We recently attended Retail Banking 2014 in Orlando, FL, where a wealth of information and best practices were shared, with much of the focus on how the banking industry is moving forward with the evolution of the customer experience. This year’s conference focused on the issues that bankers must deal with now and in the future:  revenue growth, branch optimization, digital banking, analytics, the evolution of social media, and of course, Omnichannel.

I have highlighted below a few of the key concepts and quotes from the speakers at the conference that you might find interesting.

In Paul Seibert’s (VP of Financial Design, EHS Design) presentation on the 10 Attributes of Successful Branches, he stated that banks must engineer the layout, experience, and integration of technologies to drive desired customer and staff actions. The branch helps orchestrate all delivery channels.  Additionally, he stated that the experience in the branch, online, and on the phone should be the same in form, voice, and vibe. The balance of technology and human touch delivers an on-brand experience.

Bruce W. Van Saun, Chairman & CEO of RBS Citizens Financial Group, spoke on the emerging opportunity for regional banks to lead in the shift to a customer-centric business model.  He commented that customers are embracing new technologies and are value conscious. They want the best of new technology while keeping the branch. Therefore, banks must deliver a distinctive cross-channel customer experience.

Chris Skinner, Chairman of the Financial Services Club, led a very energized session on what you need to know before you start a digital bank. He hit the nail on the head when he stated that this is not about devices; it’s about behaviors and connectivity. Connectivity is hot, but branches are still needed. Chris also touched on the fact that location-based services, auto recognition, and authentication will play a very significant role in the future. This could include not only fingerprints, but voice pay and even heart beat recognition. Chris summed things up by stating that there needs to be a focus on humanizing the digital experience. His soon to be released book, Digital Bank, will no doubt be a must-read.

Bob Meara (Celent), Rob Aulebach (Bank of America), James Geeslin (Extraco Banks), and Tom McDermott (SunTrust) held a panel discussion on moving forward with branch transformation. They mentioned that eroding branch channel usage is a more recent phenomenon and is accelerating. Digital transactions have tended to be additive. More recent trends have actually migrated transactions to self-service channels. While a growing number of consumers transact digitally, they still engage face-to-face (at least for now). The branch channel isn’t dead, just different.

Rob Aulebach from Bank of America mentioned that with video expertise in the branch, BofA’s smaller branches can do ninety percent of what the full service, specialist branches can do. He also stated that video ATMs will allow them to double traditional banking hours, 7 days a week, with non-customer use allowed as well.

Finally, Mike Baxter, Head of Financial Services for Americas at Bain & Company spoke on the evolution, not revolution, of Omnichannel. Mike stated that digital customers are two and a half times more profitable than physical only, and it will be critical for banks to have the ability for customers to start in one channel and finish in another. He also pointed out some of the confusion around Omnichannel. Is it a business, or a channel? In the end, Mike made a very relevant point that customers don’t really care how it’s organized, but your bank has to.

The demands of today’s customers are driving this innovation. Customers expect immediate service across the channel with which they prefer to bank.

Cisco is leading the way in providing banks with the right tools to meet their customer needs. Cisco’s Remote Expert and Mobile Advisor offerings are integrated revenue-enablement platforms that help banks solve these challenges and meet their customer needs to access experts anytime, anywhere. Remote Expert and Mobile Advisor help banks increase profitability by intelligently connecting customers with a bank’s experts across attended and self-service channels, while delivering a rich interactive experience in an Omnichannel environment. These capabilities help to promote higher revenue, improve expert productivity, and enhance customer loyalty.

We enjoyed the insights and information shared during the presentations at this year’s Retail Banking conference. As we move deeper into 2014, we will continue to see the banking industry hard at work to better meet customer needs through the melding of service capabilities and transactions across channels. For more information on how Cisco can help your financial institution, visit: http://www.cisco.com/go/financialservices.


Jim Henschel

Practice Manager

Banking, Americas Business Transformation