Given the widespread embrace of online and mobile services, it may seem like in-person banking is a thing of the past. However, from same-day cashier’s checks to personalized help, physical branches offer services customers can’t find online, and research continues to show that customers still rely heavily on branches as part of their financial services experience.
For example, last summer, Accenture surveyed 49,000 consumers in 33 countries and found that—across geographies and age groups—two-thirds of respondents still liked having access to physical branches of their financial institutions. Consumers said these physical branches were a sign of the stability of their banks or credit unions, and they relied on them when they needed to handle rare but important interactions like opening new accounts, getting advice, and “solving specific but complicated problems.” (The survey report also notes that rising interest rates will only increase that latter need.)
In other words, physical branches are here to stay. However, there is a significant need for those outposts to evolve in the digital age, as consumer expectations are steeper than ever. Accenture also found that only 30 percent of consumers were completely satisfied with their bank’s customer service and that branches and other “in-person banking concepts” offer a powerful opportunity to enhance customer loyalty and connections.
So, how to take advantage of that opportunity? I
The In-Branch Customer Experience
The way we see it, if financial institutions want people to keep taking advantage of their brick-and-mortar outposts and all they have to offer, they need to consider the in-branch experience. A big piece of that in-person experience puzzle is in-store marketing. After all, a strong multichannel marketing campaign doesn’t end at the front door; rather, it pulls the messages and visual branding consumers have seen online and in their mailboxes all the way into the branch.
Here are three ways financial institutions can use print marketing to enhance customers and members in-branch experience.
1. Welcome Them In
Start with the basics. Signage, displays and literature welcome people into the branch and guide them to the products and services they need. These could include overhead directional signage telling them exactly where to go within the branch, or highly visible instructions for using ATMs. It could also include a display with brochures, postcards, and signage detailing current interest rates, seasonal promotions, and new services.
Those visiting your location need to feel confident in how their chosen financial institution is going to manage their money, and a positive in-branch experience goes a long way in building that confidence. Uncertainty about how to get the help they need isn’t a great start, particularly when consumers are generally unimpressed with the customer service their financial institutions have to offer. But when someone can walk through the door and, with the help of in-store marketing materials, easily see and learn exactly what to do and where to go, they’ll feel confident that they—and their hard-earned money—are in good hands.
2. Keep It Paperless
Today’s consumers—particularly those 55 and under—are embracing paperless banking in droves, with only 33 percent of millennials preferring to receive paper bills by mail. And these preferences extend into in-branch banking, where paper forms and records can be deemed less efficient (and possibly less safe). To enhance the customer experience and meet the demands for sustainable business operations, savvy financial institutions are minimizing paper forms wherever possible.
For many, this has led to a renewed embrace of the QR code as banks and credit unions are upgrading signage with links to everything from their service offerings to online loan applications, appending codes to brochures that will take new users directly to sign-up pages, and allowing customers to access and fill out forms on their own personal devices instead of on paper.
The key is to have both digital and paper assets and forms available to meet the specific 1:1 needs of the consumer – a strong brand recognizes the need to adapt to individual preferences and by ensuring that multiple options are available, it allows the consumer to use the method that makes them the most comfortable, creating strong brand affinity.
QR codes are a powerful addition to a financial services marketing strategy, blending print and digital to enhance safety, minimize paper waste, and provide a more streamlined in-branch customer experience.
3. Take It Outside
Finally, with many financial institutions taking advantage of drive-through lanes and lobby ATMs and ITMs, be sure to extend your marketing and branding reach into these ancillary areas. Make both the drive-through and the lobby “brand beacons” rather than simply utilitarian spaces by adding signage in both areas, posting scannable QR code stickers to your drive-through stations, and setting up eye-catching product menus that will entice customers who stopped by for a simple ATM withdrawal to stop in (or scan the QR code) to learn more about your other offerings.
For inspiration, look around you next time you drive through somewhere like Starbucks, where the drive-through is an extension of the in-store experience, offering product recommendations and more to loyal customers or members.
With consumers still relying heavily on brick-and-mortar branches for their banking needs, effective financial services marketing leverages in-store displays — from floor stickers to QR codes and beyond — to extend their multichannel marketing efforts into their branches and create powerful customer experiences.
OneTouchPoint can help by creating a powerful in-branch customer experience through marketing that increases brand awareness and revenue. We invite you to learn more about these capabilities and the other ways OneTouchPoint helps financial services institutions power brand engagement. Then, when you’re ready, request a quote on your next project. Our experts will provide insight and ideas to deliver phenomenal results at a great price.