Navigating the Branch During a Pandemic

Navigating the Branch During a Pandemic

Six months ago, “branch transformation” and “the branch of the future” were phrases commonly exchanged within keynote speeches and tradeshow floors. Today, these phrases have taken on an entirely new meaning across the financial services industry. With strategic roadmaps and operations temporarily derailed by the COVID-19 pandemic, and resulting surges in online and digital transactions, banks and credit unions are experiencing a reality-check illuminating post-COVID life and consumer behavior. 

Although it’s anyone’s guess what tomorrow holds, a June 2020 survey by Hero Digital shows those who banked in-person before the pandemic plan to incorporate more digital tools in their banking future. In fact, 80% have already changed their banking style to include a mix of online and remote channels. 

The question is, what will tomorrow’s branch look like? Will we ever walk into a branch and casually bank again? As essential businesses today, banks and credit unions must incorporate wellness measures to safeguard in-branch operations, such as required appointment setting to maintain social distancing. While mobile and digital banking take the spotlight for simple, day-to-day activity, it’s unlikely to replace in-person banking in the future – especially for complex transactions or financial advice. 

For the time being, adopting a blended approach with both full- and self-service capabilities is key. Expanding the digital channel with complementary virtual tools capabilities like chatbots, video conferencing, and a secure two-way information exchange, maintains optimal customer and member engagement. 

High tech, high touch remains important – regardless of where you bank

According to a recent survey from PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), about 71% of respondents were reportedly satisfied with their primary bank’s efforts to alleviate burdens stemming from COVID-19. Yet, a significant portion of the market remains unsatisfied, with approximately 17% of respondents finding better pandemic-related support with their non-primary financial institution. 

Now more than ever, personalization, linked directly to digital capabilities, is a significant differentiator for banks and credit unions. Customer segmentation data can be leveraged to determine the stability of accounts and money management behaviors throughout the crisis. Proactive, meaningful assessments help FIs render additional support and outreach where it’s needed, promoting complementary services to address specific needs, further driving customer and member loyalty. 

While in-person branch visits remain low today, demand still exists. Interactive kiosks and roaming tellers can assume tasks currently performed by traditional tellers and employees, helping with social distancing measures. 

Above all else, financial institutions must remain fluid, as no foolproof method exists for weathering a global pandemic. Each day brings new updates and developments to an ever-changing situation. During these trying times, it’s imperative for account holders to feel connected with anytime, anywhere accessibility, and for their institutions to stay flexible with fluctuating comfort levels and unsteady social conditions.

Alogent bridges the gap

Exceeding customer and member demands is synonymous with the pace of innovation. Scalable solutions that offer 24/7 secure accessibility, combined with an omni-channel approach, fortifies interactions across all touch-points, granting short- and long-term institutional sustainability.  

Our veteran team of technology leaders addresses each FIs’ individual needs with a consultative approach. We ensure seamless deployments of full- and self-service solutions to meet today’s unique needs and scale for whatever tomorrow may hold.