Enhancing the retail bank customer experience with audio

Stephen Joseph

In today’s ever-changing environment many businesses find themselves having to work increasingly hard to stay relevant and competitive. Unlike online businesses that focus on providing an intuitive and easy online experience, traditional businesses must focus on the brick and mortar experience. Financial institutions are not exempt from creating an improved or enhanced customer experience as a means of maintaining existing customers as well as attracting new customers. The banking landscape is evolving rapidly, and as consumers have more online options to choose from, they become more selective about their face-to-face experience.

Retail Banking

For financial institutions, retail banking is the primary means of engaging existing and potential customers. Most have made a concerted effort to enhance or develop a fresh or totally new look to their retail branches, which can be seen in what’s now called ‘branch transformation’ (a subject we cover in this earlier blog post). This is a broad topic and can cover a host of different items from the overall look of the branch, sleek flat screen automated teller machines (ATM), interactive teller machines (ITM) and the ability to grab a cup of coffee from a barista while you’re waiting. As a discerning consumer myself, when you have options, the customer experience can make all the difference in the world.

Analytics are no longer just for back of house operations but also for customer-facing environments. This is the area where many businesses are now looking to be innovative in improving the customer experience.

Analytics

The financial industry is now starting to evaluate the use of video analytics. Analytics can provide a very effective means of capturing customer behavior but can also gather data that can help to enhance or improve the overall customer experience by, for instance, reducing queues and ensuring enough advisors are available at busy times. After all, the perceived experience is all about the customer and making that experience as pleasant and useful as possible.

An exciting development that is gaining momentum is that banks are adding new purpose and functionality to the branch space, such as community rooms, exhibition spaces, cafés and the like. Bank branches are becoming a “third place” between home and work attracting not only existing clients but also potential clients. Adding new purpose and functionality to branches increases traffic and staff workload. Therefore, optimizing staff and space becomes a prerequisite for the success of the transformation. Understanding the impact of transformation on visitor numbers and visitor demographics is also of crucial importance for marketing as this will provide actionable insights.

Audio

When it comes to creating a pleasant or welcoming feeling, audio has always played an important role. Even today, most audio systems are still traditional analog systems, but with new network technology advancements, audio systems are going digital. This opens the field for new use cases that can allow financial institutions to also include audio in their branch transformation strategy. Below are several potential use cases that could enhance the retail branch environment.

  • Background music will help to create a pleasant environment and can help during times when customers are waiting to be assisted.
  • Announcements can provide the ability for security staff to make announcements remotely and communicate with the site as a deterrent after hours.
  • Scalability provides ability to define different audio zones in each location and manage and connect remotely with multiple locations at any time.

Analytics can be an effective tool for financial institutions to gain deeper insight into their business and improve efficiency. The addition of network audio can provide new use cases to add to the branch transformation evolution. If enhancing or improving the overall customer experience is the goal, network audio can play an important role for security, safety and with lifting customer moods when visiting the branch.