Four Lessons Branch Banks Can Learn from Retailers
The Reflexis Banking team recently had the opportunity to attend NRF 2019 – Retail’s Big Show. Held annually in January, this show sets the tone for retail in the new year, with the presentation of new solutions, trends, and insights from industry leaders. Many of the trends retailers were discussing resonate with the current challenges and opportunities banks are facing for branch transformation. We identified four key lessons for branch banking from NRF 2019 that you can use to improve customer engagement, offer valuable branch experiences, and empower employee productivity.
1. Customers Are King
One of the top questions asked by retailers at NRF 2019 was, “How does this help my customer?” Marvin Ellison, CEO of Lowe’s, spoke at the show about focusing on retail fundamentals—ensuring that shopping is frictionless and associates are knowledgeable and engaged in every interaction with customers. Much like in retail, banking customers have more options than ever before, thanks to the saturation of mobile and online banking; they now visit branches in person for more complex questions and premium services, rather than routine transaction. As a result, these customers often have higher expectations for the service they receive, so providing a high-touch customer experience and outstanding customer service are top priorities. Focusing on fundamentals and simplifying non-customer activities helps branches to exceed their customers’ expectations.
2. Technology Brings Scheduling Innovation
Retail is anticipated to be one of the fastest industries to adopt Artificial Intelligence (AI) and machine learning technologies in the next few years. On display at NRF 2019 were AI solutions to improve labor forecasting and optimize operations for customer engagement. These modern AI-powered workforce management solutions developed for retail can enable branches to optimize forecasting using factors like traffic and non-customer workload. They also support floating & part-time models and both mixed-skill and premium specialist staffing, so you can schedule staff with multiple roles or across branches in the network, ensuring that the right-skilled staff are in the right place at the right time.
3. Brick-and-Mortar Experiences Thrive
Despite dire predictions about the retail apocalypse, brick-and-mortar stores are still thriving; even digital native brands at NRF 2019 commented on the value of the physical store. Similarly, the death of the bank branch has been greatly overstated. In retail, the conversation has shifted from which channels will win out, to the operations strategies that create a seamless omnichannel experience. In branch banking, this conversation is about ensuring branch excellence, with strategies to simplify and prioritize workflows and maintain impeccable brand standards. These improvements can help streamline the branch experience, reducing wait times and increasing customer satisfaction.
4. Branch Colleagues Drive Success
One common theme among retailers this year was the power of store associates to drive retail success. Retail leaders like Best Buy CEO Hubert Joly spoke to the importance of investing in your workforce. You can see this trend at work in retail banking with the rise of “universal banker” programs to cross-train staff for a more flexible workforce. Branch scheduling processes are also key to unleashing the power of branch colleagues with mobile-first employee self-service. By offering branch colleagues easy-to-use solutions to view and adjust their schedule, you can improve employee engagement and retention. Branch networks that invest in their employees ensure that colleagues are more effective, more knowledgeable, and more enthusiastic about their work, ultimately driving sales.
The Reflexis ONE for Banking platform helps branch banks put these lessons into action. With a single platform of mobile-first solutions for real-time operations and workforce management proven in the field by over 250 top retailers, Reflexis enables you to optimize network staffing, empower employee productivity, and transform branch experiences.