The financial services sector has the reputation for lagging behind other industries in developing groundbreaking ways to connect with customers. Understanding the real drivers in this omnichannel world is key to developing customized experiences that really resonate. In the most recent edition of Chief Content Officer Magazine, Adrenaline’s Gina Bleedorn talks about the importance of the physical footprint in customer acquisition, stating, “Physical presence is still the number one driver of customer acquisition…period.” With that in mind, retooling and maximizing the physical remains top-of-mind for bank branch operations around the country.
Bank branches today don’t serve the same purpose as they did in the past. Gina says, “Technology is enabling routine transactions to occur outside of the branches, whereas traditionally tellers facilitated them. Now, banks are looking to have a dialogue and give advice and consultation to the customer. The new branch purpose is not in depositing checks – it’s in improving value.” Understanding that new purpose and orchestrating a valuable, personalized interaction is why so many forward-thinking banks are implementing the Universal Banker role, as Citizens National Bank did to when they upgraded their brand experience across their network.
“The new branch purpose is not in depositing checks – it’s in improving value.”
Gina Bleedorn, Chief Experience Officer
Understanding generational demands is also important for financial brands. Gina says, “Millennials are not only a huge generation of their own, but they are influencing other generations.” With a smartphone in every pocket or purse, Millennials do their due-diligence before even setting foot into a bank branch, so the in-person experience needs to really wow them. They know what they want and it’s the bank’s charge to make sure they get it. If they are coming into a bank branch, it’s because their need isn’t met in another channel – like mobile or online. These are high-value interactions that can create experiences to remember, enhancing the likelihood of long-term brand loyalty.
Another major challenge for brands is reaching tech-savvy customers with thoughtful, useful innovation. Gina says, “A brand innovation play says ‘look how innovative and dedicated we are to be ahead of the curve.’” Innovation also shows a bank brand’s willingness to experiment. As featured inChief Content Officer magazine, one of Adrenaline’s clients, America First Credit Union, launched their own lab to test and innovate around new technologies and customer needs. The live innovation lab showcased current innovations and cutting-edge technologies and aggregated live, ongoing feedback and input. Who wouldn’t want to be part of that?
While not all banks will want to innovate live and on-the-fly, bank brands are keeping their eyes on the customer engagement prize. Gina says, “It’s about your reputation and what people think of your brand. Financial has taken cues from retail and is headed in the right direction.” So whether it’s cool tech or the right staff in the right place at the right time, banks are doing everything they can to be responsive and relevant to their customer’s needs and demands, whether it’s high-tech or high-touch. Innovation is much more than mere trend-watching and jumping on the tech bandwagon. The best bank brands understand that a strategic and purposeful deployment will foster meaningful, long-term relationships.