A significant shift is underway in how banks across the country are relating to and responding to their customers’ needs and expectations.
Spurred on by emerging technologies that put more control in customers’ hands – most notably, mobile banking – and a decrease in branch foot traffic in the last decade, some banks have begun experimenting with new customer service models to reshape the customer experience.
The June edition of American Banker magazine highlighted some of the initiatives being tested in select branches and markets, such as PNC’s “universal bankers,” employees who can handle tasks from a simple cash withdrawal to account and small business services. Read the full centerpiece article here.
The Battle for Branch Relevancy
It’s a trend that’s already disrupting other industries and has bled over to banking: Automated and self-service options have made today’s customer less reliant on branches and tellers, prompting speculation about the future of brick-and-mortar locations.
Yet, as the article points out, people are not yet ready to abandon personal interaction with their institutions, preferring to at least have the option of a human face or voice, even if their first stop is an app or ATM.
The shared goal behind these new models of customer service is seamlessness.
Branches may become extensions of a bank’s digital presence, and vice versa. Customers may still prefer to handle certain interactions in person, but they expect the person they’re dealing with to be more knowledgeable and flexible about transactions, products and services, and less roped off from one another (literally).
It’s still early to tell whether and how quickly this integrated, flexible approach to banking service and sales will catch on – that growth will largely depend on how the concept is rolled out to market and how much change customers are willing to navigate at once.
To stay nimble, banks will need to make sure the voice of the customer does not get lost among the shuffle of new ideas and experiments. CSP will be watching, and more importantly, listening with great interest as customers encounter and evaluate the next generation of experiences crafted to exceed their expectations.