Bank Customers Still Value Human Touch - The MSR Group

Online and mobile banking are essential elements in 21st-century financial services, but there’s more to banking than digital transactions.

Branch banking definitely is not dead – long live the branch!  We understand the cost to serve customers is much higher in bank branches than it is in digital channels.  We also understand that traditional transactions are down significantly in branches.  However, our research shows banks need to consider more than the cost to serve and transaction volumes when rationalizing their branch networks.  Our research shows that banks that continue to invest in their branches lead their peers when it comes to customer satisfaction, loyalty, and advocacy. Customers want to know they have a convenient option for meeting with someone face-to-face.  Even among millennials, convenient locations of branches is more important than a strong digital presence when choosing a bank for a checking account.

Why do consumers continue to value the branch?  It all comes down to money.  Regardless of age, generation, or digital savviness, money is an emotionally charged issue.  When they have an issue with or question about their money, consumers would rather see and talk to a human rather than trying to get answers digitally or over the phone.  The branch continues to be the first line of defense when customers have problems or questions about their money.  This type of visit usually is not captured in transaction accounts yet it is the kind of interaction that can make or break a relationship between a bank and a customer.

Banks need to listen to customers – not just accountants – as they rationalize the size, number, and format of their branches.  Taking away branches from customers or pushing them away from human interactions sends a message that customers don’t want to hear.

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