5 minute read
By Kerim Tumay
Posted in Customer Engagement
There is no doubt consumers’ use of digital banking channels is increasing. That’s why every retail bank is deploying new technology to improve the online and mobile banking experience.
However, don’t forget about the branch customer experience (CX). Most consumers don’t visit branches as often. Yet, according to a recent J.D. Power Retail Banking Satisfaction study, 78% of bank customers said they visited a branch to open their most recent new account or to obtain a new product!
Let’s explore the importance of the branch channel and workforce engagement for improving retail banking customer experience.
While digital banking provides banks a significant opportunity to reduce costs, the risk is those cost savings come with lower levels of customer engagement. The J.D. Power study points out that digital-only and branch-only customers are the least satisfied segments. The customer segment with the highest level of overall satisfaction is branch-dependent digital customers, the group that used the branch two or more times in the past three months—and also used online or mobile channels.
Of course, it’s critical to provide consistent, high CX in all the channels. But which channel(s) have the greatest impact on overall CX?
The 2019 Foresee Digital Experience Index study surveyed consumers to rank their banking channels for greatest impact on CX. Branches and Mobile App scored the highest. In another Verint research, the 2019 BAI - Kiran Analytics study surveyed 142 bankers to rank their top branch transformation priorities. Improving in-branch CX topped the list.
So we see banking leaders and consumers are on the same page about the impact of branch CX on customer satisfaction.
- Senior Executive, North American Regional Retail Bank
Retail banking leaders are keenly aware of the strong correlation between workforce engagement and CX. That is, organizations with high CX performance have more engaged employees, and organizations with average or low CX performance have less engaged employees.
Unlike the digital channels where technology defines the customer’s experience, in the branch CX is primarily driven by the frontline staff—the people. A great in-person customer experience delivered by an engaged employee:
In a recent Celent study1, poor branch experience resulting from long wait time or staff not being knowledgeable are cited as the top reasons why consumers would consider switching their primary bank.
So how do you improve front-line staff engagement and effectiveness? Here are a few suggestions.
For branch and market managers, putting the right resources in front of customers at the right time is not easy. They need to schedule shifts for full-time, part-time, flex-time, and float pool staff members. They need to account for customer demand, vacations, PTO, shift preferences, fair labor standards, and overtime regulations.
A flexible, cloud-based solution simplifies and automates workforce scheduling. It enables delivery of optimized, fair shift schedules in a consistent way. Using the mobile app, employees can set shift preferences, request time-off, or swap shifts. The outcome is improved workforce engagement.
Rockland Trust is consistently recognized as a leader by J.D. Power Customer Satisfaction Awards among retail banks. The bank prides itself as being passionate about providing excellent experience for its customers every day.
- Patrick Myron, SVP of Retail Network Strategy & Sales Analytics
Myron added, “Our CloudCords scheduling solution helps ensure that we have the right bankers in the right branches at the right time. Our associates appreciate receiving consistent, fair, and predictable schedules because it contributes to a better work-life balance. Because of this and a multitude of other efforts aimed at improving colleague engagement, we have seen very high colleague retention rates.”
All banking executives know things are changing in their branch channel. What they really want (and need) to know is how things are changing on the ground over time—and if their transformation initiatives are working.
A branch operations field study provides a detailed view of how your branch staff are spending their time serving your customers. It also provides greater insights into customer arrivals and wait times, branch workflows, sales and service activities. The data-/analytics-driven insights help identify strategic and tactical opportunities for improved customer engagement and operational efficiency.
In 2015, First Horizon, the fourth largest regional bank in the southeastern United States, began transforming its branches and workforce to:
- Tammy LoCascio, EVP of Consumer Banking, First Horizon
An initial branch operations field study provided a detailed view of the customers’ branch interactions, workflows, and staff utilization. The data and insights from the study helped First Horizon launch new business processes and establish clear roles for the region and market managers and the branch workforce.
In a follow-up study in 2019, the impact of branch transformation initiatives were observed, analyzed, and validated. Read the success story to learn more.
With CloudCords Scheduler and Forecaster solutions from Kiran Analytics, A Verint Company, First Horizon’s branch managers can now match their staffing requirements to walk-in traffic and changing customer demand. This gives employees and managers at the bank a better way to plan their time, so they are better able to:
- Ben Hopper, SVP of Retail Strategy, First Horizon
Clearly, CX is one of the top branch transformation initiatives for retail banks, and branch channel interactions are critical for overall customer satisfaction. Prudent bank executives should ask themselves:
If you need help answering these questions, or support for your branch transformation initiatives, we can help. Contact us to learn more.
1 Optimizing the In-person Customer Experience—Eight Solutions Every Bank Should Consider, Bob Meara, January 25, 2019
2 U.S. Retail Banking Satisfaction Study, J.D. Power, 2019
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