COVID-19 has changed how every organization interacts with its clientele. Tasked with everything from new cleaning and sanitizing regimens to enforcing social distancing guidelines, banking leaders struggle to balance customer or member satisfaction and safe, efficient operations.
Stephen Griffin, Senior Vice President, Regions Bank and Jean-Pierre Lacroix, president of SLD, a pioneer in designing retail experiences, shared their visions and lessons learned for extending exceptional customer experiences amid the current desire for contactless interactions in the recent webinar, The Future of the Branch Experience.
Greater Demand for Human Voice
According to recent SLD consumer research, Retail Banking’s New Reality, while consumers want physically distanced and contactless interactions, they still want those interactions to be personal. Lacroix explains that telephone banking surged into greater popularity, while the online chat function saw little to no growth from March through May of 2020. According to Lacroix, it’s important that banks bolster their telephone capabilities to support greater demand for human voice as COVID-19 continues.
Researchers and banking executives are also seeing more anecdotal evidence that people want to communicate directly with associates, even if it’s virtually or socially distanced. That’s certainly the case for Regions. While they’ve seen an uptick in online and mobile usage, those channels still lack the personalization that clients were accustomed to, Griffin notes. “One of the key components we’ve used to navigate this transition has been to add more appointment setting capabilities, and it’s worked very well for us. The number of appointments made has gone through the roof. It’s also been very well received, and customer feedback is that they plan to bank this way going forward.”
Regions’ appointment volume skyrocketed post-COVID compared to pre-COVID levels:
- 72% increase in appointment volume
- 350% increase in new account appointments
Optimize Staffing Resources
Banking-by-appointment also makes it easy to keep employees feeling secure and helps branch managers match associate availability to customer needs whether that appointment is virtual or takes place in-branch.
“Appointments let you triage customer needs while managing the staff levels in the branch,” Griffin explained. “Associates can plan their day according to the appointments.” He added that the data and feedback associated with appointment scheduling also lets Regions be more deliberate in their approach with customers going forward.
Manage Traffic Flow in a Safe Efficient Manner
Brian Wilson, Vice President of Retail Delivery at Community Choice Credit Union, shared another example of how banking-by-appointment improved operations during their COVID response efforts. By shifting the ability to book meetings to the call center reps, members received the support they needed when unsure how to meet with associates at the credit union.
“Our members who need service beyond what is offered through the drive-thru or ATM are directed to setup an appointment. By calling the member in advance of their appointment, we are able to help many over the phone”, Brian explained. “If they really do need to come in, we have a jump-start on preparing for their arrival. We are also able to limit the number of members in our branches by spacing out the scheduling.”
Whether your bank is moving to an appointment-only model for customers who must still visit the branch, providing remote access to bankers via phone or video conferencing, or some combination of the two. The Essential Banking package has you covered. For more information, visit our banking by appointment page, or schedule a call with one of our scheduling experts.