Bridge the Digital–Branch Divide

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BY MEREDITH DEEN

Deploy technology to enhance personal service and create a competitive edge

There’s a tendency to assume that new ways of doing business will supplant what’s already in place, but people continually demonstrate a strong preference to supplement rather than replace.

Nowhere is this inclination clearer than in financial services. Digital advances in the form of remote check deposits and e-signatures have all but closed the loop on full-service automated delivery: The technology is now available so that consumers can open, access, and manage their accounts without ever stepping foot inside a credit union or bank. And yet, many continue to do so. Some account holders conduct all their financial business in person, while many others choose to stop by a branch occasionally. Even those who rely exclusively on online access appreciate knowing that experienced professionals are available at the nearest branch whenever they’d like to consult on how best to achieve their financial goals.

For the foreseeable future, the branch—and the personal service delivered there—is here to stay. According to the 2017 FMSI Teller Line Study, average monthly transaction volume per branch increased 10 percent over the last five years, reversing what had been a steady 20-year decline. Despite some right-sizing in branch networks over the past eight years, U.S. financial institutions still maintain more than 91,000 offices.

For most of your account holders, it’s not about branch or remote access. They want the best possible service via whatever channel they choose. To deliver on those expectations, seek out and deploy the most effective tools to maximize customer relationships across channels. Instead of focusing on digital over branch delivery, consider these five technology solutions to improve front line service and efficiency.

  1. Appointment scheduling software

To acknowledge that their time is a valuable commodity, give account holders a convenient means to schedule an appointment to open an account, apply for a loan, or seek guidance on financial matters. With advance notice through an appointment app, branch managers can adjust scheduling, if necessary, to ensure that a financial professional trained to handle the request will be ready and prepared for the interaction. In addition, appointment software offers useful data on the types and patterns of service requests at each branch to support staff scheduling and training.


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