eTranzact has assumed the self-acclaimed title as "Nigeria's premier e-payment provider" and Africa's leading provider of mobile banking and payment services. On Tuesday 14th of June, we were at their rebranding (an event meant to unveil the new face of the eTranzact brand) held at the Intercontinental House in Victoria Island. The company is certainly no pushover in the payment turf in Nigeria. eTranzact recorded a transaction value of over $30 Billion (USD) proceeding 2015, little wonder why about 80% of the banks in Nigeria utilize their services.
The company's multi-application and multi-channel electronic transaction switching and payment processing, so to speak, has been among industry pacesetters; receiving several recognition awards.
So why the rebranding?
I recall a saying that goes thus; necessity is the mother of inventions. Those words couldn’t be closer to the truth in today’s competitive business where innovation seems to be spreading like wildfire. eTranzact seems to have been riding on the crest of several innovations since their introduction into the payment scene in Nigeria in 2002. This is 2016, we shouldn't expect any less from the company. More so, the smartphone market is speeding up innovation in the mobile space. So it explains why eTranzact is further looking to play on the field of mobile and also placing it as a core of commerce and lifestyle. But that's not all there is to business if you ask me.
Embracing customer relations as key towards building brand identity
From this moment onward, the tone of the conversation may seem rather diverted. You can blame this on the awkward moment (for me) that followed after a member of the audience inquired about eTranzact’s stance on mitigating cybercrime and, more importantly, protecting its customers from any dangers thereof. Surprisingly, eTranzact CEO, Valentine Obi's (who apparently had everyone spellbound for as long as his superb presentation lasted) response seemed quite underwhelming in my opinion.
His response was that they are a B2B enterprise and do not interface directly with the customers. “It's the job of the banks” he then later add. Rightly said from the perspective of a service provider whose clientele services are premised on such module. However, I feel this unexpected response somehow undermines the importance of customer relations to any business.
Let's paint a scenario here; imagine, someone produces a half-baked product and expects the delivery guy to improve on it while on transit. I don't know, but it wears this garment that make all parties involved look stupid. Maybe it's just me, but who does that really? My point is, shouldn't the very concern for the end users be integral in the core objectives of a business regardless of who is serving who?
This further goes a long way to buttress a point made by another member of the audience. His opinion suggested that eTranzact hasn’t lived up to expectations, particularly in the area of making its presence/brand visibly felt amidst their end users. What he was trying to say is that the company needs to have a face the end users can identify or relate with. In fairness they do, it's just not quite clear enough; otherwise we won't be on this road.
And if the banks/clients (not eTranzact) are supposed to be the one interfacing with customers, as pointed out by Valentine Obi, in that case it's not looking like they're working. When was the last time any campaign of sort was channeled towards both creating awareness and aggressively engaging users about these products or services? Instances like this make us take a drop from John Russell’s pool of ideas. According to him, the more you engage with customers the clearer things become and the easier it is to determine what you should be doing.
The bigger picture
It would look like eTranzact is being singled out here. Far from it. But the bitter truth is that, most enterprise (e-payment and otherwise) that claim to be B2B ignore this simple rule.
In a world where customer acquisition is fast rubbing shoulders with other key variants of measuring business success, building customer relationship is just as important as developing a product or its user interface. In fact one of the easiest ways to differentiate your business is by the customer experience you deliver, not the products you sell. But of course; most businesses already know this. And if you're still looking for a soothsayer to reiterate it, well that's me and I just did.
Despite the aforementioned, it however doesn't take anything away from the company that has long been innovating e-payment practices in Nigeria; right from the era cash transactions-only was the language many were used to. Regardless, it's high time businesses stop hiding under the canopy of a B2B enterprise and start making customer servicing/relation a thing; because we know any lapses thereof would only rub off on the customers eventually.
Beginning with the unveiling of their new product intended to facilitate more seamless operation in the banking sphere, hopefully, it would have the end users well covered in deed and not just words. And the immediate expectation is to have many other enterprises (big or small, e-payment or otherwise) follow in their footsteps.
Do you think a lot of businesses are playing down on customer servicing? Kindly share your thoughts.