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  • Writer's pictureGearoid Power, CEO Antuar

5 Phases of Branch Innovation

Updated: Sep 2, 2021

Consumer behaviors and beliefs are changing rapidly. And these days, if you want your business to survive and thrive, it’s imperative that you keep up and perhaps even influence those changes to leverage deep consumer insights.

In the world of banking, it’s always going to be about spaces, places and faces. And to make the most out of your branch network (while maintaining a superior customer satisfaction rating), the role of the branch must also change. All with the end goal of having happy consumers, happy staff, highly efficient, profitable processes & interactions, and focal points that attract new business.

While we all have the same goal, we believe elephants can even have babies — sometimes they show up in the same spot, or somewhere we least expect them. And though we can’t avoid them, we can overcome them through best practices.

What stood out for us, are the common approaches being used by the brightest minds in the banking space to enable all, to be better at branch Innovation from both sides of the counter.

So we’ve collated insights and common approaches, starting with the 5 phases of branch Innovation you need to consider:

(Click Image for Hi Res PDF)

1. Financial Institution Strategy

In failed Innovations, you often find plenty of plans and directives and programs, but no vision. Piles of paper do not rally employees together or inspire change — a clear and intact strategy does. Without a sensible vision and strategy to pair it with, Innovation efforts can easily dissolve into a list of confusing and incompatible projects that can take the organization in the wrong direction or nowhere at all.

2. Branch Strategy

Branch measurements constantly evolve and change depending on the mission it carries — some make it their goal to sell with some, opting for convenience.

Whichever your goal is at the moment, designing different metrics that best fit your company’s primary needs is necessary to be able to provide the best experience that considers automation, back office tasks, plus various transactions and services at hand.

An ideal starting point is C-T.H.I.S — the building and planning phase of every Innovation. Consulting serves as the container to which branch strategy exists. It seeks to organize Technology, Hardware, Innovative Design and Staff.

3. Pilot

The pilot testing of every branch Innovation is set up to prove concepts, prove solutions and mitigate gremlins.

In this regard, monitoring and course correcting is constantly explored to support the following:

  • Customer feedback on CX

  • Refining the Branch Innovation process with staff on the ground

  • Identifying training gaps

  • Managing logistics of hardware, innovative design, technology, and people

  • Identify the tech production and things like: Connectivity, bugs, and security

  • Refine the Branch Innovation by measuring cost/income ratios, impact, brand, CX, and staff utilization

4. Roll-out

Fully implementing these changes can go a number of ways especially when we’re talking about multiple locations situated in different parts of the world, working with a diverse set of people, and well, having the old practices coincide with the new.

Every business has its share of growing pains and this phase is probably where you will feel that most because of the constant refining and measurement of things such as:

  • Operational cost savings

  • Acceptance by consumers

  • Quantity of services migrated to consumer service

  • CX metrics- very hard to quantify but important Transaction improvements and/or migration to tech

  • “Free time” (from tech/process improvement) staff now have the ability to engage with customers

  • Branch efficiency ratio dip (improved sales through efficiency gains- or at least improved sales with no efficiency loss)

  • Cash flow improvements/beam reduction/outages etc

5. Innovation

Success has little to do about what works and more with identifying what doesn’t work. It may not happen overnight, but KPI’s are just as important to measure and realign.

Despite the systemic changes that come in the rise of the digital age, bank branches remain an essential part of bank operations and customer experience. This is why, branch Innovation is crucial to delivering financial products and services on demand.

Of course, banking strategies differ and they should be, but having a roadmap that shows you the way in navigating through constant changes is meaningful to make a successful journey.

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