A report from the world Economic Forum warns that big tech players are in a strong position to challenge legacy banks in the coming years.

Consumer devices and the bank of the future

Digital technologies including smartphones, tablets, and wearable devices have transformed the way consumers access banking services. Customers no longer have to rely on the local bank branch to make payments, check account balances, and deposit checks, which has led many to predict the demise of the retail bank. However, the latest research and insights show that, in fact, the local branch isn’t going anywhere.

When it comes to complex transactions and sophisticated financial solutions, customers still rely on the expertise and trust of human advisers at their local bank branch. According to data from JPMorgan Chase and Wells Fargo, the majority of customers still visit branches multiple times each quarter. And 87% of consumers expect that they will continue to use their branch in the near future, according to Accenture.

To meet the needs of customers seeking tailored advice and a more personalized experience, banks are turning to the same consumer devices you might find in your home to create the mobile-first branch. These popular consumer devices provide an effective channel to reach customers directly, and they are underpinning the entire branch experience – mobilizing bank staff to offer customers more efficient, seamless and tailored services. The key to success is to provide the right technology to the right employee at the right point on the customer journey.

For example, when a customer walks into the mobile-first branch, they can check in via their mobile app to completely personalize their visit and receive efficient, appropriate service.  Outfitted with a secure, custom-programmed wearable device, the bank branch employee who first greets the customer gets information on the wearable about the service need and can help direct them—whether that’s to an ATM for a simple transaction or by sharing information via a branch-branded tablet device. If a higher level engagement is needed, the greeter can direct the customer to a more senior associate and use the same mobile phone or tablet to find where space is available for that meeting. Rather than waiting to unlock a meeting space with their ID badge, the employee’s wearable device can unlock the door when they are in close proximity, before they even go to open it. And in the meeting itself, they can use their smartphone or tablet to make the meeting more efficient and more engaging for the customer.

If the employee needs to bring up any documents or look at any account information, they can do so seamlessly with their tablet – or they can use a smartphone and docking station that projects information to a larger monitor for easier customer viewing. Employees can also use the larger displays to quickly and easily set up a video conference with remote specialists.

When the customer needs to fill out paperwork and sign documents as the meeting progresses, they can do so right on the mobile device, rather than the bank employee going through the process of printing relevant paperwork in the back office, bringing it to the customer, and then taking it back for storage. Once the e-documents are signed, employees can upload them to secure cloud servers, making it easy to store and retrieve the documents whenever necessary. The result is less waiting, less chance for error, and a more positive experience for customer and employee alike.

And as all of this happens, managers can use the same wearable devices to communicate with and redirect staff based on resource allocations during peak business hours, or on a particular customer’s net worth or banking needs. They can also monitor the length of customer-employee interactions and use that data to make their operations more efficient.

These are just a few examples of the way our financial services customers are looking at digital innovations to change the way they approach their business and facilitate a best-in-class customer experience. The one common thread is that these industry pioneers are pairing personalized, efficient customer service with intelligent, data-driven insights to breathe new life into the world of retail banking.

Image: iStockphoto/denizbayram

Written by Reginald Jones

Reginald Jones is the Director of Sales Solutions for Financial Services at Samsung and works directly with the largest retail banks to drive best in class customer and brand experiences, associate mobilization, and data security.