As the role of the branch for banks and credit unions faces a reinvention, forward-thinking enterprises are investing in customer flow management solutions to perfectly choreograph customer experiences and branch floor operations. Early results show that this is having a positive impact on top line revenue growth, bottom line profitability, and overall customer satisfaction. In this blog, we take a deep dive into the concept of customer flow management and five key use cases these forward-thinking businesses are implementing to be successful.
What is customer flow management?
For generations banks and credit unions have evaluated ways to optimize physical layouts, engagement points, and services to deliver remarkable customer experiences. With the trend toward mobile banking and fewer branch visits, banks and credit unions are now focused on making every branch visit an experience to remember.
With the help of advanced technology, banks can now use software which optimizes the flow of customers within the branch. This technology effectively reduces lines or even eliminates lines altogether, freeing up physical locations to be better optimized and enabling staff to focus on delivering world-class customer service.
What technology empowers effective customer flow management?
A key technology to support this initiative is lobby and queue management software which prompts customers to take action when they enter your location, and gives staff an interface to manage the flow of customers throughout the branch.
Let's look at some of the key use cases:
A customer attending a pre-booked mortgage appointment is presented with a self-serve kiosk or tablet with a welcome check-in screen upon entry into the branch. The customer enters the required information, checks themselves in, and is directed to wait in the waiting area. An automated notification is sent to the staff member with whom the appointment is booked informing them that the customer has arrived and is in the waiting area.
This example shows how banks and credit unions are creating experiences that enable a customer to self-serve while effectively managing the flow of that customer and their expectations. This reduces the administrative burden on branch staff, freeing up skilled staff members to carry out more profitable activities.
Estimated wait time
Customers want greater visibility into how long they will have to wait in branch for a particular service. One piece of technology that is a fantastic enabler for this is queuing. Effective queue management software allows customers to view real-time wait times and join the appropriate queue.
For example, a customer walks into a branch on their lunch hour to open a savings account. The customer is greeted at the door by a member of staff who informs the customer that the estimated wait time for that service is 30 minutes. The customer decides to wait, so the staff member enters the customer’s name and phone number, and the customer is added to the queue.
The customer is kept up to date with their queue position via notifications, so they’re able to wait in branch or go do another activity, like grab a drink from Starbucks! Once the customer reaches the front of the queue, they receive an SMS notification informing them of the status.
In branch digital signage can also display the wait times for each queue, and customers’ current positions and average wait times. This keeps the customer updated should they choose to wait in branch.
This example shows how banks and credit unions can retain footfall and increase conversion rates by keeping customers informed. This is proven to offer a seamless and hassle-free waiting experience that your customers will enjoy.
In order to manage customer flow efficiently, banks and credit unions are turning to queue management software which is fully integrated with their appointment booking software.
The concierge interface on a tablet or smartphone helps staff to manage multiple queues in-branch effectively, and also take into account any pre-booked appointments and time blocked off on staff calendars. The technology provides a complete, real-time view of the branch queue on a tablet device, with insights into staff availability, service engagements, wait times, and more, allowing branch managers and HQ to make operational improvements quickly and efficiently.
This approach is proven to increase staff efficiency, providing them with the ability to serve more customers. It also leads to a more organized branch with access to performance data to drive further improvements.
In certain situations, the customer just won’t wait. This is lost opportunity and leads to high abandonment rates which, in turn, leads to customer dissatisfaction and potential churn.
Banks and credit unions leverage appointment booking to mitigate this risk. By prompting customers to book an appointment at an available time and date of their choosing, these enterprises are seeing improved abandonment rates and increased engagement with their entire customer base.
In addition to this benefit, appointment booking on its own is proven to increase customer engagement and conversions. Newer technologies also fully integrate appointment booking and virtual queuing, providing the online customer with a richer experience whereby they can see the average wait time in branch online and make the choice whether to join the queue remotely or book an appointment in the near future.
The final element is a robust and interactive insights application providing staff with real-time monitoring of the branch performance against operational metrics.
This delivers a host of benefits including better insight into the average handling time per customer, the average wait time per service, the overall branch performance for demand versus availability. The end result is more informed decisions.