Imagine a bank branch staffed with inspirational, energetic, socially skilled, digitally savvy strategic thinkers who have a deep dedication to helping customers. These skilled and talented employees are equally comfortable meeting with customers across their desks, in virtual conferences, or on social media. While they are experts on the banks offerings, they are equally expert at listening to customers and acting as trusted advisors to provide them with the solutions they need. This is the bank branch of the future.

In my previous posts, I explained how digitisation is driving change in the banking industry, making customers more self-sufficient as well as opening the door for a human touch in branch banking that brings additional value to banks, employees, and customers. I also explained the challenges involvedin executing this transformation. Making the human touch in branch banking vision a reality doesn’t come easily, but it is necessary if banks are going to stay competitive in a changing business environment.

Now I’d like to share three things your firm must do to overcome transformational challenges and bring the human touch to the bank branch:

  1. Redirect talent to a new skill set
  2. Create personalised, high-touch customer experiences
  3. Nurture talent as a valuable strategic asset

The new branch employee

It goes without saying that branch employees must be very well versed in a firm’s offerings. That’s nothing new. But in this new model, the equally important skill these employees must possess is the ability to listen to customers and then personalise those offerings to strategically meet individual customer needs, in both the short and long term.

Personality matters as well. Employees who are engaging, communicative, and truly excited about how the business can help improve a customer’s life will be the employees who drive the business forward.

A high-touch, human touch branch experience

Making the branch experience, and the banking experience in general, more human means making it more personal. Firms will need to make sure employees have robust customer information at their fingertips along with all the tools necessary to create a customised, seamlessly integrated experience that keeps them close to their customers―be that through in-branch consultations, video chats, or other channels.

Talent as a strategic asset

Companies often tout that employees are their greatest asset, yet their behavior towards employees sometimes says something completely different (for example, not providing sufficient resources to do their jobs or offering inadequate compensation). As bank employees rise to the level of strategic advisors, they will be expected to perform to different indicators than in the past. These new performance indicators include:

  • Digital expertise
  • Relationship-building skills
  • Expert knowledge and advisory competence
  • Ongoing customer engagement

The expectation is that with this changing, and more influential, strategic role, employee satisfaction will rise―and that’s a good thing. However, compensation must also rise to be commensurate with these new expectations. Banks must show their employees they are valued, both through word and deed.

The future of banking

Going into the future, banking profitability will be increasingly dependent on how good a job banks do at creating a more human-centric, differentiated, and value-add experience for their customers―and their employees. By integrating digital capabilities into high-touch interactions with customers, carried out by dedicated, expert, customer-focused employees who are valued by their companies as strategic assets, banks can bring the human touch to banking while growing the business.

To learn more about the human touch in banking, please see:

Branching out: The case for the human touch in banking

Transforming the banking branch

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