New look financial outlets
The financial services industry is growing in its need for competitive excellence. The numerous financial institutions, including banks, foreign exchange bureaus, asset managers and investment groups are engaged in developing strong brand identities. In all financial areas, there are certain pain points for customers, by addressing which the financial institutions have entered into a new era of retail competition.
The main points include: dealing with a bank is complicated and timeconsuming; the customer receives impersonal treatment and little recognition; the customer is not in control or empowered to make decisions and the customer gets no help engaging with friends and family on financial matters.
The new retail designs for financial institutions have developed certain capabilities to address these pain points and outperform the competitors. These include multichannel experience ( deliver an endto- end customer experience); analytics- driven decision- making ( drive fact- based decisionmaking and anticipate customer needs using deep insights from customer data); customerfocused value proposition ( deliver highly tailored product and service offerings that include standardized and individualized solutions) and internal and external collaboration.
Various financial institutions are evolving with their branch networks presenting a new ‘ Retail Store’ concept and advice centre designed to meet customer needs. This retail experience is being created in a personalized manner that is informative, friendly and accessible.
For financial institutions, retail competition became important due to the increasing challenge of driving traffic to branches. The solution was found in creating a more transparent and inviting store exterior, inviting the public to come in and explore the interactive and modern- looking space.
By transforming a traditional branch space into a retail environment, the objective is to change the client experience from “banking” to “shopping”. A hybrid of best- in- class retail shopping and financial services enable customers to select from a range of self, assisted and fullservice options.
The new ‘ Retail Store’ concept features interactive advice areas, touch screen technology and more open space for customers. Now financial institutions can easily break away from traditional branch designs with stark decors and staff tucked safely away behind bullet- proof glass.
Particularly in banks, ATMS have been placed deeper into the retail area to expose self- served clients to the new environment and exciting interactive zones. Private meeting rooms and semi- private meeting spaces have been made more open and accessible, allowing for impromptu meetings.
An event area may feature large screens that continually circulate mini- seminars and marketing initiatives to the entire branch. This area can be utilized by mobile sales teams to engage clientele through seminars and events that are open to large groups at extended hours. Through visual merchandising on the retail floor, the customers become exposed to the bank’s offerings in an enhanced manner. Traditional displays and digital screens can be strategically placed near service areas to increase visibility.
Importantly, Microsoft has partnered with major financial institutions to provide customers an interactive banking experience through the use of its Surface 2.0 technology.
Every financial institution needs to find its own unique branch delivery model — one that complements their brand and business strategies. That means carefully engineering an experience while balancing the privacy and security concerns.