Ahhhh lollipops. You always knew one would be waiting for you when your mom or dad dragged you to their financial institution of choice. The good news for your kids is that the lollipops are still there. The bad news for them (or is it) is that we don’t visit our banks and credit unions as frequently as our parents did, thanks to online banking. But what is bad news for our kids is even worse news for financial institutions. Less frequent in-person contact with account holders makes personal relationships much more difficult to foster, which makes retaining and acquiring new account holders more difficult as well.
But if the quantity of branch visits cannot be improved perhaps the quality can. Research from TimeTrade shows us that, according to most executives, the right person is not available to account holders when they are needed. Only a small percentage of institutions offer around-the-clock access to live tellers. And a meager 20% of banks and credit unions will offer to schedule appointments ahead of time with the expert that the account holder needs to meet with. As a result of this, the research finds that decision makers want to train associates as account holder advocates, redesign branches and put specialists to work in multiple branches.
However, Sarah Wallace from TimeTrade writes in her article (“Credit Unions Must Personalize the Member Experience” on Credit Union Times) that in-person visits alone cannot solve the problem, and the solution is to provide superior service through every channel available, including call centers, mobile banking and online chat and social media. Specifically she suggests that institutions must provide a consistent experience across these channels in order to succeed at “converting digital inquiries into high-value interactions”. This suggestion makes sense in that online and other channels of service seem only to be growing, of course to the chagrin of our children and their lack of lollipops.
It’s a great article for you to read, with fascinating insight such as:
The survey revealed that the majority of consumers still visit their [financial institution’s] branches a minimum of five times a year – at least once per quarter. Smart [organizations] will use these visits to provide a highly personalized experience with the right employee in a timely manner.
A paradigm shift needs to happen, as [financial institutions] need to turn these challenges into opportunity and drive high-value, personal, one-on-one interactions. This shift begins with the ability to offer a consistent account holder experience through every channel.
It’s time to get personal!