As more people bank on their mobile devices, the number of brick-and-mortar branches has been steadily falling, according to J.D. Power. But a recent study by the company found people are most satisfied when they use both digital AND retail banking services.
When account holders visit a branch, they don’t want to stand in line in a dated building to speak with a teller about a minor issue or to make a transaction. They can do those things online. Instead, people want to walk in to a convenient, friendly financial institution to get personalized advice from an experienced representative.
1. COMFORT AND CONNECTION
Key to connection is a building design that fosters a comfortable place for communication. Best-in-class financial institutions are remodeling branches with these design parameters in mind:
- Designated areas for simple transactions, a lounge, and a private meeting space, with signs, lights, and furniture creating visual separation
- Natural elements, like wood, stone, and greenery, to reduce stress and create a sense of peace
- Important amenities like free Wi-Fi and charging stations
- Conversation starters to make people feel more welcome and relaxed, like a modern coffee shop, a “take-one, leave-one” library, board games, or dog treats
2. A SENSE OF COMMUNITY
A strong marketing strategy includes engaging with the communities your brand serves. To make sure your branches embrace that role:
- Make local landmarks, historical stories, or high school team colors part of your décor
- Feature the works of local artists
- Allow community groups to use your meeting areas
3. A FRIENDLY PERSON WITH SMART ANSWERS
People can do basic transactions and find answers to basic questions online, but for the big questions – How much house can I afford? Am I saving enough for retirement? Will I be able to pay my child’s college tuition? – many people want to sit down with someone they can trust. Those are the people that you need to cater to.
Plan for a space at your branches to hold educational sessions, such as first-time homebuyer workshops or wealth management talks.
Bottom line: Your branch space should aim to facilitate conversations.
These days, that interaction is less likely to involve queuing up to talk to a teller and feeling rushed by the next person in line. Instead, the front-line staff approach the account holder, tablet in hand, creating a low-stress environment to discuss their financial future. Like having a conversation over coffee with a friend.
Your branches are being transformed. But do you have a plan to market the new look to consumers? Contact us to learn more.