Another interesting McKinsey Quarterly today on Bank branches that meet customer needs. Part of it's summary is that "banks should put utility before appearances, favor lower-budget tactical adjustments, and use branch formats to manage customer visits actively". This last point caught my attention - "manage customer visits actively". Hmmm sounds like a job for Enterprise Decision Management (EDM). If you think about the things you can do better in a branch than anywhere - improve cross sell, build loyalty, deepen customer relationships - you can quickly see that decisions are at the core of these things. Which product to cross-sell, what kind of loyalty award will make you do more or stay a customer longer, what's the best next action for a customer to built their value and so on. While the branch context means having a person deliver these decisions, automating and managing these decisions so as to constantly improve them is still called for. Using automation, instead of just trying to train staff more, also allows the same (better) decisions to be delivered using in-branch interactive devices and through self-service channels such as ATMs and the web. Not only that, it also means that you start to capture your experience with customers in an information system not in the heads of employees.
Besides the basics of automating these decisions, you could consider dynamic marketing messaging inside and outside the branch - regarding each display of a new message or promotion at a specific location as a decision. These decisions can then be based on local demographics (what kind of neighborhood is the branch in), branch type (based on analytic segmentation of the people who use a specific branch - this is analogous to Best Buy's redesign of stores based on customer patterns), time of day and so on. Thus a branch might promote one offer during the morning commute, another between then and lunch time and a third when workers are getting lunch. Automation allows ATMs to make, say, cross-sell offers too but the cross-sell offers at an ATM that is part of a branch should be different when the branch is open as it may be more effective to drive customers into the branch than to offer to have someone call or send email after the fact. More sophisticated analytics would also add value. Again using a retail analogy, take the kinds of tools retailers are using to spot purchase patterns over time and apply them to the purpose of visits by a customer over time to see if there are patterns that can be identified and used.
All of this is part of why I think EDM is so important to banks as they move into the future. I have blogged before about Why Banks need to focus on "Growth Decisions", how to build the bank of the future and about a banking story.
BTW I find a lot of the McKinsey Quarterly pieces interesting and subscribing to it might well be worth your while.
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