How would you fancy getting front row seats to the Wimbledon Finals? Or perhaps getting a great deal on the latest sports car? If so, you might want to consider opening an account with the right bank.
Banks have long played a central role in society. But their conventional function as a safe place to preserve money is untenable in the modern age of finance, an era where digitalisation is prevalent, regulations are tighter, customers are more discerning, and nontraditional competitors – from telecommunication companies to FinTech entrepreneurs – are emerging. And while a bank’s importance is undeniable, it is the customer, and not the brick-and-mortar institution, that reigns.
Introducing today’s consumers: they’re ultra-connected with digital capabilities, they expect to be engaged with highly personalised services, they work remotely (ideally from a cabana in Sri Lanka) and cherish the lifestyle that comes with having location-independent jobs. They want to feel valued, connected, understood. And how does this relate to banks? Well, these consumers are beginning to view financial services as enablers to their lifestyle choices. This, however, was not the role of banks. Until now.
The bank of the future extends well beyond traditional financial products, digital innovation or mobile banking, which are a given in today’s world. Instead, banks are expected to further engage in the day-to-day of their clients, supporting them before, during and after a financial transaction. And while customised service was mainly reserved for High Net Worth Individuals, a 2018 research by McKinsey indicates that 70% of Africa’s retail banking growth will come from ‘middle segments’, defined as individuals who earn between $6,000 and $36,000 annually. Success can only come from developing compelling propositions for this segment. But what makes a proposition compelling? Personalisation, exceptional service, tailored to each customer’s unique needs, on a daily basis, and across all touchpoints.
The Mauritius Commercial Bank (MCB), whose footprint spans Mauritius, Madagascar, Reunion, the Seychelles and the Maldives amongst others, is at the forefront of understanding customer needs in a far more granular way. The bank’s drive towards personalisation began with MCB Select, a red-carpet service that combines financial services and a sophisticated lifestyle store, distinguishing itself from the formal bank branch: sleek priority lounges with a dedicated Relationship Manager, preferential pricing on specific products and services, a loyalty program, direct debits for bill payments, invitations to exclusive events, travel and lifestyle benefits…
With the advent of the Internet, banks are no longer the primary source of information for financial services. The emerging model requires Relationship Managers to play a more critical role: their advice needs to be more sophisticated, more technical, more specialised. MCB’s dedicated lounges exemplify just that. Located in high-traffic prime locations, these members-only lounges service customers’ most complex needs, from investment planning to taxes and retirement. There, customers can conduct transactions in confidentiality and enjoy priority service—no queuing up required.
Emphasising the importance of a personalised approach, Guy Ah Hang, Manager of MCB Select International, shares:
“We aren’t in the business of banking; we are in the business of helping people achieve their dreams. And it occurred to us that by leveraging our technology, people and partner capabilities, we can really target all the spectrums of the market. This is how MCB Select International came to be”.
The recently launched MCB Select International, as its name suggests, targets the international traveller. It allows a foreigner to open an MCB bank account without needing to reside in Mauritius. Expatriates, residents and non-residents have access to their own dedicated bankers who help them manage, preserve and grow their wealth. The bank even runs a Concierge program – My Conciergerie – that helps members with just about everything, from VIP tickets to coveted events, to reservations at the world’s finest Michelin-star restaurants. The perks that come with being a member of My Conciergerie trail along with customers around the world, no matter where they are or whenever they may need assistance.
“Relocating to a new place can be daunting, and having someone trustworthy help you with the practical details can make settling in a more hassle-free experience. That’s where MCB Select International comes in. And to ensure that our clients’ experience is seamless, we believe in looking beyond our four walls and creating synergies with third-party specialists. This is why we have teamed up with Expat.com, a company that specialises in guiding foreigners and their families through all aspects of moving abroad”, explains Guy.
MCB Select International’s service also extends to members’ families. With a complete picture of a client’s finances, location and personal preferences, the Bank can play a supporting role in the purchasing of non-banking products: a new car, house or school enrollment for the children. Quality and relevance of service, ultimately, remain the deciding factor in why a customer chooses to stay with his bank.
By Jagriti Punjabi