Consumers’ expectations of physical points of sales are changing, and the banking sector is no exception: clients are demanding more and more services, and increasingly shunning brick & mortar stores. One way to bring them back in is by offering a more seamless, personalised experience. But how do you do this? Here are three essential tips for running this type of project.
Banking group Crédit Agricole’s Ile-de-France network asked Econocom to address a major challenge: turn its 277 branches into ACTIVE branches, a new concept of connected bank with a totally new customer experience, featuring digital solutions to match new uses. These include information kiosks to guide customers and make their waiting time more pleasant, workstations that allow customer advisors to share their monitor with customers and ensure easier communication, and tablets to reduce paper consumption, with electronic signatures. In June 2017 this major project won a bronze Popaï Award in the connected retail category. So what lessons can be learned from this digitalisation project? We found out more from Clémence Gourbat, Digital Retail Pre-Sales Engineer for Econocom.
THINK “DIGITAL FIRST”
Don’t fall into the trap of thinking about refurbishing and redesigning the point of sale first, without taking into account the digital aspect. The two elements are inseparable, says Clémence Gourbat:
“The worst situation is when a client comes to us and says they’ve opened an amazing shop and they want to make it digital. It doesn’t work like that: you can’t just add a screen at the last minute to a brand-new retail outlet that hasn’t been designed for digital.”
In other words, digitalisation isn’t something to be taken lightly and you shouldn’t deploy technology just because it looks good. The other essential question is to think carefully about the purpose of the functionalities and content deployed. For example, a monitor in the branch window can be used to display regular content, whilst self-service tablets enable customers to use mortgage calculators or find out more about the bank’s services.
“Crédit Agricole Ile-de-France started with a blank canvas,” says Clémence Gourbat. “We worked with the firm of architects they chose, and the idea was really to avoid just tacking on tools to the existing infrastructure but building up a seamless, consistent experience from A to Z.”
THINK CLIENT- AND USER-CENTRIC
The project should be totally built around users’ needs. In order to complete an effective, successful project, you should constantly be asking yourself: what’s that for?
“You should focus on uses,” says Gourbat. “With Crédit Agricole Ile-de-France, we had a major challenge, which was to facilitate interaction and communication between customers and advisors. So we set up a series of meetings to think about the customer experience: when do you welcome customers? How do you get them to wait? When, where and how are you going to communicate? And after they leave the premises, how do you continue the relationship? That’s how we identified the right tools to deploy. For example, to address the first need we’d identified, so they don’t get lost when they walk into the bank, we provided touch screens so the customer can type in their name and we’ll send them a message saying we’ve let their advisor know they’ve arrived and in the meantime they can wait in the central area of the bank.”
GET THE RIGHT HELP AND SUPPORT
If you’re assisted by an expert that can run the project from start to finish, you’ll save time:
“The advantage of having a single point of contact who can help you from the initial scoping phase right through to deployment, including maintenance, is that they handle everything: you don’t have to worry about a thing,” says Gourbat. “If there’s any problem, whether it’s to do with applications or hardware, you know who to go to. It’s also important to ensure consistency of the overall project: if you’re working with a digital agency to create the content, another provider for the hardware and yet another for maintenance, when do these three companies communicate with each other? With a single point of contact, communication is easier, it’s more reassuring and you save time!”
“Whether it’s a customer at a point of sale, an employee in the corporate world, a patient in the healthcare sector, or a student in education – we always focus on the end-user experience,” concludes Clémence Gourbat. This comprehensive expertise can address the new challenges of digital transformation and create a bespoke experience, using well thought-out, optimised digital tools.
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