Before you continue reading go for the exercise yourself and write down reasons why you want, or not want to go to your bank branch. Let find out if we have some commonalities. My thinking started actually by defining a reason for me to go to the branch. Small disclaimer here, I do not say this is what all banking customers want, but I am pretty sure the group of customer that have similar wants as I have is quite big and increasing by the day…
I don’t want to go, because…
- I am forced to go because bank procedures force me to do so – My friends are complaining every day. Even I had to go back 3 times to the branch to provide additional documents when applying for a Credit Card (why didn’t you tell me on the phone?). And I am pretty sure I am not alone!
- I have to wait – Even with an appointment you are not sure you are serviced directly after entering the branch. The clock is ticking…
- I have to come back to (hopefully) finish the procedures – If you are lucky your request is processed flawless, so you only have to come back for a signature.
- I have to go the branch because what I want is not offered via the channel I want to use – Specific products (eg. Mortgages) in most cases cannot be bought online. You have to make an appointment to visit the branch. Most of the banks do not provide you to have that appointment after work, forcing you to take leave from work.
- If I go to the branch without appointment I am not sure I will leave with my need satisfied – When you access the branch without pre-announcing your visit, there is a good chance the person you need to get your question answered is not attending or available. So you have to come back later…or, Yes, make an appointment.
And all of this takes time. And that is probably the big frustration. Because we know there are faster, easier ways to do all this…
I only want to go, when…
I want to go! So easy! If I am sure they provide me what I need and I can decide myself to go. I am sure bank branches still exist in the future. But I am also pretty sure that the services they will provide will change significantly. Shortly summarized; I currently go to the branch when:
- I want to apply for Credit Card
- I want to cash a check
- Apply for a Mortgage
- I want to open a new bank account/savings account/investment account;
- I want specialized advice
And actually the only reason I would like to go to the branch in the future is the last one. If I a have a very specific question for which I would like to have a more detailed conversation, advice! Australian based NAB just announced its first step in this process. They are going to educate their Tellers to provide financial advice at the branch, not sure if this is enough, but they show their willingness to develop in the use of their branches. By the way, in the future we won’t call them teller anymore, but advisers, because the transaction activities they currently execute (and why we call them Teller) are not offered by the branch anymore, because everyone can do it from home, the bus, the beach, the pub or the airplane.
And if I go the branch I still want to experience that nice, techie, fancy experience. Maybe the advisor not even is in that branch, so am I just discussing my case by virtual connection. ABN AMRO offers that already for a view years.
The full mobile or online banks are increase in popularity among the younger generation, read about GoBank. So it is a question of time the majority of people is at least well know with these banks. They provide what most banks currently are not. Being the facility for me to bank when I want and how I want.
And that is what it is all about. I can choose my own way to do my banking and the bank provides me with the ways to do so.
Bank (just between you and me), don’t wait too long…