Al Barid Bank – The Bank For All Moroccans
Targeted studies of the customer experience at four Al Barid branches in Casablanca, Morocco, to uncover opportunities, which attract new customers and drive more profitable customer behaviours
With a 3.8 million population, Casablanca is Morocco’s biggest city, but for many no longer its best. It may be the financial epicentre, where young Moroccans come to seek their fortunes and where business and the creative industries aim to prosper but unfortunately it is nothing like the movie. The gap between rich and poor is wide, boulevards of shops remain empty and shuttered and, the streets reek of mackerel (fishing and fish canning are two of its biggest industries). This said, it is a city worth experiencing, but be prepared for a frustrating wait through passport control – not the best first impression upon arrival (refer to our Manchester Airport Case Study).
Al Barid Bank, a subsidiary of Barid Al-Maghrib, is one of the largest providers of banking products and postal services in Morocco. It has over 1800 branches within close proximity to customers both in urban and rural areas, with a vision to become ‘The Bank For All Moroccans’. However, its customer base is highly transactional resulting in long queues at the beginning and end of the month in line with pension payments. To achieve its vision, it needed to attract new customers and provide an experience, which would encourage its existing customers to buy or buy more of its wide range of customised financial products and services.
With a change of this magnitude our advice to all our clients is to focus initially on short-term wins, to build momentum before investing in more complex change. Nothing motivates more than success! How many failed ‘banks of the future’ have we seen in the UK, involving huge investment in new technology and branch formats, with little insight to what customers want and need? Delivering an experience, to attract new customers and retain existing ones is huge and no copy and paste. The only way real change can be achieved is by getting out into the field and walking in your customers shoes.
We trained a multi-lingual banking team in our observational tools and techniques to carry out a study of four branches in Casablanca to decode existing problems and uncover simple opportunities to improve the customer experience. This helped staff understand the root causes of queues, the impact large variations in demand had on resources, as well as how customers felt about the bank, especially when first greeted by a security guard. Our collaboration also uncovered lots of opportunities to recruit new customers including improving the sales desk experience, providing targeted media whilst waiting as well as behind counters, and simple marketing campaigns to increase brand awareness by exploiting the banks local reach in the community and converting postal customers to new financial products and services.
One of the biggest problems we solved was changing the queuing principle at counters, from a multi-queue to a single queue multi-serving point system to reduce waiting times, avoid customers queueing twice and to increase opportunities for staff to refer customers to the sales desk.
The programme uncovered significant opportunities to increase revenue as well as reduce costs with minimal financial investment. However to retain momentum and sustain improvements, we equipped staff with a set of simple tools to roll out changes and benefits across the entire branch network.
Thanks to the dedication of the team and commitment of Al Barid’s president, Mr Redouane NAJIM-EDDINE, whom we had great pleasure in meeting, the bank is now firmly set on its path to become ‘The Bank For All Moroccans’.
AT A GLANCE:
- Trained a multi-lingual banking team to carry out a study of the customer experience at 4 branches in Casablanca, Morocco – Mars, Ain Chock, Hay Hassani and Lissasfa. Key findings:
- Demand exceeded capacity, especially in the mornings and after prayer resulting in long queues out the door and lost sales opportunities – 60 abandonments observed during peak times
- First point of contact was a security guard – uninviting and not very welcoming
- Bank operated a multi-queue, multi-serving point system requiring a great deal of strategizing by customers – customers with multiple services, including postal or sales desk, would queue twice
- Large variations in counter processing times – 17/hour to 34/hour. At peak, some customers waited over 1 hour for a 2 to 3 min transaction. Low number of sales referrals to the sales desk observed
- Some demand was avoidable – 28 observations of customers progress chasing or with account errors
- Sales desk area did not feel welcoming or private – at peak times lack of seating meant customers would stand next to the sales desk, overhearing other customers conducting business
- Limited marketing or information for customers at key stages of the customer journey
- Customers had very low expectations. Very few said they would recommend the bank to friends
- Opportunities to attract new customers and drive more profitable customer behaviours:
- Provide incentives for pension customers to visit the branch during less busy times of service
- A dedicated welcome point, with trained personnel to welcome, guide and assist customers
- Single queue, multi-serving point system to reduce waiting times and avoid need for customers to queue twice
- Simplify and streamline processes to ensure consistent serving times and increase sales referrals
- Improve sales desk experience – comfortable seating, better facilities and new appointment service
- Targeted marketing when waiting / behind counters to promote banking products and sales referrals
- Local marketing campaigns to increase brand awareness, exploit benefits of local reach and convert postal customers
- Opportunities to increase revenue by 30% – growing customer base and increasing revenue per relationship
- Opportunities to reduce costs by 40% – improving operational efficiency, effectiveness and increasing channel shift
- A dedicated team equipped with simple tools and techniques to roll out study programme and benefits to entire network