In Focus: Abdul Hakeem Omar Al Ojaili, Acting CEO of BankDhofar
2 years ago by Sonia Rafi
In an exclusive interview with CustomerService.ae, Abdul Hakeem Omar Al Ojaili, ActingCEO of BankDhofar talks in detail about BankDhofar’s digital technologies along with a variety of banking services and innovative features. Through integrated digitisation of services, the bank has successfully created a paperless environment, providing a more efficient customer experience, in addition to traditional banking options available through their round-the-clock call centres.
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“WE HAVE BEEN COMMITTED TO EMBRACE CREATIVITY & INNOVATION, AND WE ASPIRE TO LEAD WITH TECHNOLOGY”
Q: In what ways is BankDhofar a customer-centric organization?
Al Ojaili: Aspiring to be the best bank in the Sultanate of Oman and the wider Gulf area, BankDhofar works constantly to cater for customers’ needs and requirements, setting the standards for the best customer experience within the banking industry in the Sultanate through creative solutions and innovation. The combination of the thorough vision of BankDhofar’s executive management, the comprehensive operational strategy that revolves around following best international banking practices and providing best customer experience, as well as commitment to community development and contribution to the growth of the national economy, placed BankDhofar on top of the list of best banks in the region.
Q: BankDhofar has set a benchmark with its recent award winning mobile banking innovations. Please tell us how these mobile technologies are enhancing and facilitating customer experience?
Al Ojaili: Within our continuous pursuit to provide best-in-class products and services, we have introduced one of the best mobile banking apps, adding more convenience to our eBanking channels and enriching our customer experience. We have been committed to embrace creativity and innovation, and we aspire to lead with technology and best banking solutions in the region. We have successfully launched a wide variety of banking services that are accessible to our customers wherever they are through our Mobile Banking application.
BankDhofar smartphone app features “Standing Order” service that allows customers to initiate recurring instructions as per frequency selected and the number of payment options such as transfer to self, transfer a third party within BankDhofar, transfer to a third party within Oman and bill payments. The Mobile Banking service also includes “operation history” which allows customers to view their transactions and payments history and to edit the details of such transitions and repeat them. The new features also include Touch ID Access, Accounts Icon in Pre-Login, Concierge Service and an option to unblock debit cards for international transactions.
The ground-breaking Touch ID Access feature has been added – for the first time in Oman – to enhance security features while using compatible iPhones and iPads. It allows customers to authenticate their login and transaction details using fingerprint recognition feature. Bringing in more luxury facilities at the fingertips of BankDhofar customers, the concierge service gives VISA INFINITE cardholders the chance to enjoy 24/7 personal assistance while travelling, arranging dinner reservations, chauffeurs and taxis, theatre tickets, gifts and everything else customers might need to enhance customers’ leisure and business trips. Additionally, through the electronic card module customers can view their debit card details, transaction details, and change the limit of cash withdrawal and of POS machines, as well as the option to block debit cards. New features also include PIN re-issue and card replacement under service request. The Mobile Banking application is now available for Windows device users where they can download the app from windows phone store.
The previously mentioned features and exclusive services add to the flagship “Card-less Cash Transfer” service that allows customers to use their mobile phone as an ATM card where they can have access to their accounts and withdraw cash from any BankDhofar ATM. BankDhofar offers a wide range of instant mobile banking services such as instant connection to accounts and cards details, instant payment of utility bills and mobile top-up options, instant credit card due payment, location of nearest ATM, CDM & branches, instant money transfer to any third party’s account within BankDhofar, updated currency exchange rates, instant update on promotions and new products and services. The mobile app also allows customers to view account details and check the balance in all their accounts, view last 10 transactions (mini-statement), view up to 150 transaction under statements with opening and closing balances.
Q: How do you measure customer satisfaction and how do you use feedback to enhance customer experience?
Al Ojaili:We have a team of dedicated customer relationship managers whose sole job is to attend to the needs and requirements of our customers. These managers interact directly with customers and cater to their needs. Additionally, we encourage our customers to fill feedback forms that are available in all our branches across Oman. Moreover, customers can also communicate with us either by approaching our call center agents or through social media platforms including Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, etc.
Q: What kind of customer service workshops and trainings do you have in place and what are some essential customer service protocols and areas of emphasis?
