Retail Banks Cash In by Updating Branch Technology

Despite all predictions to the contrary, the advent of the Internet did not sound the death knell for retail branch banking. On the contrary, recognizing that customers continue to value and use the branch channel, retail banks are working to transform branches from transactional centers into customer-centric sales and service centers. And, these sales and service centers must be closely coordinated with other important channels, such as the call center and the Internet. Aging infrastructure In the interest of long-term strategic planning, banks are working to not only replace outdated workstations, but also to implement complete banking solutions that leverage CRM, BI, and financial transaction tools to improve employee productivity, reduce operational costs, and support business processes that strengthen customer relationships. Today's complete banking solutions help bank personnel elevate customer service levels while increasing revenues by making targeted offers of additional products and services. For example, BI capabilities couple information regarding the lifetime value of the customer and customer profitability with historical information regarding the buying habits of other customers with similar profiles. When a customer visits a branch, the system uses this information to prompt the teller to offer a product the customer is likely to purchase. Then, when the customer accepts or rejects the offer, the system automatically assigns follow-up actions to bank personnel if appropriate. And, with new information regarding the customer's preferences, the bank further fine-tunes the messages with which the customer is targeted. Also, business intelligence tools can help banks evaluate a customer's propensity to churn by comparing that customer's profile with those of individuals who have churned in the past. This insight allows banks to proactively approach valued customers in danger of moving to a competitor and provide differentiated service that increases customer satisfaction and loyalty. A truly multichannel solution
A complete banking solution helps coordinate customer service across all channels. Who has not experienced a frustrating experience like trying to get information on missing checks ordered via phone only to find that the branch teller has no access to any of the call center's records? And what customer wouldn't like to be able to inquire about a product or service via the Internet, continue that inquiry, and begin the purchase when visiting the branch the next day, and close the transaction later on by phoning the call center and providing a few last bits of information? By providing all bank employees access to current customer information, inquiries pertaining to customer interactions through any channel can be answered efficiently and accurately, increasing customer satisfaction. Vive le branch Recent experience has shown that customers will continue to visit bank branches, as well as use bank call centers, Web sites, and ATMs. Given this demand, forward-thinking retail financial institutions need to refresh their outdated technology to ensure they can increase bank revenue while supporting customer demand for personalized, seamless service through multiple channels. About the Author Richard Campione is group vice president and general manager, Siebel Financial Services and Public Sector at Siebel Systems--a leading provider of business applications software. To contact him, please email Shelley Knowlton at
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