In “Branches Are Changing with the Times,” BAI taps Gina Bleedorn for her expertise in leading change for financial institutions shifting to next generation branch experiences
Thursday, April 6, 2023 – As banks and credit unions take up the mantle of change for their retail networks, post-COVID realities are top of mind for how banks and credit unions usher in new branch experiences. “For years, many financial institutions have been aiming to transition their branches from transaction-focused centers into advice centers – a move that’s taken on additional urgency in the wake of the pandemic shutdowns that forced even more customers to digital channels,” according to BAI’s new Executive Report on branch transformation.
But how do these new “advice center” models function in financial services? “More like a hotel lobby and less like a DMV,” says Gina Bleedorn, chief experience officer at Adrenaline, interviewed for BAI’s branch report. “The space encourages customers to be comfortable enough to have consultative conversations and elevates the customer experience in general.” These deeper discussions around life stages and financial needs are something that customers don’t typically get with the teller-based bank format.
While forward-thinking institutions are moving toward this North Star experience for their customers, branch network transformation must be done deliberately. “Every institution is somewhere along the spectrum of moving toward the advice center, but it has been going slower than anyone might have predicted,” Gina Bleedorn says. “The current state of most branches is still very rooted in traditional banking transactions.” That’s because new formats require new thinking in staff onboarding and training, or what she calls a “hunter versus farmer mentality.”
For advice centers to work, trained staff must be more “proactive than reactive” and have a deeper set of non-technical skills for matching up needs-states to the right customer-centric solutions. “However, most bank employees by nature are not necessarily skilled in these sorts of ‘soft’ skills because they haven’t had to be,” Gina Bleedorn says. “Those who are may already be working at a competitor, so a bank is going to have to pay them more to poach them.” Other industries may provide viable pools of talent. Here again, developing holistic training programs for the advice center model will be essential for success.
For more on how the branch is evolving, download the BAI Executive Report “Branches Are Changing with the Times” on the organization’s website. BAI is an independent nonprofit that provides research, training and thought leadership for the banking industry. Known for their actionable insights, the organization provides trusted information for financial services leaders dedicated to moving the industry forward.
To learn more about optimizing the branch channel for growth or to speak with one of Adrenaline’s retail network experts, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Be sure to stay tuned in to Believe in Banking as it spotlights industry information and insights for banking leaders and Adrenaline’s Insights channel featuring bank and credit union strategies for success.
Adrenaline is an end-to-end brand experience company serving the financial industry. We move brands and businesses ahead by delivering on every aspect of their experience across digital and physical channels, from strategy through implementation. We create brands people love and engage audiences with story-led design and insights-driven marketing; and we design and build transformative brand experiences across branch networks, leading the construction of physical spaces that drive business advantage and make the brand experience real.