Blog  |  April 13, 2017

Creating the Optimal 21st Century Branch – Make Your Branch a Destination

Are your bank branches providing the modern, customer-focused environments your customers crave? In this blog post, we’ll explore how redesigning the branch layout can create positive interactions and energy between branch staff and consumers.

Unobstructed Customer Service

In a perfect world, the universal banker (the banker who “specializes in everything” as referenced in part I of this series) would have the freedom to move through the branch and assist customers without obstacle, either physically (taking a deposit) or digitally (assisting with online banking). Imagine entering a bank branch and being approached by a banker who has the ability to help you on the fly with anything you need.

This scenario is possible in many retail stores, but unfortunately, most bank branches are not set up in a way that allows this type of freedom. According to Aite Group’s study Rethinking and Right-Sizing the Retail Branch, retailers have started designing their stores as destinations, while bank branches still resemble transaction centers.

In order to create branches that are more in-line with how today’s consumer defines modern customer service, institutions will have to make decisions on how they can transform their branches from transaction centers into destinations. Fortunately, some institutions have already been successful in this endeavor.

4 Ways to Make Your Branch a Destination

  1. Open up the floor plan: Opening up a branch’s floor plan encourages movement and generates energy. Extra movement keeps traffic flowing, which creates more interactivity.
  2. Remove barriers to interactivity: In Evolution of the Universal Banker, ABA Bank Marketing says the more successful branch models use a floor plan that limits barriers. This includes eliminating or reducing the size of the traditional teller counter, opening up more interaction possibilities.
  3. Create education spaces to demonstrate technology: This method creates unique opportunities to connect with customers face-to-face, and is important for helping those who are hesitant about using the bank’s digital channels.
  4. Ensure new branch design represents you and your customers: The bank’s brand image should be accurately reflected in the new design, but make sure to incorporate the local community in the new design as well. This will make customers feel more at ease and comfortable.

Now that we have explored deployment of the universal banker model and changes to branch layout, check back for part three of this blog series, which will take a look at leveraging technology to create the branch of the 21st century.

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