This is how Takkie day came about

(Takkie is a South African word for running shoes.)

Don some takkies and physically reach out to your customers every payday. Sound like a big deal?

To Maggie Lesele (single mom to a 12-year-old son) it was a no-brainer. And now she’s unintentionally become the inspiration behind the Takkie service campaign that’s urging Standard Bank employees to get light on their feet and shift their thinking around improved customer service.

Her story’s incredibly real, inspirational and impossible to ignore. At the heart of it is a universal lesson about the results of acting from a pure intention - the desire to put herself in her customers’ shoes, literally and figuratively, so she could really meet their needs.

Her infectious attitude is now driving change at Standard Bank and her enthusiasm for and focus on the customer is the key to her career success too.

In 15 years she’s worked her way up from Lydenburg branch ATM demonstrator, to junior, Auto-E Team Leader, Service Centre Head, Regional Service Centre Manager, Branch Manager in Malelane and to the position she currently holds as Highveld Regional, Personal and Business Banking Manager.

“When I work with people I feel great!” she chuckles. She goes on to talk about her team in Malelane with full of passion and energy, a small town near the Kruger National Park in the north-east of South Africa.

“What we achieved is what I’m most proud of: we came up with a campaign that’s gone national and we had fun!”

She describes Malelane as a farming area where farmers employ casual workers from Swaziland and Mozambique for seasonal work. They’re paid by cheque, it’s difficult for them to open accounts, so by 7.15am on payday there’s already a queue of 100-150 people outside with cheques in hand ready to be cashed.

“We decided to meet them outside the bank - with the right attitude from the outset. Our service actually began there so we put on our takkies to be fit on our feet, bring fun and energy and to organise them in three queues outside.”

“We got amazing feedback. Customers felt they we were literally reaching out to them, showing them respect, caring for them.”

Soon, even the back office staff got out from behind their desks in takkies. They all got excited about 'Takkie Friday' before the day came round and asked whether they could wear takkies everyday!”

Maggie’s passionate about living the first line item in the service one-pager that reads: “I am Standard Bank. We have to live service and show enthusiasm and energy to make Standard Bank number 1”.

“It’s the priority right now, to make service our main driver and differentiator. To me, we must never forget first and foremost, we’re a service industry. Customers buy our service before our products. With service, sales will follow, not the other way around,” she emphasizes.

“If you bring your part to the bank, it will bring its part to you.” She enthuses. “It’s simple, it’s your customer, you own their happiness by providing what he or she really needs.”

Maggie has a passionate belief in taking responsibility for your customer’s needs, keeping them informed, staying calm and so on.

Maggie confesses that she used to sometimes wish she’d had the opportunity to do an MBA but then told herself: “But wait, I’m a people’s person, that’s my strength, it’s never let me down - let me use that to make my way!”

And so she has.

Anonymous's picture


I have heard the ad but have never watched it. I switch off every time I hear about Standard Bank. I used to be a Standard Bank customer, I received terrible service from your motor vehicle finance consultants. I was sent from pillar to post, mostly attended by consultants who did not have their facts right. Every time I phoned, I would get a different consultant with a different story. Your turn around time is very slow, it sucks.I will never ever have anything to do with Standard Bank in my life.

What irritated me the most with you is the fact that there is no branch where one can physically go to, to address issues/ concerns / challenges he/ she experiences with the bank . I was told that I can only be assisted by the consultants telephonically. Some would give me a reference number after a call, some would refuse only giving me their first name.

Advise your telephone consultants to wear tekkies on a daily basis. I sometimes wonder if you really listen to the "recorded calls" to evaluate your service levels.....

Anonymous's picture

Please be serious

Running shoes after few hours smell badly !!!!!!!!!!!!!
Rather clean up your acts and start serving the public with diligence.

Mmatlou@Polokwane's picture

Takkie campaign

It's a good idea, but even without the takkies I have never had a bad experience at Standard Bank. But the rates are high.

Jason's picture

Tacky campaign

Coming from an advertising background it seems that this is a campaign for advertisers, not consumers. It reminds me of the road renaming in Durban - completely deluded. It costs money and claims positive change without actually having to address the issues that really matter.

