The customer journey is one that starts well before customers open an account, and continues, repeats, and ideally builds loyalty throughout the relationship. Certain touch points along that journey can become routine experiences or signals that customers come to expect and associate with the brand. Pleasant rituals can help to build stronger relationships with consumers and repeated cues can help raise the brand profile. In the bank branch, the way you welcome customers sets the stage for a better experience by setting a helpful, friendly tone right from the moment they enter.
Here are three ways you can make a strong first impression in your branch:
The personal greeter
Having a host who welcomes visitors to the branch sets the tone, not only for the visit, but for the entire branch experience. The role of the greeter is not simply to say hello. An effective greeter will take customer service seriously, be knowledgeable about the bank’s products and services, and help customers toplace a human face to the brand. While some brands are toying with robot greeters, this may prove to be a fad that quickly fades as the novelty wears off. A better use of technology is to enable the greeter to quickly determine what each guest needs and make each visit a more efficient, customized experience. Greeting them by name and developing a warm relationship with customers over time is invaluable to bank brands.
Why is a greeter so important?
Banks have neglected customer service for a long time while the focus to move transactions to digital channels commanded attention. Now we will see a race to finding the human connection, building real trust and long-term relationships with consumers.
The check-in kiosk and mobile queueing
There is no reason anyone should ever stand in line at a bank branch again. It’s one of the most irritating pain points for consumers, and the technology to remove it is comparatively inexpensive and easy to implement. One option is a check-in kiosk, which would automatically direct the customer to the right person and notify them when their banking representative is available. This kind of technology is a step up from the “take a number” approach. The other option is to leverage consumers’ own mobile devices, and allow them to check in even from across the street at the coffee shop.
The advantage of the kiosk is that it brings customers into the bank. This captive audience will not be annoyed at a (short) wait if there is a comfortable waiting area, and in-store communications and digital experience that are unique, engaging and relevant. Utilizing consumers’ own mobile devices allows a more efficient use of their time, which for many is an enormous advantage. Both options are a significant improvement from standing in line.
Why is eliminating the queue important?
More than ever, consumers value their time. If you are going to make them wait, you need to make it as pleasant as you can or you will raise their blood pressure. Moreover, the competition is already removing the queue.
The overall tone of the design of your branches says a lot about what your bank stands for. Regions Bank’s new branch uses large glass walls to allow natural light in, and promote a sense of open ease.
CZ Bank’s bold, modern entranceway speaks to their innovative spirit and energy. Every aspect of your branch should align to the customer experience you want to deliver. Whether it is a micro-branch within a mall or an airport, or a large standalone legacy branch, the exterior signage and entranceway set a tone that should then be continued throughout the entire experience.
Why is the entranceway important?
A strong entranceway increases brand visibility and makes the branch easier to find. It also sets a strong stage for the brand experience and is especially important when it comes to driving new accounts.
First impressions most certainly matter in a world where everyone is paying greater attention to these kinds of details. Once a customer has opened an account, these simple but pleasing touchpoints will remind them why they chose this particular institution, and over time, will deepen the relationship they have with their bank branch.