There’s no denying the fact that customer and member preferences are changing, and that branches are going to have to adapt if they want to remain relevant. Innovative technologies and new digital tools are bringing massive changes to the banking and credit union landscape, and nowhere is this more visible than in the brick and mortar channel.
But these changes don’t mean that the branch is becoming irrelevant. Even with the reduction in branch traffic and increase in mobile and self-service solutions, customers and members still want to be able to sit down with a financial professional when making big decisions.
There are far reaching implications on the efficiency of your staff as well, the topic of a future white paper. McKinsey found that in the United Kingdom, “some advisers spent only 27% of their time with customers, half of teller customer time was still spent on migratable demand, and branch managers spent almost a day per week on paperwork and equipment maintenance.” This showcases significant work can be done in-branch to help your staff reduce the manual, low value tasks they are currently burdened with, and instead leverage a revitalized branch to streamline operations and refocus on advisory support, the services that often drive the most revenue.
With millennials and Gen X ranking convenient branches as their primary consideration when selecting their financial institution, that’s not likely to change any time soon. What does need to change is the idea that they will continue sitting on hold, standing in a queue or waiting in an outdated lobby to meet with a staff member at a time that may not be convenient to them.
Financial institutions have already embraced the change in customer and member expectations and are rapidly adapting to meet them. And the good news is that improvements don’t necessarily require massive investment and a complete institution-wide overhaul of the branch experience.
Solutions already exist that can be implemented in stages, and each of the four suggestions outlined above can be combined to create the branch of the future. Even starting small and introducing just one of these suggestions into your strategy can bring serious improvements. Sitting on the sidelines is not a winning strategy and the time to begin future proofing your branch is now.