The Branch Is Evolving—Not Dissolving

Does it feel like déjà vu every time you read another article predicting the death of the bank branch?

There’s no denying that smartphone apps and online banking have had an effect on the bank branch—and yes, consumers are moving to digital channels. But while the number of brick and mortar locations may decline—and how consumers use the branch is indeed changing—is it really the end of the branch?

In today’s highly competitive marketplace, successful organizations can set themselves apart by addressing consumer needs—online via digital channels and in person at the branch.

As the overall number of bank branches is expected to decline, physical presence still has resonance among consumers today. Branches will continue to be an important part of an omnichannel strategy for financial services organizations. Even as many financial institutions decrease the overall number of branches in their network, research shows consumers are still visiting the bank branch.

In a recent consumer survey, 43 percent of customers report 10 visits or more per year to the branch. 1

With all of this opportunity, it’s important to help ensure that your branch is meeting—or better yet exceeding—the expectations of your customers. So, what can financial institutions do to enhance their customers’ experience?

It’s not a one size fits all strategy. Some branch types will work within one financial institution’s culture and specific customer needs, while another organization’s requirements could vary from that.

Try to avoid the temptation of the next fad. Instead, enhance your branch design, appearance and technology to fit your customers’ needs and expectations.

Once you’ve made changes to help your branches be more visually appealing, focus on what the customer needs from your employees: expertise. The future of the branch employee is having the skills and knowledge to provide advisory and consultative services, helping support the customer and generate revenue versus handling traditional teller transactions.

There is a clear need for help with 78 percent of consumers reporting they come into the branch specifically to meet with a financial specialist. And, this human interaction component isn’t going away—57 percent of consumers surveyed say they would like to interact with their bank in person at the branch. 1

Your employees need to capitalize on every customer visit to the branch and deliver an outstanding customer experience each and every time. Given they are the front line of your organization, be sure you have empowered your employees with the right tools and data to deliver an ‘in branch experience’ that is as meaningful and efficient as possible.

Read our new eBook—Evolving Bank Branches for the Future—to learn four strategies to help you evolve, not dissolve, your bank branches.

You can also learn more about Verint’s vision on the evolving branch by joining us at Future Branches, November 29 – December 1 in San Diego, California.

 

1 The State of Retail Banking: Consumer Survey 2016.

The post The Branch Is Evolving—Not Dissolving appeared first on Customer Experience Management Blog.



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