
Having conversations that are not only beneficial to the bank but to the customer as well, demonstrates a customer-centric approach that focuses on providing a positive customer experience. Therefore, in order to succeed in a market dominated by ongoing cost pressures, stringent regulatory requirements, and increasing competition between ‘new-born digital’ entrants, like fintech and digital banks, and established market leaders – the only thing that will set you apart and ensure competitor advantage is excellent customer service. A well-executed customer-centric strategy will assist in building trust in the brand and ultimately ensure an overall positive reputation.
Enhancing the corporate and commercial banking offering
Early 2020 reports showed that rising customer expectations, disruptive competitors, new technologies and increased regulation are just a few of the ongoing pressures forcing commercial banks to reimagine and evolve their business and operating models.
Aggressive investments to drive efficiency and enhance the client and employee experience will keep them in the lead. 2020 is seen as the year commercial banks went from digitisation to digital by building on these investments and truly unlocking the power of their data. Here are some trends that are due to take centre stage into the future:
Relationship managers are poised to grow revenues and customer satisfaction with vastly improved, digitally driven business insights
Market leaders are increasingly implementing AI and predictive analytics solutions, growing their businesses with real-time decisions at higher returns
Legacy systems can be reliable but stall change efforts. Innovation will kick-start migration towards full digital transformation
Data and integration options in Open Banking (banks providing greater financial transparency options for account holders ranging from open data to private data) enable a rich ecosystem to help banks differentiate products and provide customer-centric services
Customer-centricity is about more than just asking customers what they want and making good on it. It requires banks to re-evaluate what they know about customers with the aim to understand who their customers are, what interests them, what they value, and what drives them.
It’s about building a relationship that is more meaningful than the transactional one banks traditionally have with their customers — a relationship that looks more like a partnership, and that is attuned to the customer’s needs.
Addressing customer needs also encompasses digital transformation within the banking industry. The emergence of a reimagined customer-centric banking experience has proven that digital is key at every level of the banking value chain. The banking industry should thus keep adapting and repurposing itself in order to ensure it stays ahead of the curve and continues to innovatively meet customer needs.
The new sustainability initiatives aim to contribute towards greater best practice efforts and supporting the local community
Introduction of the New Executive Chef who aligns to the sustainable food and dining experience
Gaborone, Botswana – March 29th, 2022 – Hilton Garden Inn Gaborone has officially launched its new and innovative sustainability initiatives as part of Travel with Purpose, Hilton’s Environment, Social and Governance strategy meant to redefine and advance sustainable travel globally.
The initiatives extend into the dining and culinary experience, with new Executive Chef, Shaneil Dinna, championing a new approach to food at the hotel. Hilton Garden Inn Gaborone has made deliberate efforts to incorporate local “touches” thus presenting local signature dishes on the new menu.
Beyond the new sustainable culinary approach, Hilton Garden Inn Gaborone will be implementing other initiatives such as:
Meet with Purpose – Meeting Impact Calculator – Hilton is launching Meeting Impact Calculators which uses data gathered from our Light Stay platforms in partnership with South Pole, one of the leading developers of emissions reduction projects worldwide. This is in effort to track and measure our carbon footprint, with the end goal of reducing emissions. The report produced from the calculator details the predicted carbon, energy, water, and waste generated by meetings and events.
Hilton Africa Big 5 – Through our drive to prioritise sustainable travel and tourism in Africa, Hilton has launched a campaign to focus on five key areas, namely: Wildlife Protection, Local Sourcing, Youth Opportunity, Water Stewardship and Anti-Human Trafficking. This is in line with the buy local #PushaBW campaign, which also prioritises local sourcing and youth empowerment. This initiative will be highlighted at the upcoming #PushaBW Brunch in May.
Ms. Thabani Ndlovu, General Manager at the hotel, said, “At Hilton Garden Inn Gaborone, we pride ourselves in being an establishment that exemplifies sustainable tourism, development, and leadership. The hotel is moving towards aligning itself with the Botswana national eco-tourism strategy.
We are purpose-driven and constantly strive to represent the brand’s commitment to building a sustainable environment, all the while contributing towards protecting the planet for generations to come. We have also welcomed a new team member, Executive Chef Shaneil Dinna, whose menu incorporates traditional and home-grown ingredients. He will no doubt also contribute towards recognising and preserving cultural heritage.”
Chef Shaneil brings more than 18 years of experience in an array of contrasting and complex environments within the hotelier industry. His previous roles include working at The David Livingstone Safari Lodge and Spa (in Zambia) and The Hyatt Regency in Johannesburg. Shaneil’s focus will include working to define the menu for more local food appreciation, as well as incorporating more local brands and produce into his kitchen.
With the world becoming even more aware and concerned with the impact travelling has on the environment, the hospitality industry is working towards creating a lasting positive impact on the planet. The continuation of environmental sustainability is essential for businesses such as hotels to grow and evolve – an outlook synonymous with the Hilton Garden Inn Gaborone brand.
Whether its wishes or reality that the COVID – 19 pandemic is reaching its sell – by date, one thing that we can’t deny is that it has brought in lot of changes both good and bad, likewise it has given us a different perspectives on a lot of things, and one such is the importance of a truck driver.
Looking back at those initial days when corona virus was first declared a pandemic in March 2020, not many of us knew what that meant but we were all in the lookout that Covid – 19 does not enter the countries we lived in. Governments warned and closed borders to avoid the transmission of the disease from one country to another, and only truck drivers as conveyers of essential goods and a few others were allowed to cross borders.
