Peter England, CEO of RAKBANK Image Credit: Supplied

RAKBANK won Dubai Quality Appreciation Award at Business Excellence Awards 2018. How rewarding has been the journey?

We are proud to have participated in Business Excellence Awards, having made extensive use of the frameworks set out by Dubai Quality Appreciation Award and Dubai Economy to build a road map for RAKBANK to maintain its progress towards service excellence. Our experience of participating this year has been particularly rewarding, as we recently moved into the implementation of our current three-year strategic plan, which has service quality among its key priorities.

On that basis, the feedback we received from Dubai Economy will be of considerable value in moulding our priorities during the year ahead, and we look forward to making full use of the insights that we have gathered. We view our relationships with all stakeholders as a dialogue, and not a one-way conversation — so any guidance or constructive criticism that we receive is always welcome.

What has been the key learning from the evaluation?

The findings were in line with areas of improvement we had identified across our businesses. One of the key learning is the importance of measurement across all activities and business units. Whether it’s our overall strategy, business units’ results or CSR, all activities should be supported by clear objectives and desired outcomes in order to measure the impact of any action. Furthermore, all learning should be then carefully analysed to turn them into action.

Did you come across any stumbling blocks during your assessment?

Initially our biggest challenge was mapping out results across all our businesses, stakeholders and partners in line with the EFQM excellence model, and to benchmark these against RAKBANK’s strategy.

Once this was in place, the second challenge was creating awareness of the Dubai Quality Award framework within all the divisions and units of RAKBANK to ensure the framework was embedded in our organisation’s objectives. In order to achieve this, we created a project team and plan, which involved a self-assessment workshop and several workshops with various teams. Additionally, in order to create further awareness, we conducted road shows across all our branches and units.

What are the innovations you have introduced to raise the standards across RAKBANK?

We have made a range of improvements to the bank’s service standards. Recent highlights have included the launch of the RAKBANK Business mobile app. In addition, we have partnered with the fintech provider, Ripple, to employ blockchain technology for our rapidly growing remittance service.

Innovation lies behind our diversification strategy, helping us to strengthen our offering to SMEs and making a clearer distinction between our Business and Personal Banking portfolios. Because we derive a higher proportion of our income from SMEs than any other UAE bank, we are mindful of the need to build strategic partnerships that allow us to maintain this position. Last year we entered into agreements with both RAK SME and Dubai SME to continue supporting this vital segment of the UAE economy. We also partnered with Etisalat’s Hello Business Hub to provide banking services as part of a one-stop solution, for SMEs and start-ups to operate in the UAE.

Throughout this year and beyond, we remain focused on achieving excellence in customer experience across segments. To achieve this goal, we will continue to invest in technology, people and operating processes. To spearhead our promise, we have introduced a Customer Service Charter, which guides our commitment to excellence in service delivery, accessibility, security, compliance and sustainability.