Putting systems at the heart of your branch transformation

Image credit: iStockphoto/KevinAlexanderGeorge

A strategy recently adopted by many banks is branch transformation – and we can expect this to be one of the biggest trends in the industry throughout the next couple of years.

At the heart of many efforts in this area will be new ATM and self-service technology. It’s easy to see why this is so attractive. Self-service capabilities have come a long way in the last few years, and the latest generation of in-branch kiosks and ATMs offer more functionality than ever before, from simple solutions such as check deposits to video tellers to deal with more complex issues.

Serving consumers more quickly also means branches can reduce the footprint needed for everyday activities, allowing staff to become less transactional and focus their efforts on activities that add greater value.

When banks are deploying such solutions, there are a few factors they must consider – and chief among these is how they will integrate this new technology and make sure it works effectively.

Ensuring the right focus

Branch transformation is often viewed as an opportunity to do something different and wow customers with an exciting, innovative in-branch experience. A great deal of attention is placed on the aesthetics of new branch developments in order to create an environment that really stands out.

But sometimes, this focus comes ahead of making sure the self-service technology supporting  transformation actually works, which could result in a disaster for any branch transformation project.

Making sure all the software, connections, and other underlying infrastructure are able to maximize functionality isn’t the most exciting part of a branch transformation initiative, but without it, all of those big investments in feature-rich hardware could be like pouring money down the drain.

The perils of a poor experience

At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter how clever the technology is – if it’s unreliable, your branch transformation efforts are destined for failure. A system that suffers from downtime and frequent unavailability will infuriate customers and undercut efforts to retrain staff.

Not only will customers be asking why they’re still having to wait in line for the teller when there are expensive self-service terminals out of order, but this will tie up employees who should be devoting more of their time to advisory activities that drive additional sales and revenue.

This won’t just cost money. If customers consider that a bank has focused too heavily on the look of their branch, or has gotten carried away with fancy technology at the expense of availability, they’re likely to question the company’s commitment to its customers, and this can quickly lead them to start looking elsewhere for banking services.

That’s why a good channel management solution is vital to any branch transformation strategy. It may not be the most glamorous part of the process, but it’s one that banks can’t afford to overlook. It ensures that customers can transition smoothly to self-service technology without any disruption in the quality of experience and supports a sales driven strategy for branch associates.

Written by Lisa Kellermeyer

Lisa Kellermeyer

Lisa Kellermeyer is a Global Marketing Manager for Management Solutions, based at NCR's World Headquarters in Duluth, GA. Lisa is responsible for the marketing of NCR's Financial Device and Transaction Management portfolio.

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