We live in an information-driven economy. This presents both a challenge and opportunity as banks position themselves as a go to source for financial knowledge and products. In fact, banks that are mastering their multichannel presence have put information at the forefront of their digital and branch experiences.
The appearance of a new type of branch: Smaller, technology-focused, able to provide a convenient and compelling transactional experience, while also showcasing the bank’s wider capabilities. (The Dangers of Abandoning the Full-Service Branch, April 2014)
As its name indicates, multichannel is more than the online pieces of the puzzle. To solidify the customer relationship, your branch presence – from the moment the customer enters the lobby – has to be as compelling and convenient as your digital channel.
Some of the more progressive banks have removed their teller lines, replacing them with desks staffed by fully informed, knowledgeable customer service representatives. The focus here is on making sure the branch is a centralized location for pertinent, easily accessible knowledge in addition to basic transactional services. Greeting each customer with information, useful products and a private banking experience improves customer satisfaction and creates incredible value. And as an added benefit, empowering and enhancing the role of branch personnel is shown to improve the experiences of employees and customers, as well as enhancing the overall branch culture.
Banks reviewing or considering tactics for an improved, more tightly aligned multichannel experience should consider the following questions:
- Do you have a strategic plan and vision for how your branch experience and culture will evolve to meet the changes in customer demand?
- Do you have a collaborative team of specialists working across the branch (or branches) to help your branch personnel serve customers confidently and with timely, relevant expertise?
- What measures are in place to solicit and respond to customer input?
- What accountability measures are in place to ensure that your branch culture is being maximized and not compromised?
- Are you taking advantage of social media to listen and engage with your customer base?
While somewhat complicated, the benefits of a unified multichannel branch strategy far exceed the challenges. It means that your customers get the face-to-face relationship that cultivates trust and longevity, along with the convenience of digital. It means that they can rely on you for all of the information and products they need, meaning that the chance of attrition is lower and satisfaction is higher. And for your employees, an information-driven team model helps them to recognize their value and to be engaged with the community in new ways.
Every element of your multichannel bank should be a welcoming, trusted source of financial advice.
Are you anticipating and meeting the needs of your customers with proactive information and product offerings? Have you created an experience where every customer feels valued and has easy access to the information they need in making well-informed financial decisions?