Truck drivers more especially as their job was to move essential goods across borders The food, the medicines, the oxygen and every single important item that was essential to keep life going, that had to be imported was brought in by a truck driver.
However, stigma developed against truck drivers as they would cross into countries that were regarded as epicentres. People assumed that the truck driver were more likely to be positive of Covid – 19. One truck driver stated how they were not even allowed enter supermarkets to buy food as communities had already diagnosed them as carriers of the corona virus.
Not only have they survived a stigma from communities in every country they entered, a lot of changes especially at border gates affected them more. Borders experienced long queues as a result of the COVID – 19 protocols that were introduced such as screening of drivers, recording personal details for contact tracing, regular testing of truck drivers as well as long waiting times for PCR test results.
There was a point during the pandemic when PCR tests had different validity periods, in South Africa, the PCR test had a validity of 30 days, in Namibia, seven days, and in Botswana only 72 hours. This had a real effect on the ground for truck drivers who were not able to do multiple entries into countries with one test, or who were unable to turn their truck around fast enough to still have the same test valid when exiting a certain jurisdiction. Furthermore, Truck drivers were faced with other challenges such as increased risks of contracting Corona virus, loss of jobs and some died from Covid19.
It was against this background that Trans Kalahari Corridor Secretariat (TKCS) together with the Walvis Bay Corridor Group (WBCG) came up with the initiative to thank truck drivers along the Trans Kalahari Corridor and on the Namibian Corridors. The Thank A Trucker campaign was sponsored by National Road Safety Council.
This campaign with which the two Corridors Management Institution showed appreciation to truck drivers by giving them a bag of usable goodies including food has grown in status since its launch in Katima Mulilo in July last year. To date the campaign has given out over 900 hampers to truck drivers in Namibia and South Africa (on the Trans Kalahari Corridor) the next campaign will be held in Botswana from the 8th to the 12th March. Windhoek is expected to host the last of the campaign in April this year.
Apart from the Thank A Trucker Campaign, The Trans Kalahari Corridor Secretariat had to put in a lot of work to ease the work of truck drivers thus facilitating trade between TKC member states. Lobbying with different member states to harmonise the Covid – 19 protocols and ease related restrictions.
This work has bared fruit as we continue to see countries relaxing some protocols with Botswana recently allowing travellers who are fully vaccinated to enter the country without a PCR test result. This will greatly contribute to agility and seamless movement of trade especially that Botswana is a transit country.
One of the projects that TKCS is a part of and was born to reduce covid19 impact on trade facilitation is the establishment and implementation of Corridor Trip Monitoring System (CTMS) in the Trans Kalahari Borders. The CTMS seeks to facilitate the continuation of cross-border trade in goods and services during the ongoing crisis occasioned by the coronavirus.
The system will further facilitate and ensure that cross-border transport and transit is performed by healthy drivers who can be constantly monitored and tracked to reduce the spread of Covid-19. CTMS will also seek to reduce extended travel and transit times during the pandemic.
The Trans Kalahari Corridor Secretariat is a tripartite trans boundary corridor management institution based in Windhoek. It was established with a political and economic vision to pursue or contribute towards deeper regional integration programmes of SADC, SACU and AUDA -NEPAD
Cell city in partnership with Orange Botswana and Tecno this week conducted the draw of their Win a Toyota Hilux 4×4 double cab competition in which Tebogo Mooka was announced as the ultimate winner.
The competition ran from the 1st of October 2021 and ended on 31st January 2022 across Cell City and Orange Botswana stores country wide.
When giving the competition background, Bokani Kgwarae who is the Sales Manager at Cell City Botswana said customers where to purchase Tecno Spark 8 for P1995.00 or the Tecno T101 which was valued at P175.00 so that they could stand a chance to win the Toyota Hilux 4×4 Double Cab.
“They needed to complete the competition entry form and attach the invoice and place them into the competition form,” she said.
Kgwarae further revealed that they collected all the competition boxes across the country both from Orange stores and Cell City stores and later conducted the draw for the three finalists in the presence of Auditors from Mazars Botswana.
“Our finalists were drawn from the pool of all competition boxes from Cell City and Orange stores,” she noted.
Meanwhile, Mooka who hails from Moshupa was the biggest winner of the competition as she walked away with a brand new Toyota Hilux 4×4 double cab. The second prize went to Letlhogonolo Onneng from Bobonong who had purchased a small tecno phone at the value of P175 securing a P 30 000 cash prize; with Keikwatlhaye Kelopi from Lecheng Village getting third prize pocketing P20 000.
Furthermore the store in partnership with Mascom conducted another draw also this week (Friday) in which they gave one lucky customer a new Toyota Land Cruiser 4.5 V8 Double Cab Promotion.
To qualify, customers were to purchase from Samsung stores, Mascom or Cell City shops and stand a chance to win a Toyota Land Cruiser 4.8 V8 Double Cab.
They needed to complete a form and attach it with the invoice for them stand a chance to become the lucky three finalists.
The winner of the new Toyota land cruiser 4.5 v8 Double Cab was Desire Mhlabi who purchased three Samsung phones; while the second prize winner was Marang Tlhokwa who secured P30,000; with Kaboyaone pocketing P20 000 for third place.