As global business development lead for branch transformation my goal is to encourage smart branch transformation initiatives – which can (and should) mean very different things to different financial institutions (FIs).
That sometimes means downplaying technology – or at least balancing it with the interpersonal side of things. A truly holistic approach to branch transformation is one that focuses not just on technology and software, but on the people and processes that will be most affected by the upgrades. Clients are often surprised when I tell them that it’s not all about “the technology.” We sell the industry’s best self-service terminals, we have world-leading technological innovations and we can facilitate tasks from deposit automation to cash recycling to biometric identification, but for a self-service channel to be truly successful, ATMs can’t simply be installed and forgotten.
This leads to some interesting conversations with our software and technology engineers. In their view, banks should automate everything they possibly can, and technology should infuse virtually every aspect of the consumer experience.
They’re tech guys. I’m a former banker. You might think we’d have different visions for the future, but they’re actually opposite sides of the same coin, and they converge at a crucial digital-and-physical intersection: The place where technology enables a more connected, human experience. The future of banking lies in achieving the right mix of people, processes and technology, with the end goal always focused on the consumer, and facilitating a more personal – and personalized – connection with each individual.
During an April 2017 Forrester “What It Means” podcast, vice president and research director Benjamin Ensor identified the real challenge: “How do you create a kind of emotional bond with your customer, how do you make customers care?” How can banks “be more flexible, more available and make it easier for customers to reach people to talk about what actually matters to them?” The answer to these questions, I believe, lies in recognizing and embracing the digital-and-physical intersection.
Potential clients who sit down with our branch transformation consultants will hear echoes of that recommendation in meetings with software and development teams. We encourage every financial institution we meet to welcome the innovations sweeping through our industry – as long as they do it in lockstep with thoroughly educating both employees and consumers about how those innovations can benefit us all.
Do you have questions about how to execute your FI’s transformation strategy? Let’s talk.