July 11th, 2011 By Jack Morton
I try not to go to the bank. Not because I don’t like to but because, with all my out-of-bank options, I don’t really have to. So when I walk into the bank, it’s because I have a question or need some help. And the thing that keeps me going back to the same branch at my bank isn’t its convenient location (though that helps), it’s the people.
I love that there’s a greeter at the door who asks if she can help me, and when I tell her my issue, she directs me to where I need to go. Or if she’s busy, she makes sure to tell me she’ll be with me in a minute. The tellers aren’t overly friendly but they honestly want to do a good job and make my experience as pleasant as possible.
However, if the bank architecture wasn’t conducive to a good experience, I’m not sure the people on their own could do the trick. Thankfully, from an environmental design standpoint, my bank also seems to be set up for a better customer experience than most others. Of course there are the standard elements: open, comfortable seating if I’m waiting, stanchions for line guidance, some ATM kiosks accessible at night via debit card swipe. But some of the more unique elements make that marginal difference: two table top computer stations for quick non-teller assistance or online banking help, a wall of offices – not cubes – for private conversations.
How could my current experience be optimized? For one, more drive-thru ATMs. But on a broader scale, out-of-bank banking really creates a lot of opportunity to enhance the in-bank experience. For example, a call-ahead system so they know what I’ll need when I get there or advance check-ins that put my name and need in a queue. Perhaps the ability to set an appointment ahead of time online or via my banking app. Mobile devices can also give banks the chance to get rid of debit cards all together with unique bar codes, RFID technology, etc.
Then I wouldn’t have to worry about leaving my card in the ATM, it getting eaten, and me having to transform my convenient out-of-bank experience into an inconvenient one. Go ahead, Mr. ATM… eat it. One day, I won’t need it anymore.
Bottom line: out-of-bank should be quick, convenient, and intuitive. In-bank should be personal, efficient, and private when needed.