In this day and age, many would have you believe that the physical banking branch is on its way out. You’ve heard it time and time again, people are using mobile apps and websites to handle their business. So why would anyone want or need to visit a bank in person? Contrary to popular belief, statistics show that not only are people actively seeking out physical branches for financial advice, but they are more satisfied with their experience and likely to recommend their bank after meeting with an advisor at a branch (Market Force October 2016 The Financial Brand). In order to compete with the online world and remain relevant, branches need to actively be on the lookout for exciting and new technology that will keep people happy, interested and engaged. Successful branches have been able to do this by investigating upcoming trends, identifying what makes the most sense for them, and efficiently implementing these changes.
Times are changing, and technology is advancing quickly. What was new last year is old hat now, and it is important to stay up to date in order to remain relevant with millennials and younger customers. Biometrics, robotics, beacon technology, internet of things…what does all of this mean? There are multiple companies, websites, blogs and articles dedicated to the research of these ideas. It would behoove you to peruse the internet for all of these options, but also to visit different branches in your region and the surrounding areas. What are your competitors doing? Are they on the right track with their technology strategies? Are they doing something that you could be doing better? Any and all research will lead you in the right direction and help with your decisions in the next step of the process.
Identify Your Options
Once you have investigated all the new and exciting technology trends, it is important to narrow in on which ones make the most sense for your branch. Some ideas may be too expensive, too modern for your region, or not fit with your culture. The goal of modernizing is to encourage people to interact while at your branch, but not at the expense of your day to day productivity. If a certain idea or product will require too much of your time and effort, then it may not be feasible to achieve. In order to make the best impression on your customers, you need to make sure that what you are putting forth is your best effort. If you love an idea, but are unable to complete it in a way that is professional and engaging, it may be better to use a different idea that you will be able to operate well.
You’ve done your research, you’ve decided on a path, and now it’s time to implement! This part of the process may require multiple steps, such as contacting an architect for advice, ordering new equipment, and pinpointing the exact location of where your new technology will be placed. You will also need to create a process that all employees will be able to follow when interacting with customers. For example, if you are implementing technology counters for customer convenience, it is important for your employees to understand what this service is able to offer on its own, and when their help will be necessary. Small changes like these can change the flow of your work day by allowing simple transactions to take place without much help and allow you to focus on more important meetings involving mortgages, financial planning, etc.
Once you have been able to accomplish all three steps you will be well on your way to remaining current, modern and interesting. This process will need to be repeated multiple times throughout the years, but can be done as often as you want or are able. Advancements in technology are exciting, and can add a new depth to your interactions. By staying up to date, you will show your customers that their convenience and satisfaction is your number one priority.