Jun 04 2020

Why Banks Are Using Mobile Devices in Branches to Modernize

The same technology that powers digital banking can also be used to enhance the branch experience.

Digital banking has revolutionized the financial services industry. A sector that was built on personal relationships and one-on-one conversations with customers now provides access to its services with a couple of taps on a smartphone or clicks of a mouse. And in addition to daily banking, today’s customers also have simple investment tools at their fingertips — tools that weren’t available to them only a few decades ago. 

There's comfort and convenience in digital banking. A recent survey from Provident Bank found that more than three-fourths of customers preferred to deal with their bank through digital channels. It can also be a way to keep customers coming back, as 83 percent of respondents said that they are less likely to leave the bank once they’ve become accustomed to their digital offerings. 

Where does the traditional branch fit into all of this? Despite overwhelming satisfaction with online banking tools, many customers still want in-person service. A recent Celent report found that 77 percent of adults would rather have a face-to-face conversation for a substantive discussion about their finances.  

While customers may still want to come into bank branches for advice on long-term financial planning, their expectations have shifted. Adding amenities like digital signage and cafes to branches helps keep customers engaged, but banks are also relying on a tool often used for digital banking: mobile devices. 

The same technology that makes it unnecessary for customers to go to branches is also powering branch transformation. Whether it’s for customers waiting to be helped, bank employees trying to help the most people, or keeping the line moving swiftly, banks are harnessing mobility to improve the in-branch experience.

Devices Can Help Customers Right When They Walk In

A big downside to going to a store or a bank is the crowd. People dislike waiting in lines so much that the ability to order something ahead of time and pick it up is a driving force behind mobile apps and rewards programs. 

While mobile devices aren’t used exactly this way at bank branches, they can be used to help customers check in, giving them a good idea of when they should be at the branch and when they might be helped. This feature ranked second among the most popular new experiences that customers would like to see at their bank, according to the Celent report.

Mobile devices can also help customers pass the time productively while they wait for their consultation. With descriptions of a branch’s financial offerings loaded onto their device, customers can familiarize themselves with a bank’s services before meeting with a staff member. Not only is this educational, but it might also help the conversation go faster, because customers can target their questions more accurately once armed with the right information.  

MORE FROM BIZTECH: How banks can prepare networks for long-term remote work.

Customers Get Assistance Faster with Tablets

Mobile devices are helpful in the hands of branch employees as well. Armed with the right device, staff members can walk up to customers as they come in, ready to help immediately.

A report from McKinsey reads, “Tablets give bankers the freedom to roam the branch — much in the way that Apple Store employees do — enabling them to increase sales and provide superior customer service.” These tablets should be loaded with live customer transparency dashboards, advanced CRM software, digital sales tools and assisted migration modules so employees can do everything away from a computer.

Whether it’s giving customers more immediate help, giving employees more flexibility or making the whole process more efficient, mobile devices have a role to play in the modern bank branch. Banks that use these tools can make their own processes run more smoothly, enhance the in-branch experience and ultimately keep customers coming back.

Rattankun Thongbun/Getty Images

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