Branch Transformation and Alphabet Soup
Volumes have now been written about branch transformation and many opinions expressed about what the banking organization of the future will look like. Technology suppliers have joined industry thought leaders in providing a perplexing variety of views, opinions and recommendations about how financial institutions should respond. Unfortunately, however, the industry has a continuing track record of making things difficult to process and interpret, all due to the obsessive over use of acronyms. That’s right! All those industry experts rely way too much on the industry’s alphabet soup!
Now, to be perfectly clear...
It used to be simple to automate the branch. A few PCs connected to the network, one or more ATMs in the vestibule or drive-thru, and either TCDs or TCRs to automate and secure the cash was all the hardware technology needed in the well-equipped branch.
This is where things get more complicated. Banks are now implementing CRM systems to better understand and serve their customers while working with their technology suppliers to integrate their systems using APIs. Some are even implementing ITMs, ILTs, PTMs, or AST machines to replace or augment the traditional teller role in transaction processing. They are even changing the way the branch is staffed, now with UBs who can handle a wider array of banking services as compared to the role of the teller. The ABA now offers a certification curriculum for this position. This staffing strategy is in hopes of improving the in-branch CX, and making customers raving fans according to the NPS system. Some institutions have even started to measure employee satisfaction using GPTW surveys.
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Heads-Up for Customer Engagements and Engaged Customers
In today’s banking environment, most financial institutions are trying to migrate customers to less costly, self-directed channels for most transactions previously completed by a teller. Doing so, when people visit your branch is risky. According to Gallup research, “… the branch experience of today looks much different than it did even a few years ago, and banks tend to overlook the significance of just a single interaction.”i
Why are these face-to-face opportunities critically important?
There are two reasons. Besides the simple fact that there are fewer face-to-face customer engagement opportunities, they are also changing in nature! It is no longer just about cashing a check or making a deposit. Again quoting the Gallup research, “…banking customers are especially drawn to full-service, or ‘human,’ channels such as the branch when they need to conduct complex and emotionally charged tasks like opening or closing an account, applying for a loan, seeking financial advice or reporting a problem.” ii Branches are uniquely positioned to deliver high-quality customer interactions during what Gallup calls “moments of truth,” resulting in the delivery of a superior in-branch experience and positively engaged customers. iii
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Measuring the Value of Branch Technology: ESEE Does It.
When I first began working with cash recyclers, during sales staff training or discussions with bankers, we ultimately wound up talking in depth about the cash recycling value proposition; that is, the value delivered to the financial institution through the proper implementation of Teller Cash Recyclers.
The message was always delivered with the help of the acronym, ESEE. In addition to being a useful way of summarizing the value of cash automation, ESEE was also a ‘sound-alike’ for “EASY.” While not spelled correctly, it proved to be an effective means of conveying the TCR value in a memorable and efficient way. In a wider sense, ESEE also became helpful when it came to measuring the ultimate success of TCR automation post-implementation. The same is true today when we talk about the value that can be realized from TCRs, but also potentially for a far wider range of branch technologies.
The First 'E' - EFFICIENCY
Improving efficiency is ‘top of mind’ in most if not all decisions about in-branch technology. Cornerstone Advisors in their What’s Going On in Banking 2017 report states 78% of financial institutions agree that “Streamlining workflow is a top efficiency and cost savings priority for both banks and credit unions for 2017.” i Efficiency Improvement overall is second only to Regulatory Burden on the 2017 list of top concerns for Bank CEOs. ii
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