How many times have you gone into your local branch to see someone about a mortgage, or a pension, or a current account and no one is available to see you right away? It happens more often that you think. And the bank often doesn’t know how much business it is losing as these initial requests are quite often not tracked or recorded. Of course you can make an appointment but why should you have to wait? Or, you can click on online chat but it might just not be enough for the more complicated questions.

In reality it is really difficult for the bank to match the supply of expertise with fluctuating levels of demand from customers. And it is increasingly expensive for them to provide expertise on a local basis due to increased demand for quality advisors and the growing cost burden of regulation and supervision.

That is why many banks are looking to virtualise their sales forces. How? By using fully immersive video-based capability to project their centralised expertise into local branches, homes and places of work.


At Cisco we are seeing an increased demand from banks asking how digital face-to-face capability can enhance their customer experience, lower their cost to sell/serve and reduce revenue leakage.

It has another strategic impact, too. None of us can predict how channel usage will change in the future. Sure, there is a clear trend to move from branches to self-service channels for everyday transactional banking but not so much yet for complex advisory services. We don’t know how quickly people will want to conduct their mortgage discussion from home over their Smart TV for example.

Banks need to build agility into their operating model and that is what centralising their sales (and service) expertise achieves when it can be projected digitally into branches, places of work and homes alike. The biggest challenge in this is not the technology but the change in operating model and sales culture that is required.

Customers win as they are better protected as virtual interactions can be recorded and referenced if sales conduct or product suitability is challenged in the future. They are also more likely to be ‘seen’ by an advisor at a time and place that more suits them.

The banks win by reducing costs, driving improved revenue and reducing distribution risk.

It is not often that everyone wins but this is one of those times.

And Alyson Clarke from Forrester appears to agree too.


Simon Blissett

Head of FS Solutions & Innovation EMEAR

Financial Services Solutions & Innovation EMEAR