As previously explored in my blogs customers like to take the path of least resistance which has resulted in a surge towards online banking and more recently banking through a smartphone App.
A recent report from consultancy McKinsey has suggested that as many as 2,400 branches could be wiped from the high-street in the next 5 years with the move of transactional banking online.
However, the report also highlighted that customers still want to be able to visit a branch for large and complex queries such as mortgage applications and they still like the presence of a physical branch to make them feel a part of the bank: “People like the technology. But when there’s a bank nearby, they want to go somewhere to get their money out. They actually want to feel like they have the ability to go there.”
McKinsey also highlight that outside the Big 4 Banks the number of branches is actually increasing with Metro Bank and Handlesbanken being prime examples. Why is this?
I believe the smaller, more agile and nimble banks are acquiring customer numbers through a heady mix of fantastic stand-alone products and customer service. We know that customers are encouraged to shop around, compare and switch with greater vigour than ever before and the smaller banks have seized upon this opportunity with limited liability products that speak to a specific customer need. The customer service of the smaller banks is often perceived as more personal and in order to maintain this those banks need to extend their footprint to give the customer the physical feel they sometimes crave.
How will banks keep up with the challenge of maintaining their physical ‘feel’ factor whilst catering for a more modern customers who only visits sporadically because online options support them on 8/10 transactions?
My belief is that banks, established and newbies, will need to guide customers away from branches more and more and supplement a smaller network with video customer service via existing and familiar channels like Skype, secure webchat and social media engagement appropriate to the nature of the enquiry
To support this paradigm, banks will need to establish customer service infrastructures that are scalable, flexible yet secure and compliant. This will include harnessing further advances in RPA, home working and self-serve.
Get in touch if you’d like to know how Teleperformance are preparing for the new frontier of integrated multi channel customer experience in retail banking.
Photo by Richard Ellis licensed under Creative Commons.