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How easy is it to do business with you?

branch transformation

We’ve all seen pictures of ultra-modern branches with Jetson-like features. Many can be mistaken for coffee houses or Apple stores with bright lighting, digital walls, and high-end modular furniture. While these new designs may be pretty, are they functional?

It’s no longer just about keeping up with the banking Jones’, it’s about being compared to the retail, food service, and hospitality industries. The consumer experience benchmark has been set by the Amazons, Chick-Fil-As, Nordstroms, and Ritz-Carltons of the world – examples of “cream of the crop” or “trademark service.” To keep up, companies across all industries are stepping up their game. And it’s not only the five-star retailers – even lower-cost fast food joints like McDonald’s have invested in technology at their brick and mortar locations. What is impressive about McDonald’s self-service ordering is how they are executing it. A concierge welcomes you, guides you through order placement, and then delivers your food and refills your beverages. They have put the consumer in control and have made it simple and convenient.

Is it easy to do business with you?

Now, think about banking. The most important thing to consumers is their financial security, and when they visit a branch, they’re often taken back to the dark ages. We get it – the operations and regulations behind banking are truly complex - don’t project this complexity on the customer! Make it simple for them to do business with you. You can spend all you want for the pretty modern-looking branch and, if you don’t put consumers’ needs at the center of what you do and focus on crafting a meaningful consumer experience, you will achieve very little long-lasting return from the capital investment.

Working through the following steps will move you from vision to execution:

1. Invest in your staff

Be candid! Take the time to define the skills and capabilities required in your new branch environment. Assess the suitability of your staff. Commit to training current employees or to finding new team members who exemplify a servant attitude.

2. Establish a choreography

Be intentional! Define how a consumer journeys through your branch and back it up with clear employee roles and responsibilities that create seamless transitions for the consumer.

3. Enhance the environment

Get creative! Depending on your budget, this might be a fresh coat of paint and new waiting-area furniture. For others, it may be an extensive renovation to a new-age branch. The depth of your budget does not define your ability to reengineer the consumer experience.

4. Connect all touchpoints

Be consistent! Align channels to create a familiar experience for consumers regardless of how they engage with you. Integrate as much as possible to reduce redundancies and increase convenience.

5. Build relationships

Get personal! When possible, leverage upgraded technology and processes. Spend quality time asking your customers meaningful questions. Learn how you can best serve them over the long term. Be their banker of choice.

Don’t be intimidated by thinking your bank, or credit union, will be left behind because a million-dollar investment is not in the budget. Most banks and credit unions aren’t vying for a photo spread in Interior Design magazine. They are trying to do the best with the branches they have. You can rise above the rest through excellent execution. Your customer will remember how they were treated, and the quality of their experience, more than the number of pixels in your full-wall digital screen.

If you’re looking for help crafting a meaningful experience for your customers or members, give us a call. The Maclean Group is here to deliver.

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