Branch transformation is not a project to check off your financial institution’s priority list; it’s a long-term commitment that goes beyond technology upgrades.
A large European bank has a very robust transformation program underway which is looking to rethink their branches in light of the high levels of digital engagement they are seeing from their customers. Part of the transformation was to completely retool how their employees engaged with customers in the branch. Their goal is to move all routine “high counter” (i.e. teller) transactions to self-service and have their branch staff focused on developing a much deeper relationship with their customers.
Unfortunately, their software team was faced with an unforeseen delay that caused the deployment of the branch technology to be pushed back by about 2 months. Undeterred, the transformation team decided to move forward with their first branch pilot without the benefit of the new technology.
As a result, for two months, the bank tested a new approach to serving customers without the underlying technology upgrade. Surprisingly, in those first two months, the organization saw a measurable improvement in consumer satisfaction and sales. Once the technology came online, the bank found they were able to take the early momentum and improve upon it with the benefits of the new back office upgrades.
As banks continue to transform the way customers are served, branch transformation has been at the forefront of the conversation. Although the transformation process is commonly viewed as being a software and hardware initiative, a much larger, more holistic process – focused on improving customer experience – is crucial to long-term success.
Most progressive financial institutions realize that upgraded technology is a means to an end –- an enabler towards increased customer engagement and satisfaction – but not the primary reason for choosing an FI. Ongoing Mercator Advisory Group Banking Channels research continues to show that it is the improved interaction available through technology, and not the technology itself, that moves the needle on customer satisfaction. What matters most is the value that banking customers receive from improvements available through meaningful technology and process improvements.
Overview by Ed O’Brien, Director, Banking Channels Advisory Service at Mercator Advisory Group
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