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The next time you walk into one of your branches, ask yourselfthis: “What do all of these people want?”

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It's a valid question, considering that more and moretransactions are being done outside of the branch every day.McKinsey & Company estimates that in five years more than 95percent of banking transactions will take place through digital ordirect channels. As alternative channels account for moretransactions, what exactly brings members into the branch?

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Better still, what constitutes a good experience for thesemembers?

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If you really want to know, be prepared to monitor a long listof touchpoints. Consider how a typical consumer might find his orher way into – and out of – your branch:

  • Identifies shared branching or in-network ATM at your branchusing an online locator such as co-opcreditunions.org/locator.
  • Transfers funds from an account at another credit union to makea loan payment, using an enhanced NextGen ATM.
  • Asks a member service representative about funds availabilityon a mobile deposit.
  • Follows up on a suspicious transaction found on mobilebanking.
  • Verifies account balances by smartphone after visiting thebranch earlier in the day.

If you look at the mashup of bricks and pixels that's already transforming retail andfoodservice, it's clear that your memberssee their interactions as journeys, often made across manychannels. McKinsey & Company reports that consumers who accessmobile and online banking more than once per week are 60 percentmore likely to visit a branch. Members are using multiple channels,but they also want channels to integrate in a way that makes thejourney coherent.

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Speed

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“No one wakes up and says, 'Oh goody, I get to go to the branchtoday,' ” said Sarah Bang, president of CO-OP Shared Branching/FSCCand chief strategy officer, CO-OP Shared Branching. “People cominginto the branch are on a mission. They want to get it done fast.”Anything you can do to reduce the time required is a plus – andanything you can do to ensure that members can accomplish what theycame in to accomplish is even better.

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Self-service

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It's not gimmickry or a sheer love of automation that inspiresmembers to like self-service. Bang pointed out, “We've found thatmembers appreciate using vCom automated kiosks to make late loanpayments; it saves them the embarrassment of handing a late paymentover to a teller.” Similarly, members who are sensitive todisclosing financial information in person might simply prefer theprivacy provided by an automated channel.

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According to McKinsey & Company, 65 percent of all consumersand 69 percent of Millennials feel good about themselves and thecompany they're doing business with when they can resolve an issuewithout talking to customer service.

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Humanity

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It's undeniable that members head into the branch when they havecomplicated business to transact: applying for a loan, resolving anissue, opening a new account. As credit unions transform theirbranches with help from technology, it's natural to see thesemember interactions as opportunities to cross sell.

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That's not a bad idea, but Bang urged credit unions to proceedwith care. “If I'm coming into the branch because I couldn'tcomplete the transaction online, I probably won't be open to asales pitch of a product. However, this may be the perfecttime to cross-sell or troubleshoot other channels. I'd be veryappreciative if the teller told me about other options to get thetransaction done faster in the future.”

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How do you humanize the experience without dragging out thetransaction or making an unwanted sales pitch? “How about giving mea smile?” Bang asked. “What if you make one non-transaction-relatedcomment? 'Is Steve your husband?' or 'I love your skirt.' Even justfacing me as I walk in or out makes me feel recognized,” and it'sappropriate whether someone is there to do a major transaction or aquick deposit.

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What's a flawless branch experience in2015? The fact is, the answer is changing. Deliveringspeed, self-service and humanity looks different today than it didin 2005. Just look at the array of branch transformation technologythat's available to credit unions of every size: ATMs that enablemembers to do shared branching transactions; video-equipped tellermachines that combine human interaction with fast automatedtransactions; and a growing complement of mobile and virtualsolutions that augment the in-branch experience with greater andgreater integration.

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How all of these elements will integrate with each other – andwith members or staff – as we move forward is still evolving. Whatwe know is that technology, members and staff will all beinteracting differently and more. And while that may or may notsound like anyone's idea of flawless, it is moving rapidly in thedirection of what people want.

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