Meet Your New Bank
A regional bank acquired a key player in a new market. Initially they plan a simple, cosmetic renovation to change out signage, make minor repairs and upgrade the branch interior.
Things become complicated when further due diligence shows the acquiring bank had little brand recognition in their new market. Meanwhile competitors in the market were planning campaigns to persuade customers to switch to a more familiar local brand.
Next Branch Strategies Recommendation: Turn the Branch into a Brand Ambassador
Instead of playing defense, we advise that the bank go on the offensive, with a Brand Ambassador concept that introduces old customers to new management and the promise of an improved bank experience. In three months this program cleans up customer circulation pathways, trains staff on a new service model, and improves the customer journey. Additional branded elements educate customers about the upgrades in services and account features they can expect with their new banking relationship. On opening day, each bank branch greets customers with a wall-sized branded graphic that introduced the new bank with a single, powerful value statement. Customers not only see the new name over the door, they have an experience that introduced them to a banking relationship clearly superior to any other in the marketplace.
Customer Net Promoter Scores out perform the legacy bank’s historic average and attrition is held well below the 5-8% norm. In coming months, both deposit levels and account sales reflect healthy customer satisfaction with a new, improved bank.
Build a Better Branch
A large regional bank needed to optimize its branch network by closing 15% of its low-performing branches over 15 months. A recent bank study showed that branch closures in the area resulted in exceptionally high account attrition. The bank wasn’t just closing branches it was inadvertently losing customers. Not surprisingly, customer loyalty plummeted, accompanied by a loss of 6-8 points in net promoter scores.
Next Branch Strategies Recommendation: Create a Better Branch
Our suggestion, make two simple moves: First, when possible, close two underperforming locations and replace those locations with a single new branch that was equally or more convenient for most customers. Second make the new branch better, with customer-centric services like community events that featured car shopping clinics and small business accounting updates. Instead of positioning the coming bank closures as a reduction in services, begin marketing the changes two months prior to the move as an upgrade to consumers, so they can look forward to more convenient locations and better bank services once the new bank branch opened.
Consumers enjoy an upgraded bank experience. By shifting the focus from expense reduction to customer delight, customer satisfaction and attrition concerns turn into a significant boost for the brand as a whole. In addition the bank is able to capitalize on the opportunity to undertake some long-deferred maintenance and staff retraining for a cost-effective rollout.
Use high touch to support high tech
One bank wanted to introduce its customers to innovative technology—including a video conferencing connection to bankers— with a prototype that promised to transform the banking experience in its retail locations. However, customer research revealed that that this solution was ahead of its time. Customers were not ready for high tech video banking. The process was too strange and intimidating. To complicate matters, the technology was balky and unpredictable.
Next Branch Strategies Recommendation From a waiting room to a show room
Pivot away from high tech and toward high touch. Instead of the traditional waiting room we implemented a show room. Instead of a connection to a high tech banker, we propose a real connection to a real banker. Leveraging the On Stage/Off Stage concept used at Disney theme parks would create a lobby experience that put the bankers on-stage, front and center, where they could greet customers, serve their needs, and promote new bank features.
Make no mistake, the technology is still there, but plays a supporting role, as bankers rove the lobby with tablets that make it easier for them to get answers to customer queries on the spot. Technology also supports CRM in the ‘Off-Stage’ areas in which bankers conduct business operations out of site and free from distraction.
Consumers that are happier with their new lobbies. Not only is waiting time reduced, they received more immediate human interaction with less frustration. The bank discovered the personal touch made it easier to introduce customers to new products and make sales.