Get back to basics, your market is screaming for it!

Arno's picture

Takkie day - makes me sick

I agree with the general sentiment of the other commentators. This is a really weak advertising strategy! I think it is more a lame attempt to motivate their own staff. After they fired 2000 people last year I can clearly see the effects on morale at their Hatfield branch. There are entire rooms that used to be filled with service consultants now manned by one lonesome soul totally overworked and not great for the waiting times of customers.

Standard Bank - One more word of advice. Get your IT department to put on those takkies also - and not just on payday. Your main website is offline displaying a banner "WE ARE WORKING ON OUR SITE AND OUR USUAL CONTENT MAY NOT BE AVAILABLE". This message has been appearing since last year. In the past three weeks I only found the site to be working once. It's disgraceful for a bank of your size. I suspect a large number of people were fired from the IT department. Maybe there is no one there to keep the site running?

I'm still waiting on feedback from your service consultants about what is going on here - maybe a blog post explaining the situation would be relevant?

Stop fooling your customers with cute and fuzzy ad campaigns. You have fired 2000 employees, while increasing bank charges - it reeks of evil corporation to me. And start thinking of some perks for your customers all the other banks have it - airport lounges, discounted petrol, e-bucks etc. Maybe then that 5% reduction in profits slippery slope you are on can be halted.

South Africans are getting tired of paying exorbitant fees imposed by the monopolies and cartels imposed by big South African businesses in return for pathetic service. We get treated like pawns in your money making scheme. Your consultants are only friendly until one starts uncomfortable questions about your bank charges fee structure.

I hope WallMart has a banking branch too it's time for some real competition in this country.

Anonymous's picture


Brilliant work Standard Bank!

Anonymous's picture


i am a Standard Bank employee and we always strive to give great customer expirience. We appreciate the positive comments and we will use the negative ones to improve our selves. As for wearing takkies, we love it and hope all our colleagues can wear them and RUN for our valued customers.

H A Koch's picture

Takkies to work

Are the staff at Standard Bank, Margate wearing their takkies??????

I have been in to this branch a few times and could stand in the middle of the branch and nobody would come and ask if they could help me. Customer service does not exist at this branch.

I therefore drive all the way to Shelly Beach where I must say I receive very good service. Compliments to this branch. I think they wear their takkies all the time.

Dylan Casey's picture

It's positve!

I like the idea and think it's fun and positive. Life would be more comfortable if everyone was allowed to wear a decent pair of takkies to work each day.

Anonymous's picture


I just love the takkie ad! Great initiative from Standard Bank. Yes, the fee's are relatively high, but I don't mind paying for GREAT SERVICE!

Anonymous's picture


Customers are impressed by the smallest acts that impact them positively rather than fancy meaningless strategy that barely have any impact on them at the end of the day. This lady clearly knew her customer (which is probably a different customer to the one in Sandton) and she used a very simple strategy to make their banking experiences better. The person that obsesses about his households 3 pay days totally misses the point of this campaign.
Its an absolutely wonderful idea especially if performed to its target market. Very innovative & SIMPLE!

Well Done Maggie & Standard Bank (which seemes very conservative until this campaign)

Michael's picture


I actually think it is a brilliant idea. It is motivational and inspiring. I guess one has to measure the productivity by increased turnover or customer satisfaction.

Happy staff= happy customers

Well done.


Anonymous's picture

Learn more about what your customers need

I Got to say this is one weak publicity stunt. What percentage of a typical bank staff's day is spent walking around on behalf of a waiting customer? The public isn't retarded, you should start engaging meaningfully. This is just another incarnation of the typical South African bank empty promise. You're far too concerned with what your brand needs rather than what your customers need.

Michael's picture

I've not seen anybody running yet!

Or maybe they're doing it because it's comfortable and so that they can get out the door faster at home time! I've not seen anybody running yet!

Anonymous's picture


This may be the silliest idea a bank has come up with yet. What pay day? I get paid on the 21st, my wife on the 15th and my brother on the 25th! Rather concentrate your energy and money on training COMPETENT and friendly staff instead of the dregs you currently employ - especially at your Greenacres branch.

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