Bank and credit union customers more and more perform basic financial transactions over mobile, online or ATM channels, in large part because banks guided them toward those transformative technologies.
So what’s the purpose and value of a bank branch then?
Good question, says Sue Dowd, SVP of retail strategy for Miller Zell, in her article for Credit Union Business.
Dowd notes that a bank’s brick-and-mortar needs correlate to retailers who’ve opened showcase flagship stores that are as much about creating an outstanding and memorable customer experience as generating significant revenue streams.
Such stores are “designed to create a connection with consumers and let them experience that brand first hand. The intention is to create a base of loyal customers for years to come, whether they buy that day at that store or through other channels in the future.”
Considering that 60 percent of Americans still prefer to open their accounts in-person inside a bank branch, there is a notable entry point for what Dowd calls a “test drive relationship.”
She writes, “In the eyes of the customer, the branch is your headquarters, the branch staff are brand ambassadors, the branch manager is the CEO. And the condition, appearance and vibe of your branches are the physical manifestations of the brand, like it or not.”
Dowd goes on to offer plenty of tips for “choreographing your branch experience to convert the browsing prospect into a customer.”