It’s a valid question, considering that more and more transactions are being done outside of the branch every day. McKinsey & Company estimates that in five years more than 95 percent of banking transactions will take place through digital or direct channels. As alternative channels account for more transactions, what exactly brings members into the branch?
Better still, what constitutes a good experience for these members?
If you really want to know, be prepared to monitor a long list of touchpoints. Consider how a typical consumer might find his or her way into – and out of – your branch:
- Identifies shared branching or in-network ATM at your branch using an online locator such as co-opcreditunions.org/locator.
- Transfers funds from an account at another credit union to make a loan payment, using an enhanced NextGen ATM.
- Asks a member service representative about funds availability on a mobile deposit.
- Follows up on a suspicious transaction found on mobile banking.
- Verifies account balances by smartphone after visiting the branch earlier in the day.
If you look at the mashup of bricks and pixels that’s already transforming retail and food service, it’s clear that your members see their interactions as journeys, often made across many channels. McKinsey & Company reports that consumers who access mobile and online banking more than once per week are 60 percent more likely to visit a branch. Members are using multiple channels, but they also want channels to integrate in a way that makes the journey coherent.
“No one wakes up and says, ‘Oh goody, I get to go to the branch today,’ ” says Sarah Bang, President of CO-OP Shared Branching/FSCC and Chief Strategy Officer, CO-OP Shared Branching. “People coming into the branch are on a mission. They want to get it done fast.” Anything you can do to reduce the time required is a plus – and anything you can do to ensure that members can accomplish what they came in to accomplish is even better.
It’s not gimmickry or a sheer love of automation that inspires members to like self-service. Bang points out, “We’ve found that members appreciate using vCom automated kiosks to make late loan payments; it saves them the embarrassment of handing a late payment over to a teller.” Similarly, members who are sensitive to disclosing financial information in person might simply prefer the privacy provided by an automated channel.
According to McKinsey & Company, 65 percent of all consumers and 69 percent of Millennials feel good about themselves and the company they’re doing business with when they can resolve an issue without talking to customer service.
It’s undeniable that members head into the branch when they have complicated business to transact: applying for a loan, resolving an issue, opening a new account. As credit unions transform their branches with help from technology, it’s natural to see these member interactions as opportunities to cross sell.
That’s not a bad idea, but Bang urges credit unions to proceed with care. “If I’m coming into the branch because I couldn’t complete the transaction online, I probably won’t be open to a sales pitch of a product. However, this may be the perfect time to cross-sell or troubleshoot other channels. I’d be very appreciative if the teller told me about other options to get the transaction done faster in the future.”
How do you humanize the experience without dragging out the transaction or making an unwanted sales pitch? “How about giving me a smile?” Bang asks. “What if you make one non-transaction-related comment? ‘Is Steve your husband?’ or ‘I love your skirt.’ Even just facing me as I walk in or out makes me feel recognized,” and it’s appropriate whether someone is there to do a major transaction or a quick deposit.
What’s a flawless branch experience in 2015? The fact is, the answer is changing. Delivering speed, self-service and humanity looks different today than it did in 2005. Just look at the array of branch transformation technology that’s available to credit unions of every size: NextGen ATMs by CO-OP that enable members to do shared branching transactions; video-equipped Diebold In Lobby Teller and NCR Interactive Teller Machines that combine human interaction with fast automated transactions; and a growing complement of mobile and virtual solutions that augment the in-branch experience, including Sprig by CO-OP, CardNav, CO-OP Mobile and RealPay.
How all of these elements will integrate with each other – and with members or staff – as we move forward is still evolving. What we know is that technology, members and staff will all be interacting differently and more. And while that may or may not sound like anyone’s idea of flawless, it is moving rapidly in the direction of what people want.