With such feats as winning the coveted Thisday Bank of The Year Award in 2009 and becoming the first bank in Africa to get its global depository receipts (GDR) listed on the Professional Securities Market of the London Stock Exchange, I always logically expected top-notch banking practices and services from Diamond Bank Nigeria Plc.
Previous news from friends about the bank’s “excellent” internet banking, plus its emotionally interactive adverts and a recent rebranding exercise that birthed the introduction of a colourful brand logo made me a little animated when I got the opportunity to open an account with the Jibowu, Lagos branch of the bank.
Opening an account with the bank was expectedly easy. Fill the moderately long form, provide the necessary identifications and you are good to go. But obtaining the cheque book and Automated Teller Machine (ATM) card was war.
After three trips worth N900 to the branch where my account is domiciled, I still hadn’t received my cheque book and ATM card. A kind customer official offered to transfer the withdrawal instruments to a branch closer to me. I agreed. If anything, it would save me hours in four different buses to and from the bank on each visit.
One month gone and my money still sitting in a bank without any means of withdrawal (except writing a formal letter to the branch manager, which attracts N,1000 deduction), I visited the Oregun branch where the customer care officer had promised to transfer my documents to.
Customary of customer care people, I was received with captivating smiles and the traditional welcome-how-may-we-help-you courtesy. When I mentioned the transfer, the attendant requested my account number and then handed me a receipt book to fill out. Fifteen minutes after, a fair lady wearing a soothing smile appeared with my ATM card.
“We are sorry we don’t have your cheque book now…,” she said.
“Eh, just bring the ATM,” I replied, smiling in the hope that I was nearer to withdrawing some cash than ever.
“But you’d have to return for your password though,” she quickly slipped in.
Despondent, I left the bank, neither collecting the ATM card nor uttering another word.
After another 15 minutes, I received a phone call from Diamond Bank Customer Care Service. It was the same gentleman who offered to transfer the documents to that other branch. He said the ATM card and cheque book were ready, and offered the bank’s sincere apologies for the inconveniences I had suffered. Then he hung up.
Whether it was calculated or coincidental, I was impressed. That call caressed my ego. I wanted to conclude that Diamond bank indeed has “excellent customer care.” But what is “excellent customer care” without excellent and timely value services?
One more trip to the bank — already two months after the account was opened — I got my withdrawal documents.
Three more trips in the next three weeks, and my online banking services were live.
So far, asides the online interbank transfer service, which I find very convenient to use, all other services from the bank are no way better than those of all other banks.
More so, I have noticed a speedily widening lag in the bank’s ATM service. Most of the time, Diamond Bank’s ATM card does not work on the machines of other banks and vice-versa; the machines would rudely spill your card back at you. In Abeokuta, Akwanga, Ikeja, and Ibadan, I have experienced the same scenario.
In the end, I am tempted to conclude that if a bank is as good as any of its branches or any of its services, then Diamond bank has failed to clinch the “Thisday Bank of the Year Award” again since 2009, not because another bank outdid it but because it has — by its own complacency — undermined itself.