By Toneo Tonderai Rutsito
The ICT achievers awards winner under the ICT Supportive Bank Sector, Steward Bank, which hogged the limelight for taking a digital award without the basic supportive website, finally came out from the digital wilderness with a much more better offering.
Launched some few months back, Steward Bank has finally bounced back on the market with a supportive website to cushion their clients from the unnecessary after hours hustles.
Recently reported to have 1 000 000 customers, yes a million and still counting, buoyed by the EcocashSave Accounts, With 19 branches nationwide, 3 of them from Harare although still without any single Auto Teller Machine (ATM), the bank has still managed to unveil quiet a supportive online system.
What really caught my eye was the live chat service, the responsiveness for mobile devices and the online account opening application process, can you really get these services from a Zimbabwean bank?
Its 17th of Feb way after banking hours, in fact to be more precise its 4 hours after normal banking hours and seeing a LIVE purple chat button indicating green for ready on my screen, I went straight for the tab, with some doubt, I clicked the green light, much to my amusement , it responded with a pop up and few seconds later I was taken into a chatroom.
Like any other chatroom, I was allocated a support agent to my screen in roughly 30seconds, “Christine “ was my agent and still sceptical about what I was seeing I took the test longer to actually check and see if this was a real human or generic robot for generic answers.
Much to my surprise, 4 hours after normal banking hours, I asked a plethora of questions, both relevant and irrelevant questions much to my surprise, the seemingly alert support personnel was on “Her” toes sharply answering all questions, with a response delay here and there.
I knew pretty well that introducing myself as the media will get me no answer so I had to also play safe and scout for information alreadyin the public domain.
Here is the live screen shot extract from the interview
On online application, Christine said that you may apply for an account online, you will be given a reference number which you will need to take to a steward bank branch, together with account opening requirements.
I did not manage how applying online would be of any benefit than just going straight to the bank since the whole process seems inevitable either way.
As the chat conversation continued for almost 1 hr, she led me through some other functionalities of the website and answered with some hyperlinks, quit impressive for a banking support personnel.
However Steward bank unlike most of Zimbabwean banks is not yet offering Online banking, yet this is one component that really defines convenience in a digital era but I guess they are fully aware, since they are currently flying the coming soon page
The website is also quite a responsive one perfectly fitting in various mobile devices, a good and well calculated move by the web developer as mobile is now surely the future
For the technicalities, unfortunately I could not get the actual Content Management System platform, their web server, framework, language or webhosting platform.
here is our zero day feedback
Steward bank by subscriber base is Zimbabwe`s biggest bank, riding on a million subscribers and still is the biggest bank against all bank combined in Zimbabwe.