Opposing Views on ‘Branch of the Future’ are Two Sides of the Same Coin
June 7, 2016
While banks are starting to evaluate their customer’s experience in branches, financial marketers are having trouble making heads or tails of banking customer’s preferences. Some need the speed and efficiency that technology has brought to the financial industry. Others still need the personal engagement that only people can bring. These ‘Branches of the Future’ are causing some major friction in the industry and financial professionals are split on which elements should take priority in their branch redesign.
Designed for DIY
To keep up with fast-paced professional lifestyles, banks are finding that they must evolve out of necessity. Similar to a self-checkout and a grocery store, banks are introducing more kiosk-like ATM’s that allow customers to make deposits, withdraw funds, load pre-paid cards and pay bills.
These layouts support and encourage patrons to start and complete tasks on their own. Simple instructions and an easy interface means these branches are minimally staffed which is great for the bottom line but may mean that when someone does need help, it will likely be hard to find.
Designed for a new way of Engaging
Different from branches that focus on a quick transaction-based business model, some financial institutions are looking to increase their quality of engagements. Modeled after retail stores like Apple, patrons are encouraged to stay a little bit longer with free Wi-Fi, coffee and comfortable seating. Their conference rooms are not exclusively for bank employees so customers are welcome to hold business and personal meetings during regular business hours.
Instead of hiring tellers, these banks will hire associates that act more as brand representatives with knowledge of teller duties but a focus on engagement and sales. Many branches tossed their paper brochures and replaced them with digital collateral hosted by iPads and tablets. In order to get information, customers must engage with the brand ambassadors who specialize in turning prospects into customers and developing deep relationships with more profit potential.
Though financial marketers will fight tooth and nail in support with one branch design over another, these methods should be elements to every branch’s strategic experience strategy. As more and more banking platforms are anchored online, quick self-serve transactions will be the best way to get your current customers in and out the door. No more lines to make a deposit at lunch time. However, we are seeing more and more that for the big decisions like taking out loans and opening accounts, customers of all generations prefer and need one-on one assistance. So, incorporating a sales center with educated brand ambassadors to make connections and build relationships with prospects will become essential to banking profits.
For more information on designing your branch for your customer’s experience, reach out to a Boxman Studios professional here.