It’s no secret that digital channels have spiked in popularity. Banking customers continue to flock to the convenience and speed of digital banking in massive numbers. In fact, a recent Oracle report found that 81% of banking customers interact with their financial institution through digital channels.
However, some in the banking industry have misinterpreted this digital boom as the end of the conventional banking branch. In reality, branches are poised to be more profitable than ever – if bankers can harness the technology needed to drive the experiences customers want.
Technology Centered on Relationships
According to a Celent survey, “Improving customer relationships is now job number one. North American financial institutions now solidly identify improving customer relationships as their retail banking strategic priority (over improving sales results).”
So, how do banks provide an improved customer experience at the branch? A key component is technology that enhances the relationship between banks and their customers. Here are some examples:
Interactive Teller Machines and In-Lobby Tellers
Today’s customers have become accustomed to digital technology that prioritizes convenience and instant gratification. Two such technologies that satisfy these expectations are interactive teller machines (ITMs) and in-lobby tellers (ILTs).
ITMs often are referred to as remote tellers—featuring an actual teller via video—and are generally intended for remote branches that are otherwise non-staffed. As part of the branch optimization picture, ITMs can increase an institution’s service availability and reduce labor costs.
The ILT, on the other hand, is a full-featured machine that provides customers a heightened in-branch experience. Really, ILTs bridge the gap between tellers and ITMs, offering a deep level of service that’s comparable to what a human teller offers.
ILTs are designed for the retail space of the bank, and consist of touch screens, key pads, cash dispensers, card readers and more. Customers have access to all of the ATM functionalities they’ve known for years (image deposits, withdrawals, loan payments, balance inquiries, etc.), with the addition of broader self-service choices, including:
- Bill pay
- Account history
- Account opening
- Loan applications
- Document scanning
A PwC study explains why it is worth investing in such updated hardware: “Technology is rapidly morphing from an expensive challenge into a potent enabler of both customer experience and effective operations.”
By taking on most transaction types, ITMs and ILTs give your staff more time to assist customers with financial advice and other, more complex needs. Finally, ILTs can increase sales by facilitating targeted marketing campaigns that are actionable: users can click on an offer and start the application process on the spot.
Handheld Smart Devices
Placing smart devices in designated branch areas provides a self-service/education option for mobile and online banking users. It’s also a great way to help older or less technical customers get comfortable completing their transactions through these less expensive channels, reserving the more expensive branch channel for more complex sales and service issues.
Further, today’s most sophisticated core platforms feature tablet integration, allowing staff to move freely around the branch while maintaining access to all core processing services. This combination of technology and portability of information significantly boosts staff efficiency while providing customers with a more personalized experience.
Derrick Bretz leads strategic product development and quality improvement initiatives within CSI Payment Services. In his role, Derrick enhances payment and commerce experiences and customer education through the use of data analytics. Having helped develop CSI’s initial mobile offerings, Derrick continues to provide leadership on mobile commerce initiatives. His diverse background in the financial industry gives him a solid understanding of emerging payment technologies and their impact on the payments ecosystem.