Today, when a customer walks into a bank branch, they’re usually not there to deposit checks or make loan payments—those are tasks they can now accomplish from anywhere using mobile technologies. Rather, a branch visit these days entails solving an issue that needs a human decision, opening a new account or discussing such complex products as loans or financial planning.
With that in mind, facilities must also evolve from transaction-oriented locations into customer-centric service centers. And building service-oriented branches requires a few specific areas of innovation that provide managers and frontline employees the tools they need to be most effective. The idea is that a bank’s technology should empower staff to see customers the way customers see themselves.
To that end, there are three primary areas through which banks can facilitate a more service-oriented branch:
First, institutions should implement tech systems that enable a customer-centric view rather than an account-centric view. Customers see one bank—they don’t recognize, or even care, whether the core system, Internet banking, loan servicing systems and mobile banking platforms are separate; they just want a seamless experience from one touch point to the next. Banks should use tools that can “journey map” customers to gain a complete picture of their experience across all interactions.
Banks also should record and monitor customer data to help them optimize the entire customer journey, rather than focusing on isolated touch points. To gain insight, they must study both structured data, like transaction data, as well as such unstructured data as call logs.
Strengthening Customer Relationships
Next comes the need for systems that can automate customer engagement for frontline employees. Powerful CRM programs can collect customer data from a variety of places and provide information to employees on profitability, recommended products, transaction and account history and customer service interactions.
By creating a companywide tech foundation that is focused on the customer, banks can increase collaboration across all lines of business and build a cohesive understanding of how the various touch points affect the customer relationship. As a result, the entire bank can collectively deliver a consistently great experience throughout the customer lifecycle.
Finally, banks should consider the physical layout of the branch and look for ways to incorporate technology that allows more flexibility. In addition to providing mobile technology directly to the consumer, banks also should leverage tablets and mobile systems to empower employees to move throughout the branch and work with customers in a comfortable setting. By unshackling frontline employees from the counter or desk, they can educate, solve issues and collect data that is directly entered into the core system, eliminating roadblocks to centralized information.
Ultimately, for banks to stand out from their rivals, they must look closely at the customer experience and ensure that the technology is mobile, flexible and supports a service-oriented culture. Tim Kopischke is director of software engineering for CSI. In his role, he serves as chief architect of CSI’s cloud-based core system, and he leads research on emerging technologies and application development trends.