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Thought Leadership

Strangled by the Velvet Rope

I love my small, Pennsylvania town. This charming, picturesque area has everything a young family could need including a Walmart, a hardware store and several choices of grocery stores and banks. When we first moved to the area, we needed a local bank branch to handle transactions that my out of state bank could not. We opened an account with a traditional, medium-sized bank which seemed to have a nice network of branch choices throughout the region. I do much of my banking on-line and via my primary bank’s mobile app but still occasionally needed to cash a check, deposit cash or talk to a local financial specialist.

During lunch one day, I was very excited to go to this local bank to withdraw the money I have been saving for a boat. I had been looking for some time while enjoying camping, fishing and exploring all Pennsylvania had to offer us. I made good money with a solid employer, had investments and dreams and would have been a valued customer to any bank had they simply asked…

Ask I walked across the tiled floor of this typical, traditional bank branch, I could hear the soles on my dress shoes clicking and echoing in the small branch. As I made my way to teller line, I looked into the office on my right and noticed the manager glance at me but had quickly dropped his head back into his computer, avoiding any type of engagement or acknowledgement. My eyes turned forward again to the teller with her head down as well and I entered the velvet rope labyrinth again noticing the echoes of my heels bouncing off the walls of the empty lobby. There I stood at the end of the red velvet rope, in front of the “iron curtain” teller line, waiting for the teller to raise her head and to allow me to “approach the bench” as if being sentenced by a judge.

Eventually, the teller completed her task, motioned me over, gave me my money and I was on my way without incident. What the branch didn’t know was that I was a Branch Transformation Specialist and they had given me my first case study in missing multiple opportunities. In fact, the whole business operations model was so outdated, there was no attempt to get to know me or to compete for my business whatsoever.

This missed opportunity is at the heart of the “Branch Transformation” Concept. Customer engagement should be the ultimate goal while assessing changes in the business operations model, creating efficiencies, driving to technology and self-service. Without customer engagement improvements, not much else matters. Even if the branch efficiency rating is the highest it can be, you cannot grow with out customer engagement.