Banking On A Positive Customer Experience
Alexander Vergara – Vice President Advantage Branch & Office Systems, LLC – Concord, New Hampshire
In Banking, where similar products can be obtained at most financial institutions, where interest rates don’t vary by a large margin, and where most checking accounts are free of service charges, your current customers may not have a reason to continue to bank with your institution any it may be even more difficult to attract new customers. It is up to you to create and environment and culture that makes your institution stand out in a crowd. In order to accomplish this you must develop an image that sets you apart from the pack. The best way to do this is to drastically improve the level of service customers receive in every aspect of their banking experience.
For many years bankers have tried to improve their image, relying upon upscale advertising campaigns, reinforcing the institutions brand identity, and trying to create a positive retail environment through proper use of space, light and interior design. All of these elements are important and necessary to meet the institutions goals. What has been missing for many years is the absolute recognition that the very best method to accomplish your goals is to utilize your most important asset. The asset we will address in this paper is your personnel, especially your tellers. Your customers interface with the tellers much more than any other member of your banking team. It is therefore very important to determine how to best utilize the tellers presence in the branch environment and to design the branch to support the interaction of the tellers and customers.
First let’s examine what makes any retail experience memorable, and more importantly, pleasant. Remember, a bad experience will also be very memorable. First we must remember “Keep it Simple – Smart”. All of us have had many experiences that have been pleasantly memorable, and other experiences, that we remember. as being very distasteful. The common thread that separates a positive experience from a distasteful experience lies in our perception of how we have been treated. If we leave feeling important, that our business matters, and we have been treated with respect, we will most likely continue to do business with that institution. In fact, we probably will become more amenable to purchasing other products based on our positive experience.
Advantage Branch & Office Systems understands that one’s environment significantly contributes to the experience of the people that use the building space. That is why the Advantage Branch pays close attention to details, enhancing and improving both Programmatic and Economic Elements of the final design.
As bank designers and bankers working together, what exactly can we do to ensure a memorable customer experience? We must pay attention to our customers’ needs and make them feel important! At Advantage Branch, we understand that in retail environments, providing space that involves the customers and assists the employees in providing the best service possible will contribute greatly to providing this sometimes elusive memorable experience for all of your customers.
It is no secret that developing and keeping good tellers is difficult at best but if you can accomplish this the return on your investment will make a vast contribution in meeting you objectives and improving your bottom line. First let’s examine some of the problems and issues the tellers face each day and propose a means to change how the tellers work and develop a system that supports their success.