WFM Video Insights: Managing Through the Branch Closure Process
Reflexis is excited to continue our video series exploring key topics within the world of Workforce Management. This third video in the series provides a guide for navigating the branch closure process – how to select the best branches, accurately forecasting transaction migration, and how the right workforce management software can simplify the process. A summary is provided below, but please watch the full video here to hear the full breakdown.
The primary objective when choosing candidate branches for consolidation is to minimize customer churn and any loss in new account openings. This requires collecting a variety of data from both your existing branches and customers, as well as from any previous branch closures at the bank – specifically distances and customer demographics and account balances. With this data in hand, you can leverage logistic regression to assign each customer account a probability of churning if their home branch were to close. To understand changes in new account production, the count of new account openings for the year prior to each historical branch closure and the year after should be compared. This should then be compared to a control group of similar branches to account for secular changes in customer behavior.
Once branches are selected, it’s crucial to ensure your remaining branches are adequately staffed to handle the increase in customer volume. This is a tough task without having an accurate idea of where customer transactions will migrate after a branch consolidation. Usually, a customer’s home address is the best predictor of where they will bank after their home branch is closed. Drive times to the surrounding branches can be pulled manually from Google Maps or systematically via their API. Branch closures typically drive an increase in customers’ use of digital channels. Estimating the magnitude of this shift can be done with another pre/post analysis from previous branch consolidations. Forecasts will need to be manually adjusted for a time until they are able to “catch up” with the new demand patterns.
Flexible workforce management software can provide the staffing and forecasting agility necessary to minimize the stress on both customers and bank associates. Multi-site scheduling provides the functionality to make last minute adjustments in work schedules if customer volumes deviate too far from projections. Using Reflexis Workforce Scheduler, where all employee work preferences are known and stored directly in the WFM system, scheduling gaps can even be filled automatically with rules-based automation. Having a forecasting engine where you can easily make changes yourself means you can add a branch closure variable to directly signal to the forecast, helping to extract the explanatory power of the branch consolidation, so that it can be used to guide your forecasts more accurately in the future. Additionally, being able to tag closed branches and their neighbors directly in your WFM tool makes performing the necessary analysis on future branch closures much easier.