A Florida credit union has deployed digital signage and interactive kiosks at its newly redesigned location in downtown Tampa in order to change the branch experience for its members.
GTE Financial partnered with Louisville, Ky.-based marketing solution provider Codigo and Norcross, Ga.-based LED display manufacturer NanoLumens to create an immersive and interactive environment for the credit union's "reinvented" branch.
The tech upgrades for the branch include iPad kiosks, large-format digital signage display kiosks, a nine-screen digital signage video wall, ribbon displays and a NanoLumens NanoCurve cylindrical LED display.
The NanoCurve acts as the branch centerpiece above the member services area, displaying bank messaging and welcoming guests on a display that measures approximately 2 feet by 10 feet, offering a total of 64 feet of display space that can be viewed from virtually any location within the branch.
The video wall with displays from Beaverton, Ore.-based Planar Systems Inc. not only provides branding elements but also can be used for after-hours presentations to staff or local community groups.
"The new space layout is designed to be more open, eliminate teller lines, and offer visitors an engaging and interactive retail-like experience," Mandy Zurbrick, VP of marketing for GTE Financial, said in an announcement from Codigo and NanoLumens. "When you walk in our new branch, we want you to feel welcome and have convenience at your fingertips via both member service representatives and technology. We are striving to deliver an exceptional experience."
The new technology offers a completely different expeirence, according to Nathan Remmes, director of business development for NanoLumens.
"The NanoCurve display adds an engaging 'wow' factor for branch visitors and passersby while conforming to the architectural demands of a circular centerpiece," he said in the announcment. "With the 360-degree display, everyone in the downtown Tampa location can enjoy the display and its content from anywhere in the branch."
Codigo's digital signage software gives GTE Financial remote control of its in-branch advertising, and messaging displayed on the digital screens, video wall and ribbon display. Additionally, Codigo's iPad and large-format kiosk solutions give branch visitors the ability to explore product and service information at their leisure, letting the credit union's staff focus their attention on members who require more personal attention.
"The financial industry is in the midst of an exciting transition," Codigo president and CEO Brian Nutt said in the announcement. "We're seeing more institutions move away from the traditional, transaction-based mindset to a more progressive sales and service approach ... [GTE has] integrated the perfect mix of technology and people to create a highly interactive yet personal banking experience."
Financial institutions are moving away from an old business model based on revenue per branch, Nutt said in an interview with Digital Signage Today. The older and larger bank branches of the past have effectively become little more than "very expensive billboards," as branch traffic has declined for most financial institutions.
"They're transitioning away from this transactional-oriented approach to a retail approach, and they want it to be cool and they want it to be comfortable for the people who come in to do business," Nutt said.
In the banking space, the convenience of interacting with an institution's financial products has never been greater, since most services can be accomplished online or via mobile devices, he said. But there are some services and interactions that can be provided only in the branch.
"Nobody is particularly excited to go to the branch, but when you get there you want the same convenience that's in your hand or online — you've got to have all the information there," Nutt said.
So now FIs are put in the position of trying to create profitable locations with lighter foot traffic and smaller footprints — that also provide information and services to customers or members "that is very accessible and convenient and that delivers at a high level," Nutt said.
"So how do you do that? You have to integrate technology," he said. "The good news is that people are used to interacting with devices and trusting these devices these days so whether it's a digital signage screen or video wall or a kiosk ... they can access that information and feel comfortable with it."
So the kiosks and digital signage really serve two purposes, Nutt said: first, they allow the visitors to come into the branch and get information themselves, and second, they allow the institution to better control the conversation on certain "outlier" financial products with which the teller or the customer service representative in the branch might not be an expert. Paradoxically, he noted, tellers have both the highest turnover and the highest number of touchpoints with the customers.
Now the branch employee can feel comfortable referring to a device for information that has been vetted at the corporate level, he said, and rely on that to give the customer the information they desire.
"So it really serves two forms," he said "It's not just meant to be a cool interactive device — that's one part, because they want to deliver this retail environment and experience that moves away from the old stodgy bank branch — but it's got to be effective, it's got to make sense ... The 'wow factor' is more than just the appearance; it's got to have some benefit to the consumer."
Some of the benefits of the tech upgrades to GTE Financial and to its members are increased visibility, increased product awareness and higher virtual service adoption, Zurbrick said in an email.
"Codigo's video wall and NanoLumens' cylindrical display are easily visible from the busy downtown street," she said. "We have increased foot traffic into our center just because people want to find out what's going on inside."
"Allowing members to explore products and services on their own allows them to feel more in charge of the sales cycle and, therefore, more open to discussion," resulting in increased product awareness, she said.
And higher virtual service adoption has come from the technology allowing members to become more familiar with the services, she said. "Helping members access our virtual services on Apple or Android tablets and phones lets them experience it firsthand, with their own accounts, and gets them more comfortable with trying it themselves at home. It's not just demonstrating the service; we're walking them through the transaction to help them learn."
The branch's visitors also have reported a reduction in perceived wait times with so much to experience and interact with, but there's also been a reduction in actual service times, she said. "With our new GTE OnScreen Interactive Teller Machines we've been able to reduce actual session times by twenty seconds just this first month. And that's with teaching members how to use the new machines! We expect this time reduction to continue to increase as usage and familiarity grows."
Members also seem to enjoy the branch experience more with these upgrades, exploring the new space and enjoying that their credit union is technologically progressive, she said.
GTE Financial's move to adopt the new technologies was driven by its foundational values, Zurbrick said.
"One of our core brand values is innovation, so we are always looking for new ways to accomplish our goals," she said. "To find technology that both improves our member experience and allows the staff to focus on building relationships is the perfect fit."