As retail banks have slowly emerged from the global financial crisis of 2008, they are increasingly looking for ways to differentiate themselves with their products and services.
Studies show that the branch is still relevant in the eyes of the retail bank consumer, but the role the branch will play in the future is beginning to change.
Retail banks are wrestling with moving from a multichannel environment to an omni-channel environment. The difference is, instead of offering a different experience and set of products and services across various delivery channels, they offer a more integrated and consistent experience across delivery channels. These traditional delivery channels include branch, Internet and contact center to name a few.
Currently, the mobile channel is growing in popularity and use, especially with new applications like remote deposit captured right from a mobile phone or tablet. As the mobile channel grows, video will be an integral part, but for now, video is the emerging trend in branches.
Transition to Video
One of the solutions powering this next generation branch transformation is technology that enables virtual face-to-face meetings with high-definition video. Video allows a retail bank to virtualize their pool of experts and make them available to more branches in their footprint, at a lower cost.
In addition, it supports the full lifecycle of the transaction and has the capability to support upfront product and service inquires, all the way through to closing the transaction and booking the revenue.
Not only does a video solution enhance the bank’s existing channels and provide convenience for banking members, it also reduces costs for all parties involved. Traveling can be expensive. Today, banks have large mobile sales forces for small, commercial, private and wealth management members, so for the sake of mobility and convenience, it’s crucial that bank representatives sync up with members via video instead of driving across town for every interaction.
By doing this, representatives can increase the number of customer interactions they have daily while reducing travel costs. Due to declining telecommunications costs and rising travel expenses, video integration is becoming a viable solution for banks, providing mobility and convenience options for members. This translates into several measurable business benefits as well, such as greater staff efficiency, lower cost of services sold and increased closure rates.
Customer Engagement: Of the banks I am currently working with, most of the use cases that are being piloted center around a few core retail banking services such as treasury management, commercial banking, and investment services. A common trend is that once a line-of-business begins to show interest in supporting a pilot, the other line-of-business leaders become interested as well and want to participate in a pilot or larger scale rollout of the solution. Once integration is approved, getting members to utilize the technology is the next step.
When introducing a customer to video-enabled technology in the branch, there are three main methods of engagement:
Branch visit: This engagement occurs when a customer comes into a bank branch with a specific question, looking to speak with a mortgage expert, but the bank doesn’t have an expert onsite. A bank employee can then direct the customer to a private location in the bank, where the customer and an off-site mortgage expert can meet and discuss the customer’s questions via high definition video and audio.
Teller introduction: This method of engagement happens when the bank teller spots an opportunity to cross-sell to a customer based on information the bank possesses about them. Usually this information is gathered through data mining conducted by the bank in order to tailor bank products and services to members’ individual needs. For example, if a bank teller is helping a customer and pulls up their information and notices that they don’t currently have a mortgage with the bank, the teller can engage the customer in that conversation and if there is interest on the customer’s part, lead them to a private location to engage with an offsite expert to answer their questions.
Scheduled: This form of engagement may come as a referral from a contact center to schedule a meeting at a local branch for a time that is more convenient for members. Also, a customer may personally schedule a meeting with an expert, due to a pending transaction or questions about services and needs.
High-definition video and audio solutions are changing the banking landscape, providing consumers more options on how they bank and as a key differentiator of service. It starts with the sales conversation and through the use of technology and access to experts, helps close sales. It’s fair to say that a winning business strategy combines the strength and immediacy of old-fashioned, face-to-face relationship building with the capabilities of next-generation, multimedia collaboration technology.
Streamlining processes and offering members instant access to knowledgeable experts, even when members are in remote areas, introduces a personal service resulting in improved customer confidence in the relationship and greater loyalty.
Tom Caddoo is vertical solutions architect for Cisco Americas Business Transformation Group.