I pass by a lot of empty bank branches on a daily basis, and I must say they are beautiful places. They are clean, spacious, beautifully designed, and feature concierges and free coffee! What's not to like? The problem is, there aren't any customers in the branches so, bank employees are decked-out and looking for something fitting to do. Given USAA's success with a nearly pure digital banking strategy and industry leading retention and share of relationship metrics -- branches are starting to look like a vestigal body part; like wisdom teeth or an appendix. However, before you send all those well-dressed people home and sell your branch to Starbucks or Chipotle, try connecting your digital channels to your branches. There are many ways to connect the digital and physical worlds -- outlined here by Robert Barba in his 17 Feb 2016 article on American Banker. Here's how our customers get it right...
Connecting Clicks to Bricks
- Mine your data to determine which conversations to have with your customers through the digital channels; they visit those channels a lot more than your branches.
- Interview your customers on the digital channels regularly to understand their life, their needs, their preferences, and their view of your banking institution; they will tell you, if you ask.
- If the digital conversation leads naturally to a human conversation - send the notes from the digital conversation to the branch where the customer banks with follow-up instructions, as requested by the bank customer. They will be delighted to speak with a local banker -- wouldn't you?
We do this with several of our customers with great success. Here's an example of a lead email that is automatically routed to the customer's branch following an online interview. In some cases, the customers full contact information is provided -- versus the customer ID -- which prompts a look-up in the CRM to understand the full customer profile.
Seems like a pretty easy call to make for a branch person, doesn't it?
Use your data, interview your customers, and honor those customers by demonstrating that you listened to what they said. That's done by sending the interview notes to a branch employee -- when the customer requests human help. It's a great use of everyone's time and may well lead to a welcome visit to one of those beautiful, but sparsely populated branches to discuss a home purchase, retirement, paying for college -- or any number of other important conversations about your customers' lives. If you need help getting started, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.