We seem to be living at a time when things generally are increasing in complexity. From understanding and choosing health insurance to operating your smart phone or tablet, things are just more complicated than they used to be. For instance, how many passwords do you need to keep track of today versus 20 years ago? This is not to discount the wonderful array of options that technology provides us. It is only to say that options add complexity to our lives and compete for our time along with all the other things we need to balance.
Banking is no exception. It is way too complicated. This was the theme developed by Jeffry Pilcher, CEO/President of The Financial Brand at their 2015 forum who stated, “There are a million other things people would rather think about than banking. It is boring, it‘s tedious. It’s complex. That’s why financial institutions need to build an innovation strategy completely around making banking easy and saving people time.”
The Financial Brand article also cited work done by Siegel+Gale, a prominent branding firm with the tag line, “Simple is Smart.” In the firms’ 2015 Global Brand Simplicity Index Study, the top-rated bank ranked 80th behind many prominent retailers, restaurants, hotel brands, and travel firms along with many manufacturers in automotive, electronics, and appliances. A number of travel and service firms including the U.S. Post Office also beat out the top bank brands in the category of simplicity.ii
The companies developing banking technologies are not always helpful in creating simple solutions either, according to one expert. “For omnichannel [banking] experiences to pay off for customers, the design principles of ease-of-use, efficiency and emotion must come to the forefront.” said Rajeev Sawhney, President of Strategic Business at Mphasis. He goes on to state, “There is an innate desire of the technologists to add feature functionality and thereby lose the simplicity that is so essential for everyday users. I am not saying that feature functionality is not essential; all I am saying is that ease-of-use and simplicity should be at the core of the [user] interface design.”iii
Customers Want Simplicity
According to a recent article in American Banker, simplicity is an integral part of delivering a great overall customer experience in stating, “Great customer experience means that customers accomplish all of their needs with minimal effort, with trust, and a high degree of delight.”iv
Sometimes simplicity just means reduced hassle in completing a transaction or fewer required steps. Other times simplicity from the customer’s perspective means just having access to a person with the right ‘know how’ to address more complex financial issues, making it both easier and simpler for the customer.
Such is the case with many bank customers who are generally ‘tech savvy’ and are also primary adopters of self-directed banking tools. According to FMSI’s Whitepaper, Top Five Practices Holding Your Branch Back, “A significant portion of consumers, including millennials, are not completely satisfied interacting only with their mobile device or computer when seeking more complex financial advice – leading them to the branch to seek out council (sic) face-to-face.”v In short, they want someone to make the complex simpler!
How can GGS Help Simplify Banking in the Branch?
Simplification of bank products and branch processes is a broad initiative requiring a wide range of resources and top-down commitment. However, there are some basic things that can be done in the here and now to simplify things for customers and staff within the branch setting.
TCR (Teller Cash Recycler) technology makes completing cash transactions easier and less stressful for bank staff, while also enabling greater customer focus and transaction efficiency. The result is a faster transaction for the customer, more time to converse with the customer about other potential needs, and less stress overall on the staff.
GGS has recently taken branch cash recycling to its simplest form with the introduction of the Vertera ETD (Electronic Teller Drawer). This cash recycling solution provides the majority of benefits around efficiency and an improved customer experience while also minimizing disruption and complexity for the branch. Our tag line for this product is “A Keep It Simple Solution.”
We also know that financial institutions are trying to reduce the cost to serve by driving customers to self-service devices, even when those customers made a trip to the branch. While the technology surely exists to conduct most of the transactions traditionally completed by a teller through these devices, GGS maintains that onsite, face-to-face assistance must be available when DESIRED or REQUIRED. This allows your financial institution to simplify things for the customer when there is confusion in completing a transaction or in cases where the customer is seeking advice, trying to solve a problem, or requires information about more complex financial products.
We also think self-service devices should be designed from the ground-up to simplify things for customers. For starters a simple, clear-cut, and intuitive user interface is mandatory. Graphics, prompting, shutters, and indicator lights all must work together to eliminate confusion and guess work for users, once again, keeping things simple.
The Value of Simplicity
The question now becomes, “Is it worth it?” Going back to the Siegel+Gale 2015 study, up to 29% of people are willing to pay more for simpler experiences and interactions. The premium they are willing to pay varies by industry, but in retail banking the 2015 number is up to 3% more!vi There is also another payoff. The research also shows that globally 75% of consumers are more likely to recommend a brand because it provides simpler experiences and communications.vii
According to McKinsey in their report entitled Radically Simplifying the Retail Bank, “Simpler banks have the potential to be more operationally efficient, due to a cost base that can be 30 to 50 percent lower than that of most banks. McKinsey experience shows that efficiency ratio improvements of 15 to 30 percent are also attainable. Simpler banks drive top-line growth by improving the customer experience, minimizing customer loss, going to market with new products faster, and deriving deep customer insights through data and analytics.”viii
It is evident that Glory is not alone in its view that simplicity in banking delivers clear and measurable value.
Simplicity also has value to branch staff. In the case of branch cash automation, the pressures associated with the counting and recounting of cash are removed along with the added stress of day-end balancing. Staff is able to execute critical bank initiatives such as cross-selling, relationship-building, and simplifying things for clients.
There is a great deal of talk today about Branch Transformation. What customers want is Banking Simplification, and it can be accomplished across all delivery channels and in a wide range of ways, including in the branch!
To learn more about GGS’ technologies that make banking in your branches simpler for your customers as well as your staff, please contact your Glory Account Manager.
Robert Allexon is an Independent Business Analyst and Consultant. His career spans five decades in technology-based durable goods sales and marketing and he is an expert in cash automation.
i The Simplicity Revolution in Banking, The Financial Brand, May 11, 2015, P 1.
ii Global Brand Simplicity Index 2015, Siegel+ Gale, P 35.
iii Three Design Principles for Omnichannel Experience, BAI Banking Strategies, Rajeev Sawhney, December 2, 2015.hree Design Principles for Omnichannel Experience, BAI Banking Strategies, Rajeev Sawhney, December 2, 2015.
iv How a Great Customer Experience is Really Delivered, V. Liu and R. Schiff, American Banker, June 25, 2015
v Top Five Practices Holding Your Branch Back, FMSI Whitepaper, July 2015, P 1.
vi The Simplicity Premium, Siegel+Gale website: Home|The Simplicity Index|United States|Value of Simplicity
vii Simplicity by the Numbers, Siegel+Gale website: Home|Why Simplicity|Index Highlights
viii Retail Banking Insights, Number 8: Radically Simplifying the Retail Bank, McKinsey & Company, September 2016, P 3.