Why Banks Can’t Ignore the Human Element

By Warren Losey, Industry VP, Financial/Professional Svcs, Xerox

The giants of the digital world have completely shattered traditional customer expectations across all industries. Your customers now expect the same real-time, digital, personalized experiences that they enjoy from the likes of Apple, Google and Amazon.

But as important as focusing on the “digital banker” has become, it is just as important that banks don’t neglect the other side: the physical banker. Why? Because 43 percent of people still visit their branch more than 10 times a year.1

Smart banks are recognizing that the branch experience can do more than complement the online experience, it can be a huge differentiator. This is where your customers are most deeply immersed in your brand. Right now, 40 percent of customers are at risk of switching to a competitor.2 As important as digital channels are, I believe the branch experience is a valuable way to retain business.

Importance of the Physical Branch

Despite digital being the preferred choice for many basic interactions like retrieving account info (73 percent of consumers jump on their desktop for this3), the branch is still preferable for higher value tasks. Think opening accounts, seeking financial advice and taking out mortgages.

It’s simple. Banks play a role in many major life events. People aren’t yet willing to just put their faith into a faceless, automated system. The number one reason people visit the branch is to receive personal service and interact with an associate.4 This isn’t the equivalent of people enjoying the physical qualities of a hard copy book vs. using a Kindle. This runs deeper. There’s a sense of trust felt when physically present—an intangible quality that digital just can’t replicate (not yet at least).

The key to differentiating your branches is using digital technologies to give in-branch customers the best of both worlds. This is even more important today, because while people still prefer the branch for many interactions, expectations for what constitutes a quality customer experience have been raised by digital channels.

In-Person Trust. Digital Convenience.

Faster. More convenient. More personal. Today’s customers demand these qualities no matter what channel is being used. Just as nobody wants to wait for a page to load for 30 seconds, 64 percent of banking customers say they are only willing to wait less than 10 minutes at their branch.1 That’s why it is important to ensure the in-branch experience is just as modernized as your online channels.

It starts by asking the right questions:

  • Which in-branch processes and workflows take longer than they should?
  • How much paper do your employees use when interfacing with customers?
  • Do your employees have customer data and profiles at their fingertips when someone walks into the branch?
  • What customer-facing areas could benefit from back-end automation?
  • How could you make the customer experience more personalized? More convenient?

Once you dive into these questions, you’ll quickly identify areas for improvement. For instance, many banks still have tedious, paper-based processes for new account opening. This can easily be streamlined and automated. Managing loan contracts is another area that is often ripe for improvement. Through digitization and automation you can turn a confusing archive of documents into an easy-to-use online database. Small changes make a big difference.

Remember, the branch experience has a major influence on your customers’ brand perceptions. And while the branch doesn’t get the attention that digital does, it hasn’t lost its value. If you can deliver the same fast, convenient, personalized service customers expect everywhere else, that fickle 40 percent of customers who are likely to leave won’t be going anywhere.

Warren Losey
703 207 2788


  1. “The State of Retail Banking: Consumer Survey 2016,” TimeTrade: 2016.
  2. “Channel Effectiveness for Financial Services,” Nielsen: 2016.
  3. Nielsen: 2016
  4. TimeTrade: 2016


About Xerox

Xerox is helping change the way the world works. By applying our expertise in imaging, business process, analytics, automation and user-centric insights, we engineer the flow of work to provide greater productivity, efficiency and personalization. Our employees create meaningful innovations and provide business process services, printing equipment, software and solutions that make a real difference for our clients and their customers in 180 countries.



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