Originally Published at CBInsight
In a recent interview with Lisa Ayers, a long time retail and operations executive, (Listen to Interview Here) we discussed how to best align your branch experience with what the customer is looking for. We also discussed how engaging the front line through great teamwork and communication is vital to any change for the branch environment to meet goals. As more community banks are looking to drive revenue and create efficiency in the transaction process, proper training and technology will help drive faster results.
Today’s banking customer is still looking for proactive expertise when they enter the branch. As Lisa pointed out though, trust is a vital component to this relationship. So the branch must look to ultimately serve the customer in the best and most efficient way possible and make recommendations that truly do serve the needs of the customer. While transaction volumes are declining, so is the customer’s ability to wait in line for service. People are busy. They want to get banking done and move on to their next errand while on a short break from work. Implementing technology tools like cash recyclers can help the teller or universal banker process transactions quicker, thereby freeing up time to ask real questions and provide expertise to help each customer. This is where the rubber meets the road in the cross-selling environment. If the timing is off, or the training isn’t there, the conversation will come across pushy and boilerplate instead of genuine. Sometimes this can do more harm than good.
Effectively Communicating Goals
As senior level executives at community banks design compensation strategies around cross-selling and revenue growth, a key enabler for success is to communicate the WHY. Many tellers can become uncomfortable with role changes or taking on more of a sales culture. Many times this can be overcome with a clear message behind what part the teller plays in the bank achieving its goals and understanding how they can help the customer through proper product recommendation. Truly successful innovators are able to communicate the why behind what they are asking front line staff to do, while enabling them to remain passionate first about helping the customer.
Technology’s Role in the new Branch Environment
Technology is changing rapidly, and banking, which has long been a laggard for front-end technology, is now pressing the gas pedal down on innovation. With interest margin in tight supply and cost-per-transaction rising quickly as transaction volumes decline, more banks are forced to strategically reduce operational expense with technology and efficiency. Whether it’s cash recyclers, deposit automation ATMs or even new Hybrid Self-Service/Video ATMs, technology is helping banks reduce their cost of operating the branch while freeing up more time for profitable consulting and face time with customers. Banks are thinking more about how they can create a customer experience that can differentiate them from the competition in a market where most financial products are a commodity. By leveraging engaging staff, proper training and the right technology plan, banks can capitalize on a lower cost structure while driving revenues higher and leading to profit growth.
Most community banks realize change is necessary. A recent survey found that over 50% of Financial Institutions nationwide are doing something to transform their retail branches. What are you doing to secure your future and grow your company?