Conversations about customer channel migration, branch sales and growth are gaining momentum. But while customers are evolving and adopting less traditional ways of banking, many branches are stuck in a time warp and continue to operate as order takers versus consultative advisors.
For years, banks have focused on deposits for driving low cost funds to support commercial lending, but in today’s banking landscape, deposits are making a resurgence as the priority. But competition is stiff, so maintaining wallet share through relationship building is just as important as ever. The challenge, however, is that in the branch networks, customer-facing employees are engaging and reacting to customers in much the same way as they have for the past 20+ years. They are trying to build and foster relationships in a way that is not always relevant to a multi-channel client, and they are not getting the support or training they need to function any differently.
If bankers don’t recognize the growing reliance customers place on multiple banking and payments channels and help branch employees evolve to the same level as customers through training and education, they will not be able to effectively engage with and cross-sell to customers. If they can’t solve complex customer problems regardless of the channel used, how can they build and deepen relationships? If they can’t build relationships, how can they increase wallet share? If they can’t increase wallet share, how can they increase deposit share?
In their efforts to empower branch employees to evolve and support the client’s desire to bank virtually, branch managers need to make sure customer-facing employees are prepared to answer these five basic questions:
Branch managers need to be thinking about what they are really losing by not training and educating the workforce. Branch employees can best sell and support products and services they really understand, and managers need to give these customer-facing teams the knowledge they need to be true, multi-channel relationship managers. Consider making a short video from the CEO and a training soundbite that educates and empowers team members part of the bank’s continuing education strategy.
Whatever the tools, in the end an investment in employees has a triple retention impact at the bank—on its customer base, its employee base, and the next generation management team.
Thanks to Roger Bussey and Tony DeSanctis for their contributions to this article.
5 thoughts on “5 Multi-Channel Questions Branch Staff Needs to Be Able to Answer”
Hi, Michelle. A GREAT list. I continue to be surprised how many employees do not use their bank’s services. I have preached for years that use of a core group of retail products should be a condition of employment. Never got that one past Legal and HR, unfortunately…….. 🙁
Thank you Wade!
Nice job Michelle. It is nice to see the truth being spread so eloquently.
Thanks Jason. I have not had to use a “branch” in a very long time, but due to a recent life event, not only was I in a branch multiple times, but several different banks were visited. I observed other customers interactions in addition to my experience and realized how uninspiring and frustrating the visits were by being passed from person to person and in the end several phone transfers for assistance. Another angle here is where is the differentiator everyone claims of quality of customer service fall in these experiences!
What I also find interesting is that banks use a different account opening API when done in the branch, than when customers do it online. So if a customer abandons an online account opening, very common, a branch person usually cannot help them.
What’s up with that?