Transformation Includes Branch Staff Mobility
By Marc DeCastro - Research Director, IDC Financial Insights
Posted in Customer Engagement
The bank branch remains a critical delivery point for the provision of financial services to both retail consumers and small business.
But over the years, the value of the branch has shifted from being a transaction site to an advisory location. Banks are looking for the right balance of capabilities for transactions, sales, service and marketing.
Overall, the goal is to engage the customer using multiple modalities in line with customer preferences. However, to do this successfully, the branch must have access to the same data and experiences as the customer. While the number of transactions conducted at the branch continues to shrink—and banks continue to reduce the footprint and size of their branch networks—transforming the branch goes well beyond shutting them down or moving to smaller locations, which oftentimes is not possible nor desirable given the importance of brand visibility.
Utilization of next-generation technology and solutions aimed at the bank employee will be required for true transformation.
Giving the branch employee mobility is a key component toward a successful transformation of the current branch. Integrate back-end systems at the branch into the customer- and employee-facing solutions, including ATM, kiosk and CRM—delivered on employee tablets and desktops—to create a more connected and satisfying experience. Have the banker come to the customer, not the customer to the banker.
This can be done by implementing enterprise mobility solutions, unified communications, user-accessible Wi-Fi services in the branch, concierges to greet employees, and automated staffing solutions to put the right number of employees in the right branch at the right time. Development of “floater” employees who can match anticipated traffic at a branch is another option that has been successfully deployed by banks.
Tools deployed to the employees are as important as the enhancement made to front-end solutions. Bringing technology into the branch that is available to customers using digital products is a good start. For example, branches can record the employee and customer’s face-to-face interactions, like we do for calls into the customer care center. This not only assures compliance and protects the institution, it also provides best practice interactions learned from top-performing employees to develop a knowledge base.
Success at the branch must be able to include employees not physically in the branch. As customers need access to experts for a specific solution, make sure the hand-off between the in-branch employee to the remote employee is done smoothly, that the technology is working properly, and answer any questions that the customer may have prior to turning over the conversation to the expert.
Today's banks also are implementing a number of technologies and channel strategies to keep up with digital interactions across multiple customer channels, and are preparing to extend their reach even further with the Internet of Things (IoT). By eliminating the barriers between modes of communication with their customers and partners, and providing employees with improved tools and technology, institutions will be better positioned to expand their relationships through advanced and adjacent products and services.
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