Study indicates retail banks need to do a better job informing and educating customers
Banks need to improve their in-branch ‘ambiance’ if they are to attract customers in off the High Street, according to a recent study by Mood Media Corporation.
In a nutshell, the study of the financial services industry – carried out in association with YouGov – found only 9% of bank customers like the ‘ambiance’ of their local bank, disliked long queues and didn’t feel it educated them enough on the services and products it offers, which is why 63% prefer to do their banking online rather than in branches.
For banks, the risk behind the migration to online banking is that sales of financial services – everything from savings and loans products to brokerage and insurance services – will fall as customers lose contact with retail banking staff.
In turn, Mood Media pointed out how in-store visuals such as LCD screens can increase product sales, raise general awareness of additional products and services, and reduce perceptions of queue time if they are used in an informative and entertaining way. Not only that, but music and some smart sound engineering in branches can increase the sense of privacy, which is important to establish when customers are sharing personal financial matters with bank staff.
In an article entitled ‘Scents and TV coming to a bank near you,’ banking correspondent for ThisisMoney.co.uk Dan Hyde commented that “a fresh feel could revitalise face-to-face banking, which is dying a slow and protracted death in the UK now that 22m Britons use internet banking.’
The story was also picked up by the popular Financial Services Technology magazine and Business Bank Accounts website, stalwart retail and digital signage websites such as Daily Dooh and Digital Signage Expo, and was spotted in the e-mail newsletter Van Etten’s clippings.
Recognition is gaining that financial services needs a more welcoming, enlivened, and modern approach to retail, especially given its failings and setbacks in the recent past. Whether it is engaging visuals and audio for building societies with a large family-based clientele, classical music for the distinguished interior of private banks or cutting edge, holograms, QR codes and touchscreens aimed at a technologically savvy, young demographic, the opportunities are endless.
Let’s see who will follow in the footsteps of our client ING bank in the Netherlands and be the first to take a pioneering step in the right direction in the UK.
It appears banking customers are in the mood for a change.