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Investing in the Branch Experience Is More Important Now than Ever

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BY W. MICHAEL SCOTT

How does the state of the bookstore extend to the credit union branch? As it turns out, the in-person experience is alive and well, with both book consumers and financial consumers. And that tendency makes a compelling case for continuing to invest in the CU branch. Keep reading for some tips.

Much like the well-documented decline in transaction volume at the financial institution branch, bookstores have experienced a sizable drop in traffic.With ubiquitous companies like Borders having completely disappeared from our national landscape, the book consumers’ exodus to online retailers such as Amazon is causing many to predict the continuation of this trend.However, the mega-successful digital company Amazon just opened its second retail store in Seattle, Wash., with the possibility of other stores opening in the coming years.This puzzling development begs us all to ask the question:what is the true value of a face-to-face interaction, and why in some cases is it much more effective than online exchanges?

In bookstores, and especially in retail financial locations, many consumers desire competent and trustworthy employees to help them with their needs inperson. Whether they’re looking for the perfect adventure story for their grandchild or assistance on a car loan, these individuals who prefer visiting the store over swiping their smartphone or clicking their mouse are more prevalent than you may think.Just last year, the U.S. Census Bureau published activities that show us that despite decades of growth, total e-commerce sales represent only 10 percent of all retail sales.

Given those statistics, credit unions should continue to heavily invest in their branch experience as part of their market strategy. Simultaneously they should leverage the right technology to maximize every visit.Two innovative branch software-as-a-service solutions that help accomplish this aim are digital appointment applications and lobby tracking systems (LTSs).

Getting Accountholders to the Branch

Digital appointment applications are helping account holders use nearly any Internet-connected device to schedule branch appointments through their institution’s website or mobile app.This capability modernizes how consumers engage with branches, virtually eliminating both wait times once they arrive at the branch and the possibility of meeting with a representative who does not have the right skill set for a particular need.

This content is for CU BUSINESS eMagazine , Special Deal: 2 websites , and NEW! The Leadership Team Builder Group Subscription members only.
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