Face to face interaction preferred for buying bank products

By : Martin Shires

July 22, 2015 12:30 PM

It's been relatively straightforward to migrate a whole host of functions to digital, yet some services are seen as branch-only operations. Perceived wisdom is that no one will take out a mortgage without some human contact along the way, for example, but that small ticket items such as new accounts, overdrafts, insurances etc. can be moved to the digital channels.

However, Cap Gemini’s global research report from Q2 2015, reflects much of what has recently been said in interviews with execs from some of the largest retail banks in North America and Europe – digital migration is reaching a plateau. While transacting & information download is often accessed via digital mediums, any advisory service, for both simple and complex products, continues to be sold best using a human medium.


Likewise, branches are no longer being seen as silo’d profit centers, which when making a loss become ripe for closure or relocation. It’s now clear that branches are a necessary presence for a seamlessly functioning omnichannel banking experience. Your customer may want to open an account online, but at some stage they will want to visit a branch, or speak to someone on the phone.


Cap Gemini’s research shows that whether you are Gen Y, or Gen X. It’s not about digital versus physical; the ideal is to effectively combine both, with all age groups still commonly saying that approximately 60% of product onboarding will be discovered, researched and concluded using staff to customer interaction.


“Financial institutions will win by ensuring that applicants feel the outcome was smooth and seamless even if even they start the process in one channel and finish in another. Applicants should never have to start over from scratch,” said Mark Schwanhausser, director of omnichannel financial services at Javelin.


Branch Transformation is no longer about bricks and mortar, it’s about giving staff and customers, the means to replicate the historic face to face interaction, using the convenience offered by digital channels. But only when the customer decides they want to buy that way.


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Martin Shires

New Branch Solutions Mkt Mgr, Strategy & Marketing

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Martin Shires is a global evangelist for branch transformation strategy, based out of NCR’s R&D center in Dundee, UK. Martin has held a number of senior regional management roles in European retail banking.