Kerim Tumay
Kerim Tumay Nov 20, 2018

The analytics lift: How to improve branch productivity and customer experience

Let’s start with what we know: People love their mobile phones. They use them to run many parts of their lives and they certainly use them for banking. The speed, convenience and ability to “know me and anticipate my needs” creates an enticing experience—and resultant expectations. That spans not just digital channels but also the branch experience.

How evolving customer expectations impact the branch

Customers expect branch staff to deeply understand digital channels: to “speak” Venmo, Zelle and Uber as well as their own mobile app. They assume you’ll know that they used the bank’s mobile app, online chat or contact center agent to resolve an issue or gather information relevant to a financial need. Your bankers need the tools to track those customer journeys, acknowledge them with the customer and get down to business—quickly. The returns speak for themselves; banks that implement digital ambassador roles report improved digital adoption.

Customers also presume branch staff will assist with self-service. Why? Because customers want self-service and to find answers themselves—that is, until they can’t. Then, they immediately want help from a qualified banker.

Kiosks, tablets and video ATMs bring elements of the simple digital experience into the branch environment, making transactions easier for customers. That gives bankers more time and opportunity to spend on complex customer needs with real value-added conversations that deepen relationships and generate growth.

But these conversations can only occur when the right bankers occupy the right branch at the right time. To that end, associates must brandish the skills, tools and knowledge to provide customers with experiences they expect. In any given market, one branch may need universal bankers on Saturday mornings while another requires a personal banker, teller and business banker. When you grasp the underlying customer dynamics of each branch through data and analytics, true connections result: It creates the access to expertise your customers expect.

“We think of all experience from the customer out,” said John Maniscalco, senior vice president and head of customer experience and productivity at TD Bank said in a recent BAI Banking Strategies podcast. “It’s always about the customer. Experience drives everything and the customer trumps everything. You’ve always got to think ‘If I were the customer …’ If you don’t start there, you won’t get it right.”

Align sales and service capacity to market opportunity

For most banking executives, aligning sales and service capacity to market opportunity sits atop their branch transformation list. Yet a Kiran Analytics survey shows that just 8 percent of bankers rated their performance in this area as optimal.

What does it mean to align to market opportunity? Optimizing locations and formats? Branch design and technology? The level and mix of staff in the location and open hours?  Yes, it means all of that—and not just focusing on efficiency and cutting cost in low-opportunity markets. It requires that you do the following:

  • apply the right investment levels in all branches,
  • achieve profitability by increasing revenue, and
  • cut waste and inefficiency from your business processes.

Each branch presents a unique touchpoint and market opportunity; customer dynamics, transaction types and demand vary. Sales opportunities and types of opportunities vary widely. Accurately forecasting customer demand requires advanced analytics and innovative methodologies with inputs such as transaction volumes, in-branch observations, and marketing/sales goals (market factors). When you analyze this data by branch and market, you can then forecast work content by its group (sales, service, admin, meetings, lobby leadership, breaks). Rigorous analytics not only determines branch staffing mix—it also places experts such as mortgage, investment or business bankers in the right branch at the right time.

Improve workforce engagement and retention

What engages a branch associate? Feeling productive, or the ability to satisfy your customers’ needs? Constructing the right branch team around smart workforce management allows a bank to create and retain an engaged staff.

Advanced analytics can reveal the optimal capacity level and skill sets, along with a full-time, part-time and peak-time staffing mix for each branch. Matching staff skills and lifestyles to these findings will enhance employee retention. Associates don’t want inadequate staffing capacity that spills into excess overtime. Banks that utilize students and seniors who seek part-time work during peak times report improved employee retention.

All branch associates expect some control over their schedules. Mobile scheduling apps allow staff to set shift preferences, swap shifts, request time off and request overtime. More than just engaged, staff members feel empowered.

Benefit from a holistic data and analytics driven approach

As Maniscalco summed up in the podcast, “You get to profitability through increasing revenue—not just cutting costs. You will achieve growth by achieving customer satisfaction, its cause and effect. Invest in parts of the experience that allow you to effectively and efficiently help customers. Data and analytics are not only helping us figure out the right number of employees but also anticipate what customers need, so we can match our skill sets for an outstanding customer experience.”

That stellar experience doesn’t happen by accident; this we know. But data analytics has rapidly built up its track record as a potent problem solving force. Many of your peers already know this. Indeed, banking leaders can get to outstanding customer experience by leveraging smart business experience.

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Kerim Tumay is vice president of marketing with Kiran Analytics, a Verint Company. He can be reached at kerim.tumay@kiran.com

For more articles like this one, check out our recent Executive Report: Maximizing the power of banking channels.

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