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  • Aaron posted an update in the group Group logo of Experiential Customer Environments Experiential Customer Environments 5 years, 9 months ago

    You guys are always talking about these restaurants and how they have nice decorations or a fancy layout, but is that really what we need? I just went to the bank the other day and thought to myself that this is a simple, efficient way to get your banking needs done. Things are open and you can tell where you need to go once you walk into the bank. I even added a picture for you guys so you can see just how simple a bank can be and still serve its customers. It doesn’t need the fancy pods for opening accounts or touchscreen computers for you to read up about the products. All it needs is working products, competent people, and a quiet place to do banking.

    • Aaron, while I do respect your opinion on the aesthetic layout of the bank branch, I do not believe you are fully internalizing how important it is to create a unique banking location. The design of a bank is of great consequence because it helps to serve as one of the few differential attributes of banks. Besides price points, most banks are essentially the same in terms of product offerings and banking locations. Efficiency is key to any business; it is when you couple efficiency with grandeur that you create a desirable business. Banks have already established themselves as an efficient form of business, but in doing so they have inherited the title of sparse, apathetic, and monotone. Bank branches seem no different than ATMs in terms of their impersonal treatment of the customer and rather dull atmosphere. A bank with an interesting branch design may be more appealing to the customer. Foremost, it will pique interest and get first-time customers in the door. These are customers who have not experienced the bank, and their first impression will be the bank branch’s layout and style. A simple layout that is no different than their original bank will make winning the customer over more difficult. However, a more modern bank may seem like they have a forward-facing mindset. Additionally, the design of the bank plays into how the brand is perceived. The bank is one of the oldest institutions in existence, and the current design is a testimony to how little banks have changed over the years. Newer designs will differentiate banks from old ways of thinking, making them more unique, allowing them to adopt a new persona and attracting those who would like to try something new. While the aesthetics do not play a huge role in banking success, they do provide a glimpse of what banking with them may be like so the design should not be overlooked.

      • I haven’t seen a bank that’s been able to pull that off properly. Yeah, a nice looking bank is great, but when they look nicer it doesn’t always mean that the rest of the bank is still up to snuff. Why bother with the fancy curtains and chairs when your business model starts falling apart? If banks have been around for centuries then why should we need to change the way they look and feel? This is a business that has shown that it will be fine if we just keep it straight and simple. And I forgot to add the picture in the first place, but this is how an efficient bank looks, and that’s all we really need.
        http://www.retaildoc.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/02/IMG_0346.jpg

        • If you would allow me to refer you to a previous post in this group, I would recommend a posting by Alexey almost a year prior that shows how a bank can renovate, innovate, and improve upon an already stalwart business model. As one of the largest banks in all of Europe, Sberbank shows that even the largest bank in Russia has room for growth, namely technological and aesthetic growth. There are no strict guarantees that the changes always result in bumper customer growth, but it does improve the face of the bank.
          Additionally, if I may critique the image you posted, it shows the shortcomings of current banks. The customers cluster to one section of the bank, avoiding much of the publications and brochures that are available throughout the lobby. The rope dividers separate the customers from the bank tellers, in a way distancing the bank from its patrons and establishing a sense of impersonality, albeit for the benefit of security. Chairs are unused while the ATMs are right next to the door, promoting the idea that you can be in the bank one minute and gone just as quickly. Even the lighting makes the bank seem unappealing; the bright natural light shines within the doorway to a rather dim, drab branch. While I do understand your wariness surrounding banks that try to remodel their branches, I hope this shows that there are serious issues currently facing banks that can be improved.

    • There are no obvious reasons to make a bank more than the most efficiently designed location possible, but the intangible is what you are aiming for when creating the bank layout. The aim of a nice place is to give customers a reason to walk in and spend time there. Right now, banking is becoming less about the branch and more about how the bank can offer its services through other mediums. However, it is within the branch that people are exposed to all that the bank has to offer. People will see the security of the vault and consider safe deposit boxes; customers will talk to real employees and connect with the people trying to sell them products; friendly faces will be there for consultation and advice, making the bank a place of comfort and security. When you have people come inside your bank there are emotions and thoughts that you cannot replicate through a website or app. What people perceive about your bank is best molded by how you create your physical locations. Making these places better gives you the ability to actually bring the customer into your selling environment.

