We’ve all heard it… Bank branches are coming to an end. Despite what some may think, study after study has proven this notion is simply not true. Although branch traffic may be declining, the presence of branches is still vital to the process of acquiring new customers. In a recent study by CFI Group, the number one reason consumers cited for choosing their current financial services provider was convenience in branch location. That being said, Financial Institutions (FIs) must recognize the importance of having a strong, well-run branch presence. Though customers may not visit brick-and-mortar locations as much as they have in the past, due to the rise of web-based and digitally-enhanced banking, the experience they have when they do visit is crucial to ensuring satisfaction and loyalty. The perplexing question remains… How do FIs keep current customers engaged, while attracting new (and younger) customers? The answer…
Branch transformation is more than a simple adjustment to the look and feel of your branches. It’s all about discovering how your institution is different from the one across the street, and leveraging these differences to better serve your clients through your products and solutions. Branch transformation is a long-term commitment that involves not only a physical makeover, but a behind the scenes technology transformation as well. It may sound complicated, but in order to remain competitive in your market, branch transformation is essential for long-term success. NuSource has the tools to help you through the branch transformation process.
In order to achieve long-term success, a branch transformation strategy must be put in place. Here are the five steps to successful transformation, as described by The Financial Brand…
Define Your Strategy
When it comes to individual branches, one size does not fit all. Before technology can be deployed, FIs must identify what is right for each branch. Many variables need to be examined closely, such as location (suburban, rural, urban) and typical customer needs (withdrawals, deposits, new account openings). With more and more consumers using self-service and digital channels, FIs have to continue to evolve in order to make sure they are taking advantage of every possible client touch point. According to John Hyche, SVP/Principal at a strategic consulting firm for FIs, Level5, customers are driven by convenience, and utilize the banks’ channels – physical, automated and virtual – in a combination that works for them. FIs must ensure a “flexible, consistent customer experience,” as the branch “establishes customer expectations and represents the institution’s image in the market”. For FIs of all shapes and sizes, an omnichannel strategy is important, as it gives clients a consistent experience across all channels. A frictionless omnichannel approach to branch transformation will engage customers digitally and personally, without disruption.
When going through the transformation process, FIs should review the activities they have been doing in each banking channel, and carefully evaluate how they interact with clients. Ask yourself these questions… Do we have too many branches and ATMs? Not enough? How can we attract younger consumers? By identifying which interactions make the most sense in each channel, FIs have the power to create consistent and successful user experiences.
Develop A Roadmap
Consumers have yet to find a channel that they will not try. More often than not, people flock to new solutions, curious about their new and exciting capabilities. The key component of step three is finding the solutions that will have the greatest impact on your FI, employees, and most importantly, customers. Branches are no longer just a transaction center. Rather, branches can and should be service centers where customers can be given financial advice, or discuss specific products of interest. Transcend your roadmap into a hybrid experience that uses digital tools to effectively enhance the customer’s “self-service” experience.
Once the solutions have been deployed, how do you maximize the value of your investments? With the current proliferation of digital channels in banking, your branch may no longer have as many ATMs as it did before. Rather, an assisted self-service banking kiosk might be in its place. Because there are still many transactions that occur within the branch, tellers have ample opportunities to assist with even the most advanced transactions, regardless of the automation technology that has been installed. Tellers must now understand and embrace the new technology, while assisting consumers as they complete more complex transactions.
With the right branch transformation strategy, branches can reinvent themselves to better meet the needs of their consumers, differentiate themselves from the competition, and stay ahead of the pack. With any successful branch transformation, it’s important to continually look for ways to improve. Once your plan has been implemented, and your solutions are in place, make sure you are measuring your results. Have you achieved your ROI? What has been the impact on transaction migration and the consumer experience? Just as long-term success doesn’t happen overnight, your branch transformation is a long-term commitment.