While there have been discussions whether brick and mortar is here to stay, I believe that there is still a place for one-on-one attention and human interaction.
The use of mobile, social and wearable banking cuts short the expensive and tiring process of traveling around and about, and allows you to achieve whatever it is you want in the comfort of your own home. But the Internet has also made face-to-face social interactions amongst people today increasingly rare, as people turn towards computer mediated solutions. Technologies and processes can help enhance a bank’s service experiences to create value in face-to-face interactions.
SunTrust Bank is combining both digital and in-person advising and paving the way by digitally engaging with its mass affluent client base through its online platform, SummitView®. This financial planning tool allows customers to view and manage their financial accounts in collaboration with a dedicated financial advisor – and all of their bankers, advisors, and wealth managers have the ability to connect with clients either in the branch, in their homes, or over the phone without the hassle of needing to hand over endless amounts of paper or statements.
Banks should look at deploying technologies that make their branches more relevant to customers. Here are some strategies from non-banking industries that financial institutions can consider implementing to improve sales, service and productivity at the branch Level:
Facial Recognition Software
The use of facial recognition for authentication is rare in banking. But by sending highly personalised and targeted product and service content through smartphone notifications when customers approach a branch’s lobby, it would bring a more personalised service experience to the branch that can better educate account holders prior to any face-to-face interactions.
Heat Map Technology
This technology enables banks to analyse the walking paths of customers within their banking premises, and allows banks to position sales people at strategic locations to sell new banking products, or identify which luxury amenities, like cappuccino machines and large interactive touch pads, appeal to their customers.
Business Process Management
It’s the act of putting what businesses do on a day-to-day basis into IT systems to optimise the processes and gain efficiencies. Many banks have already implemented some sort of technology to enhance their account holder experiences at the branch. But taking this a step further, the right tools streamline and integrate front, middle, and back office processes used to improve customer servicing processes, integrate multiple channels seamlessly, and enhance service levels.
Recommended Product Engines
When Amazon recommends a product on its site, it is clearly not a coincidence. At its core, the tech giant’s recommendation system is based on a number of simple elements: what a user has bought in the past, which items they have in their virtual shopping cart, items they’ve rated and liked, and what other customers have viewed and purchased. Banks can apply this big data approach to help service representatives to know which products to promote effectively to customers in the branch.
Highly Trained Staff Deployment
There is a link between emotionally charged moments of truth and the purchase decisions of customers. These moments often occur when the customer has a problem or receives financial advice, either good or bad. Banks should differentiate themselves in the customer experiences that really matter. The impact of frontline emotional intelligence on the bottom line is clear, and it starts with having the right employees to handle all types of interactions – be it product, service or technology related – at the branch with customers.
Tabletop Tablet Solutions
The introduction of the iPad brought with it a whole new world of opportunities to improve customer experience at bank branches. Their potential uses include in-branch demos, training and troubleshooting, onboarding new customers into online banking, a digital alternative to printed brochures, a check-in device to create a customer queue in busy branches, a diversion to keep customers occupied, and even replace the “drop your name card here” contest boxes.
Preferred Customer Programs
Unlike rewards programs, preferred customer programs are not about pricing, but rather are about receiving better treatment than the rest of the world. And just belonging to the preferred club isn’t enough – banks need to offer perks that customers want and are appropriate to them. Most preferred customer programs do a pretty good job of this, for example, airlines have a special check-in line for preferred customers and can get on the plane early.
Appointment Setting Technology
In most businesses no sale will happen without first speaking directly with a potential customer. Getting the customer to visit a branch is rarely the challenge, but getting the appointment set up is. Since most transactions can be completed online without requiring customers to visit a branch, customers tend to only visit bank branches when they have questions best attended to by a customer service personnel, and this is an opportunity for the bank to provide improved customer loyalty and increased sales.
The key to implementing effective new banking technology starts with the objectives of encouraging interaction with increased information, and leading to better outcomes in face-to-face interactions through computer-mediated communications.back