Customer Experience Professionals Ghana
CX Spotlight: Chidinma O. Braye-Yankee

CX Spotlight: Chidinma O. Braye-Yankee

In the world of CX, there are countless unsung heroes making remarkable strides. In part 1 of this edition, we shine a spotlight on Chidinma O. Braye – Yankee (Group Head – Corporate Comm. Service Quality & E-Business, OmniBSIC Bank). We had the pleasure of getting to know her a little better, and her stories may just inspire you to continue making a difference in your own way.


CXP Gh – Can you describe the journey to your current role?
Chidinma – Customer experience was entrusted to me in 2013 when I assumed the role of Head, Corporate Affairs and Service Delivery in Zenith Bank Ghana. I must say it was totally unexpected but a challenge that I took headlong. My first assignment was to ensure that the Bank is the best bank in customer service as this was an award that had eluded the bank since its inception in 2005. Within a year of strategic realignments in customer experience, that target was achieved, and we were adjudged Best Bank in Customer Service at the Ghana Banking Awards. Since then, we have made significant strides each year. In this journey, there have been storms, setbacks, and challenges but there have equally been calm, comebacks, and triumphs. Building a customer experience foundation and legacy is not an easy task, however, it is one that has been very rewarding and fulfilling. I just assumed my new role in OmniBSIC Bank and I intend to bring my wealth of experience to bear in the discharge of my duties.

CXP Gh – What is your personal mantra or statement?
Chidinma – “Building a good customer experience does not happen by accident. It happens by design” – Clare Muscutt

CXP Gh – Can you share your leadership style and its impact on success?
Chidinma – I lean towards the Transformational leadership style. So, I adopt a hands-on approach to align CX strategies to the overall corporate objective. My role is one that I cannot accomplish alone. As such, I need the buy in of all stakeholders. In doing this, I must harness potentials, listen to concerns and needs and carefully consider their inputs. The strategic keywords for me are open-mindedness, Innovation, and patience. At my previous Bank, each year we have a CX theme which is derived from the Bank’s theme for the year. Then we set clear goals and a strategic plan to meet or even exceed these goals. Each team member is challenged to align and execute. Most importantly, we also focus on increasing efficiency and process improvement. This creates an environment where there is free flow of ideas such that staff members can try new techniques and approaches. This has brought about a lot of innovation and new ways of doing things.

CXP Gh – What are your thoughts on the state of CX in Ghana?
Chidinma – I would say it is still a work in progress. We are very much aware, and we understand what CX truly means. The CX narrative in Ghana is gradually changing and there are opportunities for growth. I am excited that there is a whole lot more in store and we are right in the middle of making history. The institution of the CXP Ghana body is a much-welcomed innovation that has really helped to put CX on the front burner in institutions. I see CX becoming much more than what it is today – where it becomes an accepted phenomenon that we do not just pay lip service to it but live it.

CXP Gh – How do you determine the success of your CX strategies?
Chidinma – The success of my CX strategy is measured technically using CX metrics but also by the progress we have made in the efficiency of our processes. Process improvement has been possible by using data which have gathered through surveys, interviews, and interactions with customers and employees. This helps us to know where we need to adjust, where we need to pull our weight, and where we need to initiate new measures. This has truly been rewarding as we have been able to make a significant impact on bank strategies, policies, and procedures. We also use CX metrics such as NPS, CSat, Customer retention etc, to assess customer satisfaction and loyalty as well as derive strategies that would be implemented for the achievement of our CX goals.

CXP Gh – How do you keep up with the latest CX trends and technology?
Chidinma – As once said by the former President of the United States William J. Clinton, ‘‘Follow the trend lines, not the headlines’’. It is always necessary that as a CX practitioner, you are always abreast with the current trends and happenings across all industries, with emphasis on your immediate jurisdiction. I must say that the initiation of the CXP Ghana platform has been quite useful in helping me keep abreast with trends. I have attended every annual conference since its inception, and it has been insightful. The platform has also created the opportunity to network with fellow CX practitioners in Ghana where we can learn from one another. I also keep myself abreast of various social media platforms and organizations that I am affiliated with. I also review published research on the subject that gives me some scientific basis for CX strategies and the data that backs the findings that have been arrived at through surveys.

