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Despite the growing popularity of digital banking services, in-store branch visits are still an important element to customer engagement and satisfaction. In a recent Accenture study, nearly 78 percent of respondents reported they expect to visit their bank branch just as often – or even more frequently – in five years’ time, largely because the majority of customers still prefer to purchase banking products in-person versus online.1
The challenge for banks is to ensure that branches remain profitable while delivering a customer-centric approach.
Evaluate Opportunities for Branch Level Process Improvements
Start by identifying processes that can be simplified or automated. Branch or teller image capture is an excellent way to remove inefficient cash and check management processes. While the benefits of a simplified deposit process are obvious – elimination of off-site processing centers, reduced errors, fewer labor and transportation costs – they can be lost if the right technology is not deployed in the right way. New solutions that accurately process checks and currency at high rates of speed deliver the most efficient forms of branch capture.
For many branches, daily processing of coin deposits is a labor and time intensive process. Tellers can lose valuable face time with customers if they disappear into a back room to process coins or are distracted by downed equipment. Utilizing self-service coin counting machines that offer streamlined sorting, collection and storage results in tellers that are longer occupied with processing coins in the back room; reducing customer wait times and adding more face time.
Make Customer-Centric Enhancements a Priority
Banks must embrace technology as a strategy that allows them to provide a unique customer experience. In the same Accenture study, 21 percent of respondents said they would like to see their primary bank invest in ATM availability. Banks must carefully consider their options for adding cost-effective ATMs – both within the branch and at off-site retail locations.
With a self-service coin machine in the lobby, customers can have a faster, more meaningful exchange with the teller when they cash in their coin redemption receipt. And, self-service coin machines are an offering customers truly want. In a recent study, 80% of respondents reported they would switch from a teller to a self-service coin machine and believe their satisfaction would measurably increase as a result, with many indicating they would use the machine “all the time”.2
Banks can also address the unique needs of their commercial customer by offering electronic deposit or remote deposit capture (RDC) services. In fact, a majority of depositors are very interested in services that enable them to scan and transmit check images to their financial institutions and anxious to realize the benefits of RDC, such as reduced time spend preparing deposits and cost savings by not depositing paper checks.
Leverage Technology to Increase Profitability, Reduce Costs
As banks rethink their branch strategy, technology investment should be a critical part of the decision-making process. Solutions that help ensure a branch remains a relevant and profitable part of a bank’s multichannel strategy are non-negotiable.
1A Critical Balancing Act: US Retail Banking in the Digital Era; Accenture, November 2013
2Assessing the Opportunities for SSC Machines in the Financial Segment; BranMark Strategy Group, 2011