Reimagining the Bank Branch Experience (2014)
I was working on the concept of the branch of the future for several clients from the banking sector. The problem was: how can we update the branch experience with the newest technology and make it better for the customers?
The idea of the flagship hi-tech bank branch of the future is not new. However, it often is more about gadgetry — just add more screens and devices — than about solving real problems of the customers with smart technology. We did not want to fall into this trap. Our concept is that the branch of the future is accessible to everybody, not only technology geeks. It should really assist customers in accomplishing their real-life tasks more efficiently and help them experience and possibly learn something new. And from the bank’s perspective the flagship branch should be a living experiment and innovation center: how can we learn to serve our customers better with technology?
Imagine that you are in a shopping mall. You see an interesting offer from a bank on a big screen, so you make a decision to visit the branch. The screen near the branch entrance is interactive — it has a motion sensor, so it changes, when you pass by it.
There is no waiting line at the branch. You can register your visit by simply swiping your card at the entrance or by scanning your fingerprint, or by entering your phone number if you are a new client.
When the branch personnel is ready to serve you, they will send you an SMS or call you on your cellphone. In the meantime you can read more about bank’s offer or just enjoy your coffee.
The branch manager has real-time traffic reports, so he can assign his consultants, where they are most needed at the time. The manager also has a dashboard showing the conversion numbers and all branch performance statistics in any selected time.
Using tablets connected to the CRM system consultants are highly mobile and they have all available information about visiting customers, their history, preferences and financial needs at their fingertips. With the tablets it is easy to input new data from the customers into the system, show them simulations and discuss their financial needs and scorings. Also interactive tables, like Microsoft PixelSense, can be used to advise couples or whole families. (Make it visual and interesting!)
Of course there is an area for kids, where they can enjoy the (branded) Kinect games, waiting for the parents to deal with their business.
Some customers don’t need personal advice. They just need to handle their simple tasks and they can do it on their own. By using the biometric technology identification, hi-res documents scanning with OCR, and instant printing of the agreement, it’s possible to make processes like taking a loan, setting a new investment, buying insurance, or opening a new account almost automatic and a breeze.
If you are a client with good history and scoring, the bank can give you a loan right away from its touch-screen ATM with no hassle!
Of course all the info-screens inside the branch are interactive. They can present a personalized offer just for you by using biometric identification or recognising your phone. Thanks to the directional speakers only you can hear the message and there is no noise inside the branch.
With the rise of the online and mobile banking it is clear, that the branches will be less and less important in the future. However, there will always be a need for personal advice in certain occasions for some customers. What I think made our idea sensible is its focus on human interactions and simplification and automatization of everything else.