Driving customer service to higher levels



What started as a short term employment in the banking industry for Erica Mulondo paved way for her career path in the lucrative financial services industry. Now 15 years later, she is still making a mark in the banking sector.


Mulondo cut her banking carer teeth at Nedbank Namibia before crossing the floor to Standard Bank Namibia and recently moved to First National Bank (FNB).


“I never regarded myself as a traditional banker. I think that eventually I accepted and adapted to the industry due to many changes and different environments,” she says.


“I constantly learned new things and because I always enjoy working with people, months turned into years. I am glad I stayed in the industry because I owe a lot of the growth and development of my character to the environment,” she adds.


Mulondo noted that self- discipline and commitment are part of the strict rules of the industry.


“Bankers are accountable to customers and stakeholders to uphold integrity and a higher level of trust. Passion for people is the main purpose for me to be still working in the banking industry,” she explains.


Mulondo migrated to Namibia from Cape Town, South Africa before the turn of the millennium.


She began her illustrious career as a receptionist at Nedbank Namibia, a position she only held for three months, before moving to the Credit Card department and Insurance divisions.


Within a short period of time Mulondo was quickly elevated to the Sales and Service representative position working with different branches, business units and departments – a development which resonated with her goals and ambitions.


Through her dedication and hard work Mulondo would soon be offered the position of National Service Manager for Standard Bank Namibia.


Mulondo, who now works as FNB group Manager Customer Services, notes that her values and belief system connects with what FNB Namibia stands for: ‘how can we help you’.


“Every single time we utter those words there is intent, a commitment, a drive, an action, a promise. Innovation, passion, respect are character traits that requires an attitude of giving which is evident from the people working for FNB Namibia,” she says


She also appreciates the sound controls and high standard of regulatory parameters of the FNB Group.


“I am excited about the spirit of innovation that runs through the whole organisation to provide relevant products and services to our customers,” notes Mulondo.


The vivacious FNB Manager Customer Services regards herself as a ‘change catalyst’ and love stretching boundaries and feel honoured to be tasked with the responsibility to advocate for internal and external customer excellence.


Her main responsibility at FNB is to drive the service philosophy and strategy within the financial services group.


“I am also tasked to enhance the high standard of service excellence, which is already part of the company’s strategic objectives and an important aspect of the overall vision.


“What I aim to see in our Customer Care officers’ technical capabilities are the ability to possess a wide range of product knowledge, be electronically competent and confident to do job related duties as prerequisite to deliver service excellence,” says Mulondo.


 To provide exceptional customer engagement, she says, however requires sound emotional intelligence, basic human courtesy with well-mannered and overall professional conduct.


“For that to materialise a strong employee engagement always remain a top focus when dealing with internal staff. I firmly believe than an engaged employee will go an extra mile to deliver to our external customers. Passion and enthusiasm are also key ingredients to connect with others,” explains Mulondo.


With the local customer service standard always labelled as being below the benchmark, she emphasises that there is always room for improvement and that much has already been done to set the higher standards from a regulatory point of view.


“At the same time our customers are highly sophisticated and are expressing their demands frequently. However, more aggressive focus on setting higher standards with tangible evidence to see visible improvements and changes are required,” notes Mulondo.


A gymnasium graduate from the South African Owners Federation (SAGOF), with related certificate in personal fitness training including aerobics, weight training, general circuit and weight loss management, Mulonda began her career as a fitness and personal trainer in Cape Town.


But after exposing herself to the banking industry, she later strengthened her skills through various banking related accreditations including the prestigious certificate of banking through the Institute of Bankers (IOB), certificate in proficiency through the Institute of insurance South Africa (IISA); the Management Development Program (MDP) through the University of Stellenbosch Business school.


To date, she has received about 40 certificates of attendance by attending different training sessions and workshops with components such as leadership, soft skills, coaching, customer experience, sales skills amongst others.


Had she not been passionate about the banking sector, the bubbly, happy and evidently sportive woman she visibly appears as if she is in her 20s would have gone to be a CNN anchor lady as she is fascinated by the thrills of breaking news.


Alternatively she would have turned into a financial guru like Suzan Orman, among her other aspirations.


However, she chose to stick with the banking industry due to the volatility and value that one can add to another person else’s life and always having something new to learn.


After 15 years in this industry, Mulondo notes that Namibia as a country has grown substantially in the area of regulatory and legislative standards with much acknowledgment to the Bank of Namibia.


“The commercial banks have always maintained high compliance standards and have made the financial sector proud through a wide range of products and services. Progressive change in the approach towards customer centricity is becoming more and more a central theme for most banks due to healthy competition and high market standard requirements,” she says.


“The Africa for Africans by Africans is a significant element in financial independence and the banks plays a major role in bringing different stakeholders together. Furthermore, the banking industry has significantly evolved over the years in redefined procedures, systems, products and services. It is becoming a critical requirement to be absolutely customer centric by providing exceptional and legendary service,” added Mulondo. PF