All companies that sell widgets or work in the service industry are always looking at improving the bottom line, and financial Institutions are no exception. Since the great recession of the late 2000’s Banks have been searching for strategies to reduce costs but still improve performance. In many bank’s minds, the fastest way to trim costs is to reduce staff but at what cost to the customer. Yes, reducing staff will save dollars in the short term but what does it do to the long term perception of the Bank.
What if there were other ways to decrease expenses and increase sales without reducing staff, or better yet allow you to elevate staff to be more efficient and profitable? All financial institutions need to realize that they are providing a retail service and must start acting like a retail store. You, Mr. Banker, are no different than a Target store or Starbucks coffee shop. There are ways to make your organization more profitable while still watching the bottom line. With the introduction of the right location, creating an experience for your customers like no other and utilizing technology to become more efficient.
The number one reason patrons bank where they bank is for what reason, CONVENIENCE. With cut throat competition it is vital to be located in the correct location. In today’s economy most financial institutions are located on ‘B’ and ‘C’ sites on a grading scale from A to F. Understanding that it is a huge endeavor to relocate your branches, but if an ‘A’ site becomes available it can mean the difference between being a 10 million or 50 million asset size location. Now location is not the only factor in the growth ratio of the branch but it is one of the key factors.
The thought process of, if we build it they will come, is long gone and the new age customer demands more. With the ever changing economy and fast pace environment it is even more critical to separate yourself from your competition. Banks need to start Removing the traditional barriers and provide more open and flexible meeting areas. This will allow you to higher more qualified staff that can do more than just a transaction. Given the right tools and training, your staff can engage with customers to provide the services they want and need. Instill in your customers that the Bank can provide more than just checking and savings accounts, this will allow you provide more with less.
The introduction of technology tools will allow your staff the freedom to entice and service your customers more effectively. Remove the mundane activities of counting cash out of the equation and encourage your staff to interact and cross sell your customers. Equipment such as self-service coin counters, TCR (Teller Cash Recyclers), PTM (Personal Teller Machines) can provide fast and effective service while still allowing your staff to engage with your customers. Your staff can then starting selling themselves instead of worrying about balancing cash drawers and vaults.