      • I’ll tell you the same thing that I’ve said before: what is the point if the banks who try this end up failing? Most banks who give this a shot end up making mistakes that cost them business. Many end up losing money on the improvements that don’t seem to bring in enough customers to make up for the costs. Bankers can’t tell if new decor will make people put more money in the bank. How would you even estimate or quantify that? Really now, it is hard to believe that there would magically be more customers because you changed the drapes.

        • Of course you cannot quantify the exact number of customers than an improved design will attract; you cannot simply measure something as intangible as customer interest. However, you can make an educated estimate as to the overall reach and impact it has upon current and potential customers. Based on comparable facilities such as a doctor’s office or general office space, an aesthetically pleasing environment will result in customers who are more satisfied with the business itself apart from the service received. Just as you would prefer to go to a well decorated, more modern office, customers will prefer to see a bank that is easy on the eyes. The balancing act is when banks must realize that they cannot sacrifice service or efficiency in the process. We are not saying that banks absolutely need to renovate and innovate; rather, we are saying that if they have the capacity to improve their image then they should so long as the bank maintains their current levels of efficiency.

          • As much as I would love to argue with you I feel like you just won’t get it. Banks are efficient because they don’t waste time and money on useless things. There’s a reason why banks are able to put so much focus on being efficient – they put the money towards it. Staff are better, operations are better, the products are better – why would you want to take money away from that? Don’t mess with the system, it works.

    • Now, Aaron, you should know that the bank can be a little boring. Who wants to just sit around and wait with quiet elevator music in the typical office chairs when the bank is busy? Wouldn’t most people want something that will get them in good spirits rather than putting them to sleep? Sure, banks have got their system down and we all can use it, but it doesn’t mean I like using my bank’s boring rope lines and scripted tellers. 🙁 Give me a little more life and excitement and maybe I wouldn’t be using ATMs all the time. Imagine having things to talk about in a bank, like exciting products or cool designs. I’d be there looking at all this stuff, spending more time there, maybe even talking to people and making those memories for later. All these good memories make me think of a bank more, and when the bank’s on the brain you know you’ll be considering what more you can get from your bank! 🙂

      • No one goes and talks about their banks. That is private matters that you keep to yourself for a reason: because no one wants or should know about what you do with your money. Are you going to strike up conversation about how your bank now has nicer desks or a glass counter? These sorts of things make no real difference beyond the 5 seconds when you first notice them. At the bank everyone is quiet because money is a private issue and you don’t talk about it. When people are at the bank they have one goal in mind – deal with their finances. They aren’t looking for a new friend or a date for later that night. That’s why banks need to maintain their current model.

    • What is so great about having a barebones bank? What do you like about it so much and hate about the fancier modern banks? I’m not too particular about my bank, so I don’t get why you care so much.

      • I don’t like how modern banks forget that they are still banks. They act like they’re museum galleries, having all sorts of fancy displays and designs when they can’t even keep their banking business up to date and in order. Some day they’ll figure it out, but until then I don’t think it’s a good idea to make your bank nice but not functional.

      • What Aaron is specifically targeting are the banks that fail to maintain their efficiency and standards post-renovation. He is correct – some banks attempt to innovate their business but fail miserably in maintaining their level of service – but there are those that are able to continue providing their customers with the level of service expected of their business while also improving the bank’s overall image. This is a valid opinion because businesses do tend to lose track of the importance of their ability to provide customer service and products. However, this is by no means a reason to condemn any business that tries to improve their aesthetic appeal. Rather, it should give guidance to businesses that they need to focus on improving, or at the very least maintaining, their core business as they look to make improvements overall.