Al Ojaili: In order to deliver outstanding customer service, we understand our customers’ needs and requirements and we provide services that exceed their expectations. To ensure customer satisfaction, we follow a strict quality control procedure and our call centre agents continuously go through periodic training programmes on products and customer handling skill.
Q: In what ways do you gain and build customer trust and loyalty when it comes to banking with BankDhofar?
Al Ojaili: In line with our efforts to provide the best customer experience in the banking industry by offering instant services and convenient financial solutions, we have successfully implemented a new system to automate all of our core processes across the bank branches nationwide. Following our ‘best customer experience’ approach, we have streamlined all key processes across all BankDhofar branches. This endeavour aims to offer hassle-free, faster service delivery to BankDhofar customers across Oman.
To achieve a paperless environment, the bank has digitised all paperwork in a centralised repository using Newgen’s Business Process Management (BPM) suit, Enterprise Content Management (ECM) suite, OmniFlow™, OmniDocs™ and OmniScan™ suits. The robust project includes automation of processes such as loan approval, credit disbursal and account opening, digitised management of documents, automation, digitisation and consolidation of data – all onto a unified interface. The system also allows an easy index based document retrieval through a secure right-defined access.
Adoption of this remarkable technology has helped us overcome challenges in the workflow and document management, redefining engagement with our customers with faster response times and service differentiation. It also resulted in real-time process monitoring, improved efficiencies, reduced costs and faster turn-around times.
Q: What platforms do you have available for catering to customer queries and concerns?
Al Ojaili: The uptime BankDhofar Call Centre is available 24/7 for customers who can call anytime – whether they are in Oman or overseas – for inquiries on products and services, as well as assistance from qualified call centre agents. The call centre is available in Arabic and English languages to offer a wide range of services that include: phone banking customer registration, products and services information, card loss report, branches and ATM location, electronic channels services information, special offers and promotions information, complaints and suggestions, account information, information on Fix Deposit and loans, information on mobile and internet banking, information on deposit interest rates and exchange rates, information on credit card payment and other card related information, balance inquiries including deposit/withdrawal/mini-statements, request of statements by fax or email, utility billpayments and mobile top-up, funds transfer and demand draft request, cheque book request and pin change.
In addition, BankDhofar customers can also leave a request for the call centre agents to call them back. This adds to the convenience of the customer’s experience as BankDhofar is committed to provide the best banking experience through its various channels.
Q: Do you feel that digital platforms may eventually become more effective and popular choices for customers to ‘bank’ and ‘communicate,’ possibly replacing traditional banking methods?
Al Ojaili:Traditional banking will always be there and it is the base of our operations for the time being. However, the market trends and customer demand is inclining towards digital platforms and we see more customers utilizing the digital banking channels we provide. This serves our business approach which revolves around our customer needs. We have introduced our state-of-the-art mobile banking application with brand new features and enhanced services. We update the app very frequently and we always enhance the existing features to keep ahead of the game and to stand out in such a competitive market. We are very proud to have received a positive response to our digital platforms from customers nationwide, and we have also been recognized locally and internationally for our continuous efforts that aim to elevate the quality level of the services and to boost the banking industry in Oman.
Q: What innovative services and technologies are in the works for a better banking experience in the future?
Al Ojaili:From our experience in the market, we do not copy what others do. Instead, we study our customer base, understand their needs and requirements, and provide services, products and banking solutions that meet their aspirations and exceed their expectations. We do not just bring mass-produced solutions from abroad. We custom design our services to match the customers’ expectations. And we aspire to always be the best in customer experience and to lead the industry within the Sultanate and the wider Gulf region.
About Abdul Hakeem Omar Al Ojaili
Abdul Hakeem Omar Al Ojaili, Acting CEO of BankDhofar, is a veteran banker with over 25 years of progressive banking experience and in 2013 he became the Acting Chief Executive Officer of BankDhofar with a proven track record of vast experience in corporate and retail banking, operations, IT and corporate support services. While navigating across the organisation from its embryonic inception and development, he has led the bank to become one of the top financial institutions in Oman, restructuring and transforming its entire support functions such as operations, technology, support services and Human Resources.
Al Ojaili holds a BA in Management and Marketing as well as an MBA in Banking Management. He is also an alumnus of Advance Management Programme at Harvard Business School and Accelerated Development Programme at London Business School. Early in his banking career, he has been exposed to the international banking environment by being cross posted on assignments with JP Morgan in the United States and Lloyds Bank in the United Kingdom.