Last updated: 11 May 2017
While digitization is becoming increasingly important for banks, a physical presence is still crucial, especially for traditional institutions. In our previous post, we discussed some of the reasons branches can present financial service providers with an advantage. They offer brand visibility, the opportunity to provide a personalized experience and a way for customers to receive face-to-face contact with a consultant. However, this doesn’t mean that traditional institutions should become complacent and simply maintain branches as they are currently. Evolution is important, especially in an increasingly connected world. So, how exactly should bank branches be reinvented to work in conjunction with omnichannel digital services?
To move the bank branch into the new era, banks should take several steps. First, they should shift focus towards services that cannot be performed on mobile, such as Know-Your-Customer (KYC) processes and the capturing of biometric credentials. Secondly, they should ensure that the environment is as connected as possible; the bank branch should be the place where a bank’s virtual and physical services interact.
Enrolment – KYC and biometric credentials
We’ve discussed the importance of KYC processes elsewhere on the blog. Banks are coming under increasing pressure to strengthen their enrolment procedures, ensuring they can properly verify customer identities to prevent fraud. Crucially, aspects of KYC can only be performed in a branch – for instance, registering signatures and storing authentication credentials. With biometric solutions becoming increasingly common, as we discussed in this post, the bank branches of tomorrow should shift their focus towards providing these services. In doing so, they can give themselves an advantage over fintech and digital-only competitors, who will also need to meet the demands of KYC and offer biometric authentication services to customers.
Bank branches should also embrace personalization, giving customers the power to choose the banking services they want. With competition in the sector heating up, the customer journey is becoming a crucial differentiator. Traditional banks should look at options which free up time for staff and give people more control over their accounts. Self-service kiosks can provide an answer. These are compact units allowing customers to easily interact with their funds, enroll for services and get personalized cards. Innovations like these encapsulate our vision for the future of banking, seamlessly connecting the physical and virtual spaces.
Time freed up by self-service kiosks and other technological innovations will allow in-branch staff to concentrate on providing expert consultancy to customers. As we mentioned in our previous post, staff need to become personal consultants in the same way elite private banks provide expert advice to their clients. The bank branches of the future should be hubs for specialist knowledge and innovation. Digital-only banks and fintech startups will find it difficult to build this reputation without a human touch.
To conclude, it’s clear that bank branches still have an important role to play, but they must be reinvented for the digital era. In our final post, we’ll look at how self-service kiosks can specifically benefit bank branches. In the meantime, you can check out our dedicated webpage here.