As a bank or credit union, competition is steep, and customer trust and satisfaction can be hard to win. In fact, financial institutions have consistently been the recipient some of the lowest levels of consumer trust reports. Currently, banks are no longer competing only with other banks, but also the experience consumers have when they walk into other stores or lounges.
Even as mobile banking continues to grow, research by CARAVAN Omnibus Surveys shows that 88% of American adults still want a physical location for their banking needs. At a local branch level, you can rise above your competition by making sure that the first point of contact your customers have is comfortable and inviting.
Create a Personal Connection
Many consumers end up choosing a credit union or local banks for the smaller, more community-focused atmosphere. Clients of these institutions will expect a more personal approach, and if used the right way it could give you more freedom in your branch design.
You can create spaces for local businesses who use your bank to show off services or products on an invite-only basis. This shows customers you support and collaborate with local establishments
You can also foster a community-focused environment by using local landscapes or artists as part of your interior decor, or dedicating a wall or bulletin board that showcases local events, charities, and businesses.
Ditch the Long Lines
When it comes to financial institution design, many fail to utilize their large lobby space in a way that makes members comfortable. The banks of the future are getting rid of lines by converting their lobbies into cool lounges and welcoming spaces equipped with the latest technology, sleek surfaces, and leather seating. With the right design, your space can have the look and feel and an exclusive members club.
At the minimum, you should evaluate how many people come in during peak hours, or busy (and limited) weekend hours. If customers are often left standing, that’s an opportunity to address the issue with a better seating plan.
Design Around Customer Engagement
Financial institution design should consider how well it engages customers in areas like lobbies and offices. Acoustics and confidentiality should be addressed, preferably without resorting to sectioning off all work areas. An experienced office design-build company can help design a space that is both open and welcoming, while still allowing privacy when doing business.
Your building should have areas to discuss finances with some feeling of privacy. Not only will it make clients feel more comfortable, but also like their time with you is “exclusive” and valuable.
Show Hospitality in Your Financial Institute Design
The more comfortable you can make your customers, the more it increases their ability to stay patient during those long waits. The small, hospitable touches you can add always make big impressions. For example, beverage stations, reading material, free-wifi, or popcorn machines can really make you stand out from competitors.
Think of the details when adding these conveniences to your space:
If your coffee machine or any other dispenser is in a location that seems to interfere with workflow, it’ll make customers feel too uncomfortable to use it.
Are your machines bringing unwanted attention because they’re too noisy? That could be another deterrent.
Caffeine doesn’t sit well with everyone, so offer tea, cider, or hot cocoa to appease and create a more enticing display.
These details can be that little extra that makes a client remember their experience and choose your company over a competitor.
So, say goodbye to the grey and drab interiors of the past, and embrace the new look of financial institution design. With the right office design-build team, you can make your company an attractive and comfortable destination point that also works with your business model.