We sometimes get asked why people still come into the branch when they can do their banking online.
While we are big fans of providing convenience to our customers through technology we are less than dazzled by some of the more gimmicky developments and remain strongly committed to providing in branch service. Here's some of the reasons why.
We like people, particularly our people. We work with them and have a laugh, helping each other through our days.
Face to face is better, it's a more enriching experience than through a screen. For many of us, COVID-19 has shown us the wonders of technology in keeping in touch with loved ones through the magic of video calls, social media and the like. It's not the same as being there though is it? From a scientific point of view there are more sensory cues involved, such as looking someone in the eye, watching body language, listening to tone of voice, and shaking hands.
It's often easier to help in the branch. We are able to talk naturally and get a better understanding of each other. From our perspective we get a better idea of who you are, what your needs and values are and how we can best serve you. This is aligned with our values - we are not here to sell to you, we are here to provide service to you.
It is important to have a trusting relationship with your bank. It is easier to develop a bond and relationship in-person leading to feelings of connection, familiarity, and ultimately trust than it is through technology. For a start, you can see the person in front of you and know who and where they really are - ever wondered where that email or text is coming from?
Then there's the complexity - no matter what your level of expertise in using technology, there ofter comes a point when you feel like you need a bit of help. For many people, while they use digital channels for everyday banking tasks, they still visit the branch for complex advice. Face to face meetings are the most natural ways to educate and help a customer.
We love seeing our customers, not so that we can talk banking to them or sell them something but because we enjoy making that personal connection. To us, the idea of keeping people out of the branch and directing them to machines to do their transactions is very strange. Maybe that's why some of our customers say they feel like they joined a family, not a bank.