CXP Gh – What is your approach to solving problems in your role and prioritizing tasks and projects?
Chidinma – My approach is to see every problem as an opportunity to offer my best customer experience to the one facing the challenge. With that in mind, I proceed to define the issue at hand, narrow it down to the root cause, proffer the best solution and then proceed to implement it. After implementation, the next big thing for me is to evaluate the resolution process and continuously improve on it.

CXP Gh – How have you contributed to advancing CX in your current position?
Chidinma – When I was assigned the role of Head, Service Delivery at Zenith Bank Ghana , together with my team, we developed several initiatives meant to improve the quality of service in the Bank. I believe that knowledge is power. Therefore, I do place a premium on ensuring that staff are trained in customer service skills. To this end, apart from periodic talks, seminars, and workshops, we instituted a structured monthly Customer service training for all staff to equip them with the requisite knowledge and to empower them to be efficient in their roles. We also have our customer service forums to delve into specific service issues and share best practices. For me, information sharing, sensitization, and awareness have been a major contributing factors in advancing CX in the bank. Another contributing factor is the monitoring tools that have been put in place to ensure compliance with CX standards. What gets measured gets done.  It goes without saying also that we instituted rewards for deserving staff/ branches to sustain the CX momentum.

CXP Gh – Can you highlight any notable achievements in the CX space?
Chidinma – There have been notable achievements, but I would highlight two:  Following a robust strategic plan put in place after assuming the role of the Head of Service Delivery at Zenith Bank Ghana, for the first time in the history of the Bank since its inception, we won the coveted Best Bank – Customer Care award Ghana Banking Awards 2013. Since then, it has been one laurel after the other both local and international. The second achievement is not quantitative but a qualitative one – The grooming of employees across board to understand CX not just as a cliché but as a lifestyle. We now have staff members who are empowered to achieve our CX goals. I must say that leading by example was key to achieving this. People don’t just listen to what you say, they watch if you are walking the talk. This gained us a lot of CX converts!

CXP Gh – How do you collaborate with other departments to achieve CX goals?
Chidinma – CX goals cannot truly be achieved without the buy-in and ownership by internal stakeholders, from Management right through to the security at the gate. My first point of collaboration is engaging stakeholders to understand the CX goals and how it contributes significantly to the balance sheet of the bank. In fact, it is the unseen line in the financials but yet impactful. Luckily for us, CX is one of the pillars of the Bank, so it was not too difficult to collaborate with stakeholders. We do have SLAs that govern the activities of each department, and we have systems in place to audit and ensure compliance. Insights obtained from customer feedback are translated into action points and worked on for process improvement.

CXP Gh – What steps should one follow to pursue a career similar to yours?
Chidinma – The first step is having the interest. For me, I didn’t start off in CX, I was a brand ambassador and my role necessitated that I take an interest in every area of the bank to ensure that the brand reputation is sustained and improved. So, it meant that I also had to be interested in CX and have the passion to serve. When I was given the CX role, I did not struggle because it was already a lifestyle. Secondly pursuing a career in CX, you must plug in and by this, I mean positioning yourself to be in the CX space. Thirdly, CX involves a determination to learn, learn and learn. The learning never ends! But that is also where the greatest triumph lies. In learning, you get the information you need to make the needed impact. In addition, there are skills to be honed to pursue this career, but I would highlight “attention to detail”. This has proven to be a very good asset in my career and the benefits of having this skill cannot be overemphasized. Without it, you cannot be a successful CX practitioner.

CXP Gh – Do you have any advice for aspiring CX professionals?
Chidinma – I would say keep learning, be an explorer, be curious, be adventurous, be passionate about serving, and network with like minds. As a CX professional, first impressions matter but I must quickly add that all other impressions matter more because that is what reinforces who you are and what you stand for. So always look your best, feel your best, and pass that same energy to all that come into contact with you.

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