5 In-Branch Strategies to Create A Personalized Banking Experience
Digital banking is now very common, as consumers flock to the personalization, ease of access, and convenience offered by mobile apps and online portals. But, for the many who prefer face-to-face interactions, or for those whose needs cannot be met online, in-branch, personalized banking service is still important.
Many banks struggle to offer the same levels of personalization and convenience as apps, which greatly reduces customer satisfaction in those branches. For example, the FMSI Retail Branch Lobby Study reports that in-branch wait times have gone up from an average of 4 minutes and 46 seconds to 7 minutes and 6 seconds since 2011. With an average assist-time (across 780,000 bank branch locations) of 21 minutes, customers have more reasons to stay away from bank branches than to use them.
At the same time, customer visits to bank branches create valuable touchpoints and opportunities for relationship building, offering more service, and adding personalization. Developing strategies to this effect is important for banks that want to continue to see value from physical locations.
Personalized banking is the future of bank-branching. These five in-branch strategies to improve customer service in banking will get you started on the right track to improving personalization in your lobby and branches.
5 Personalized Banking Strategies
1. Install Self-Help Kiosks and Solutions
Physical banks struggle with wait-times and assist times as well as providing 24/7 service. Despite that, many customers only come in for minor services. For example, in one study, 44% of bank branch visitors reported that they regularly go to a bank branch to check their balance. 85% visit banks to cash checks or deposit cash into their accounts, 46% visit to pay bills or make transfers, and only about 38% go in for actual help with account problems, setting up new services, requesting new products, or reporting fraud.
In short, most customers occasionally visit banks for reasons that could very easily be handled through a self-service kiosk. Embracing the future of digital branch banking and placing these inside and outside the bank gives individuals opportunities to quickly check their bank balance, deposit funds, deposit checks, and pay bills or make transfers without having to wait for a clerk to be free. While not everyone will use these solutions, many people will, which will increase customer satisfaction while reducing wait times for other customers.
2. Create Digital Sign-In for Lobbies
Digital sign-in, using either an app, a kiosk, or a tablet, allows you to ask for customer details when they enter the bank, so they can get more personalized service. Digital sign-in also allows you to reduce privacy concerns, removing the need to share address and contact details on paper. Digital sign-in ties into queue management and customer assignation but primarily services to enhance privacy and personalization options while collecting wait and queue time data.
Here, digital sign-in allows you to assign numbers to customers, collect details about their accounts before they reach an assistant, and otherwise improve the quality of service once a representative is ready to help.
3. Assign Representatives to Customers
While you may not employ enough representatives to conveniently match representatives to customers every time they come in, it’s often beneficial to try to assign individuals to customers. This means that when someone comes into a bank, they are automatically assigned to their representative unless that person or persons are not in the office.
Using this personalized banking strategy allows you to greatly improve personalization for customers because clerks and service agents will become more familiar with the individual, their spending habits, and their needs over time.
It also allows you to drive more consistency in chat and phone support and through the physical branch because your customer will primarily talk to the same people during most interactions.
4. Integrate Branch Information into Banking Apps
Most customers are willing to download and use a digital branch banking app but might still want to come into the branch for more personalization, face-to-face interaction, or for help with problems they can’t solve online. Others simply prefer banking in person. However, you can add convenience to physical banking by integrating features such as online wait-time and queue estimates, online appointment scheduling, and so on. These features mean that customers can schedule an appointment online through the app to avoid a long wait period, and then walk in at the time of their appointment.
This bank branch strategy integrates very well with digital sign-in solutions because the customer simply has to sign-in online before showing up. Planned appointments also allow you to better assign service representatives to individuals based on needs and experience, which will reduce the overall assist time while improving the quality of service. Creating cross-functionality between banking apps and branch systems also allow you to enable automatic sign-in from the app, to immediately push customer data to a service representative, and otherwise greatly improve the personalization of the individual’s visit.
5. Utilize Queue Management and Customer Assignation
Queue management makes it easy to inform customers of expected wait times but it serves several other purposes. For example, a digital queue allows you to assign customers to service representatives based on their stated needs or sign-in category, allows you to increase the urgency of speeding up assist times during busy periods, and allows you to track busy periods so that you can manage and reduce wait-times during those periods.
This then allows you to add more personalization in that customers are automatically directed to the service representative they need while improving overall satisfaction for the branch. For example, if someone signs in and selects a category reason for their visit, you can immediately direct them to an appropriate branch or even individual. This saves time over connecting to a general representative first and then having to wait for someone else to be available.
Personalized banking and convenience are two of the largest drivers of in-branch visits. These 5 strategies allow you to improve personalization for customers by preparing sales representatives, reducing wait times, offering more information upfront, catering to a wider range of user hours, and improving quality of service. If individuals can utilize self-service for small requests, sign-in and share their details as well as the reason for their visit upfront, and consistently connect with the same representatives, they will receive better and more personalized service, which will improve their experience in your bank branch.