A lot has been written lately about artificial intelligence (AI) and robots in banking as the future of financial services. Last year, Barclays announced it was pursuing technology that could see a robot computer system assist users with their banking. In 2014, Goldman Sachs led a $15 million investment in Kensho Technologies, which makes robots that can answer “complex financial questions posed in plain English.” At the same time, UBS approached Singapore-based Sqreem Technologies to use AI to deliver personalized advice to its wealthy clients.
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Despite these announcements, we are still a few years out from seeing AI and robots fully realized in most branch environments. Interviewed by Pew Research Center on the economic impact of robotic advances and AI, author and marketer Geoff Livingston wrote, “I see the movement towards AI and robotics as evolutionary, in large part because it is such a sociological leap. The technology may be ready, but we are not – at least, not yet.” While it might not be practical for every bank to immediately start employing its own “Pepper,” digital integration in the bank branch is becoming table stakes for financial institutions. Here are five ways to improve your in-branch immersive digital experience right now.
1. Enhance your digital signage program
We’ve worked with several banks, including Regions Bank and CZ Bank, to improve the stickiness of their in-branch experience through the use of digital signage. Before a customer even enters the environment, set the tone for a rich and engaging experience with exterior-facing digital signage that will drive traffic into the branch. Use digital signage as one of the first points of communication with your customer by offering a mix of educational, entertaining, and informational messaging. The type of content and the length of the messaging should be adjusted by the expected dwell time of its location. The immediacy and flexibility of digital signage will allow you to remain current with your messaging, such as adding holiday or seasonal spots.
2. Introduce in-branch tablets
Tablets are a great digital communications tool to improve two-way engagement with your customers. Adding tablets to waiting areas and other zones where customers linger helps decrease perceived wait times. They also help encourage customers to put away their phones and interact with your bank’s content.
There is a degree of familiarity, novelty, intimacy, and ease of use with tablets that make them an effective digital platform to provide detailed information that can be tailored to the user based on his or her selections. Using tablets to deliver a mix of entertaining, educational, and branded content is a great way to connect with your customers and keep them engaged with your brand. Tablets are also an effective sales tool, allowing staff to clearly explain products and services without having to memorize lengthy, complex information. Content can be quickly and easily maintained and updated. And perhaps one of the biggest benefits is that everything can be recorded, giving you insight into what users were searching and selecting.
3. Create a multi-touch experience
Another opportunity to enhance your in-branch immersive experience is through the use of multi-touchscreen interactive displays that allow multiple users to interact with your content. The technology allows for a two-way exchange of information so customers would be able to browse through a range of media materials and then send information instantly to their own email addresses. For example, Industrial Bank dedicated part of its space where children can interact with virtual tellers as an educational experience.
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4. Provide mobile integration
Geofencing, using Bluetooth LE beacons, can be used to interact with customers in meaningful ways before they even enter the branch.
According to our recent study on mobile behaviors in the bank branch, a majority of mobile-centric bank customers have some type of mobile banking app. Banks can leverage these to gain permission to send specific in-branch offers, customized messages, and promotions. Our study identified two prime locations for mobile engagement with geofenced communications – in the parking lot before customers enter the branch and in the waiting area. Mobile phone integration doesn’t have to stop there. Self-service check-in kiosks, used to eliminate wait lines, are a big trend in China. Allowing customers to tap their smartphone to check in is an efficient way to reduce branch staff FTEs through digital queue management. These digital queuing systems are now being introduced to North America.
5. Don’t neglect your online presence
Your website is another area to incentivize consumers to visit your branch. Promote your new in-branch digital experience on your web and social media properties to create interest in and drive traffic to the branch. Regardless of which technologies you incorporate to improve your in-branch immersive digital experience, ensure they work together to create a seamless and intuitive experience for your customers.