From Teller Line to Teller-less: Top 4 Highlights from the Future Branches Report
With the rise of Fintech and a customer base that’s becoming increasingly comfortable with the ease and convenience provided by new technology, banks have had to work harder than ever at bringing people into their physical branches. Tablets, video conferencing, digital signage and other technology has become standard in most modern banks and credit unions, and investments in personnel training has risen significantly. But how successful have they been in their efforts? What techniques have created the desirable environment and experiences that their customers are seeking? And importantly, what strategies have been most effective at keeping the branch ahead of the competition?
Diving into the facts around customer-facing technologies, this report investigates how changes in the industry are transforming the physical branch. To compile this research, Future Branches conducted an industry survey of 100 banking professionals to develop a clear view into the current state of the branch experience, and where it’s heading in the years to come. View a summary of some of the highlights from their findings below, or download the full report to get a complete picture of the trends.
1. Banks are investing heavily in self-service technology
The top 4 investment priorities reported in this study were digital signage (61%), video conferencing (58%), self-service tools (54%), and tablets for customer use (54%). Based on these results, it’s clear that banks are prioritizing customer-facing solutions — specifically, self-service technologies and digital display technologies — above others. The fact that over half of respondents are prioritizing video conferencing technology is significant. This is indicative of an ongoing trend to expand branch services into new geographical areas by creating “hub and spoke” branch arrangements and by enabling internet-connected customers to reach
trained personnel from the comfort of their own homes, which fits in with another reported priority of banks in the study — to make banking more seamless with their customers’ personal lives (50%).
“The bank wants more customer interaction at the branch. We believe we can achieve
the desired levels of interaction through technology services.” – Information Technology Professional, Regional Bank
2. Larger banks have a tech advantage
The study found that 21% of banks believe they are behind their competitors in terms of the sophistication of their in-branch technology—that is, the degree to which they have modernized their physical branches. This study found that the majority of banks reporting themselves to be in this situation categorize themselves as regional or community banks or credit unions, while every global and the majority of national banks tended to claim they were “already a leader” or that they were at least “competitive”. But smaller banks and credit unions are rising to the challenge. While 21% believe themselves to be behind the competition, 20% are confident that they are making meaningful progress.
“We have been an attraction for technology consultants and service providers over the years to try new technology which they have developed, and which we can use in our branches.” – Marketing Professional, Regional Bank
3. Customer-facing tech is viewed as the safer investment
With the wealth of tech available to financial institutions today, it’s perhaps not surprising that nearly half of banks (48%) are prioritizing implementing new technologies across all their branches. To support these new technologies, banks are prioritizing the training of in-branch personnel on customer-facing technologies (47%) and to a slightly lower extent, back-end technologies (41%). Looking more closely at the numbers, it appears that the difference could be resulting from pain points in training for new back-end systems, with banks reporting pain in that area sitting 3% higher than those reporting the training as a priority. Conversely, just 36% of banks report pains in training staff on customer-facing technology — more than 10% below those prioritizing that area of training. Looking at this, it appears that in their aim to improve the customer experience, most banks view investing in self-service style customer-facing technology to be much easier to implement.
“Our bank wants to give complete experiences to our customers and to keep them excited by introducing new technologies on a regular basis.” – Marketing Professional, National Bank
4. Banks are keen on overcoming pain points in training
As discussed in the previous point, in order to take advantage of the latest technologies, banks are prioritizing the development of robust training regimens to get their in-branch personnel up to speed. The value of this high investment in training is clearly reflected in responses showing that 68% of banks rating themselves as ‘competitive’ or ‘a leader’ in terms of their in-branch personnel, but it isn’t without its challenges. In the study, respondents cited the struggle to create comprehensive training programs which accommodate branch personnel of different backgrounds and different levels of experience as a major pain point. Furthermore, measuring the development of personnel after training, keeping training relevant as new technologies continue to disrupt the industry, and retaining personnel after investing in their training are all issues that came up multiple times.
“Retaining the personnel after we have spent on training them on the technology that they have [is our biggest pain point]. When they choose to move to another organization, we have to spend on training the next person, which does have a cost challenge.” – Sales and Service Professional, Regional Bank
Ready to learn more about the way customers view the role of the branch in this rapidly changing digital landscape? Download the full Future Branches Study — From Teller Line to Teller-less: Aligning Your Mix of In-Branch Employees and Technologies with Customer Interests.
Looking for more unique perspectives on the ways that leaders in the financial industry are adapting to shifting customer expectations and evolving technology? View our recent webinar here — Embracing a Customer-First Mindset: Eliminating Friction Points in your Customer Multi-Channel Journey.
Ready to get started on streamlining your physical and digital offerings to bring more value to both your customers and organization? Schedule a consultation with Coconut Software to learn more about how our tailored solutions can help.