Banks and financial institutions are increasingly banking on digital signage to reinvent the in-branch experience for customers.
Now that so many day-to-day bank tasks can be accomplished on the Web or on a phone, FIs are changing how and what they focus on in the brick-and-mortar branch — and digital signage is the key to the vault.
"Digital signage has become an important element in modern banking, allowing a more effective customer experience and communication," Lou Carulli, marketing manager for New York-based digital signage solution provider YCD Multimedia, recently told DigitalSignageToday.com.
"Financial institutions are connecting with their retail customers in methods that take more cues from coffee houses and sports clubs than the marble halls and gold-filigree teller windows of banks of old," Jennifer Davis, vice president, marketing and product strategy for digital signage display provider Planar Systems Inc., said in a recent email. "Today’s banks are comfortable spaces where consultants can walk customers through personal finance options and build community."
And now that so many banking tasks can be done remotely, digital signage can create the middle ground between the virtual and the physical, according to David Little, director of marketing for digital signage solution provider Keywest Technology.
"Digital signage serves to bridge the gap between all-digital banking and in-store banking," Little said in a recent email. "It has the power to foster and retain customer loyalty by making an emotional connection, intensifying the personal relationship with the customer and the bank."
According to Carulli, banks are becoming retail environments that are rediscovering the value of in-branch services for boosting sales and strengthening customer relationships. Digital signage, he said, can enhance the in-branch customer experience and serve as an effective communication tool to present targeted information to waiting customers and promote new products and services according to the interests of customers in different areas of the branch.
Also, the financial instruments and products provided by financial and lending institutions can offer intangible benefits that might be difficult for consumers to grasp looking at printed signs or posters, Little said. "Digital signage can target rich media showing the outcomes more convincingly at the point patrons are thinking about financial decisions, which can assist in triggering need recognition."
The banks and FIs of today are comfortable spaces where banking consultants can walk customers through personal finance options and build community, Davis said. "It has long been common for banks to put digital signage or video walls in their storefront windows to advertise their credit rates or checking programs to passersby. Today, we are seeing video being used to encourage engagement, to provide financial education on a personal level, and to deepen the conversation and relationship between the bank and its clients."
Digital signage also can help FIs strengthen their branding and help maintain customer loyalty, Carulli said. And it can reduce perceived wait times — and real customer annoyance — by entertaining customers with video clips or TV feeds, he said.
This, in turn, helps the bottom line, according to Little.
"Customers who are educated and entertained by digital signage are better informed, more receptive and more easily motivated to purchase," he said. "Most case studies about digital signage report that customers like digital screens, and this kind of affinity increases customer satisfaction.
Digital signage can also help the bottom line in less obvious ways, by reducing staffing needs and training costs, according to both Carulli and LIttle. Interactive screens can provide the information a customer is looking for without tying up bank personnel, or reduce the number of questions customers later ask tellers or associates.
"This can reduce teller service times and compensate for reduced staff without affecting the quality of customer service," Little said.
"In addition, digital signage drastically reduces printing costs of in-branch posters, data sheets and brochures," Carulli said. "It also can be used for off-hour employee training sessions via displays."
Training videos can be distributed and scheduled over the bank's digital signage network to keep employees current with banking policies, Little said, while "additional back-of-house messaging can reinforce training and procedures to help keep employees focused."
But in the end it comes back to customers and the bank's relationship with them, and digital signage does more than create new ways of serving the customer — it also helps create a new environment for them.
"We are seeing banks using video in new and exciting ways to create space," Davis said. "This more personal and dynamic approach is reflective of how people’s relationship to their money has changed and how they want service providers, like banks, to cater to their individual needs."
/ Christopher is the managing director of the Interactive Customer Experience Association and former editor of DigitalSignageToday.com. A longtime freelance writer and reporter, he's bringing a fresh perspective and critical take on the industry.