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The Case for Increasing Branch Staffing Levels

I have to admit it, when I walk into a hardware store I usually need help. And I ask for it. If help isn’t readily available, I go searching for it, and I usually get frustrated when help is not readily available. So, what’s your threshold for finding help when your money is involved?

Research has shown that 70 percent of banking consumers will leave a bank branch and not return if they ask for help and it is not readily available. It’s called revenue leakage. If I don’t get help in the hardware store and get miffed, it’s inconvenient to drive to another store miles away. So, I’ll take the time to hunt down a person in that bright colored apron. But banking is different. With competitor bank branches in close proximity (or just a URL away), a miffed consumer simply needs to walk down the across the street or click to a different website. Help is moments away.

What happens when your customers request help on a specific financial product or service?  Can you fulfill every mortgage, wealth management, small business lending request at every branch?  Not in every branch. Do consumers expect this expertise in every branch? Yes.  And they expect fast, personalized service.

Do banks want to fulfill every new product or service request at every branch….or channel?  Of course, it part of building loyalty, building wallet-share, being a trusted advisor and, stopping revenue leakage.   

Can banks afford to staff up every branch to deliver this level of service?  Yes they can! But not in the traditional sense. Yes, by providing the customer with the right expert quickly and engaging with that expert eye-to-eye.

 I’d venture to say, there is a 8 to 10 minute threshold from when the customer walks into the branch and an appropriate bank expert engages the customer. To meet this threshold, banks are leveraging technology to provide a remote expert using high quality video and audio to connect the customer with the expert and begin understanding and fulfilling the customer’s request.  

The ability to dynamically find the right expert is key. And so is delivering the right experience with the remote expert. Customers visit the branch to talk and meet with people. Using high quality video and audio delivers the “in the same room” experience and the eye contact necessary for establishing and building trust. The ability to explore what-if scenarios on-screen and deliver documents for signature, accelerate the sales and decision process. Citizens Financial Group, Inc. is delivering this capability today in branches within four retail markets with a focus on mortgage and wealth management product and services.

Increase your branch staffing levels ? Yes, but do it without increasing branch headcount.

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2011-A Year of Renewal for the Financial Services Industry

Innovation seems to be back on the menu for many of the leading Financial Services players in 2011. It is a different type of Innovation though: it comes with a sense of urgency and a need to radically transform the business. It has moved from the category of a “nice to have” to a “need to have”. Read More »

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Virtual Banks – Are they the new “local” bank?

In last week’s blog, Bank Branches – “News of my death has been greatly exaggerated”, I argued that bank branches are not only thriving, but are the foundation customer interaction channel for most retail banks and that video will be the enabling technology to reinvigorate and reenergize the branch. Read More »

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