Bank of the Future: Engaging Virtualization
How many times in the last year have you actually walked into a branch bank? The rate of walk in branch bank traffic has significantly declined in the past five years with the advent and increased functionality of online banking. What we think of as a bank branch today is transitioning to a newly defined building. With smart design, banks can position their branches to remain relevant with consumers and within the community.
Engage in Access. The bank of the future must capture its audience. By improving transparency and taking down barriers, trust is built with the consumer. Immediate face to face interaction allows for an on-demand customer engagement experience to occur in the banking process. Placing the teller line closer to the audience, allowing the teller to greet customers as they walk in the door is simple way to achieve this personal connection.
Engage the Brand. Consistent branding and messaging is important in today's world of sophisticated consumers. Integrating branded social media messaging in interactive scroll screens at the physical branch reinforces the bank’s identity. Developing a consistent branch message, including the building design, supergraphics and engaging displays, takes cues from the retail sector. This is important because informed, loyal brand consumers tell others about their experience.
Engage in Technology. Offering the latest in interactive touch screen technology empowers the customer and helps to address the "always on" mentality of younger consumers. Rather than replacing personal interactions, banks should consider freedom of choice as a driver for what consumers can accomplish independently versus knowing that there is a physical resource to which they can reach out. Placing advisory "expert" employees within easy reach of "DIY" interactive kiosks bridges this gap.
Engage the Community. Community involvement is very important to the consumer and the community. Traditionally the bank has been seen as the stable hub of a community. Offering educational classes as well as allowing business to hold meetings in an area of the branch bank is a way to show community engagement. Think of amenity rich environments that welcome customers and provide them convenience for their busy lifestyles. These amenities could include partnerships with other local businesses, such as a popular local cafe operating a popup stand within the bank, or be simple meeting spaces or a business center available to the public. Enhancing the experience could involve an "invite only" lounge for out of town or high level customers.
Addressing these key elements and other questions of how the engagement process can impact design and ultimately the customer experience will help bank branches evolve with technology and maintain relevance well into the future. Call me, I’d love to discuss the bank of the future with you.