Redefining Customer Experience: The Future of the Branch

by Joseph Walent 0

The way financial institution branches are changing is by no means set or following any kind script. Just as various species demonstrated adaption to their local environments through an evolutionary process, so are branches making modifications to better serve consumers in their addressable markets to survive. The article provides a succinct explanation of some of the important areas that are being addressed.

• Assisted self-service channels satisfy the customer desire to operate independently and to interact for advice and support when needed. 51% would like more staff who can advise on products and 69% would be more confident if that advice was also accessible through human interaction on the website. Tablet access to jointly research products with branch staff would appeal to 63%.

In light of these statistics, there is little doubt that the ‘branch’ is here to stay for the foreseeable future. The challenge facing banks will be in how they design and develop an effective strategy (use cases) for new branch models. These will require a detailed analysis of the three pillars underpinning the branch: accessibility, interaction and space.

Mercator Advisory Group recognizes the varying objectives FIs emphasize as they implement changes at their branch locations, and how they reflect the mission of the FI as a whole. However, in the majority of cases we’ve seen, the transition of the physical location from a place of transactions to learning center is the most widespread. We expect branches will indeed consolidate, with points of presence being transitioned to automated and self-service locations in some cases, and recasting into others into informational and educational resource centers. Getting the right blend will be the tricky part.

Overview by Joseph Walent, Associate Director, Customer interactions Advisory Service at Mercator Advisory Group

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