Continued from Part 1: Dissolving Brick and Mortar Bank Branches
Although the bank branch is becoming less relevant to customers for simple transactions because on-line banking is subsuming many of the functions formerly accomplished by tellers, the branch remains a primary source of new sales. Novantas research indicates that 55% of customers prefer to use a branch to open a new home equity line, but only 33% would do this on-line. 45% prefer to go to a branch to open a new deposit account, while 35% would prefer to do this on-line. Given the trend toward universal bankers in branches, banks should be employing branch staff with excellent sales skills. Although outbound sales calls have traditionally been the province of the contact center, cloud-based outbound dialer solutions, such as Aspect Outbound Cloud, are easily implemented in virtually any location. There’s no reason why sales-capable branch employees can’t be doing outbound sales calls when branch walk-in traffic is slow. In fact, with the wide availability of cloud-based contact centers, such as Aspect Zipwire, and cloud-capable WFO solutions, such as Aspect EQ WFO, branch employees could also take inbound service calls when branch traffic is slow.
There is yet another trend in branch banking that will make the branch less distinguishable from the contact center. Video-enabled ATMs and Kiosks are slowly replacing tellers and other bank branch personnel. Bank of America, Chase, PNC and other large banks are starting to use live interactive video technology to serve their customers in place of on-site branch staff. These video interactions are served by live agents typically in a centralized call center, however, with web-based video technology such as WebRTC, universal bankers located in any branch office could serve the needs of customers in another branch. Branch employees in offices with slow traffic should be able to act as customer service agents for other branches with high traffic, thereby allowing banks to minimize the effect of unpredictable variations in traffic of individual branches, blending labor across the portfolio of all branches. This approach is also being used to increase the productivity of specialists that would be too expensive to keep on staff in every branch.
As the lines between branch office and contact center continue to blur, we will see increasing demand for workforce optimization tools that span these major pools of labor within retail banks. In order to get the optimal blending and efficiency of the entire labor force, WFM will need to forecast, schedule and track multi-skilled employees in both branch office and contact center. Ensuring consistently high service quality in both branches and the contact center is now absolutely required for success, and an ongoing quality management process supported by rich quality management tools is essential. Performance management and associated coaching tools will enable the bank to understand what’s really happening in both branch and contact center, so appropriate actions can be taken to align employee goals with bank goals across the labor force. Aspect Software has been providing workforce optimization tools to retail banks and other financial institutions for over 20 years, and welcomes the opportunity to discuss your workforce challenges with our team of experts. Please contact us here to learn more.