Banking is a complicated business. Margins are thin, staying in line with regulations can be costly, competition is fierce, and reputation is everything. Growing a financial institution requires competing on the basis of the customer experience.
According to McKinsey, 75% of the world’s largest banks identify the customer experience as a priority, and those that experience a positive experience are as much as eight times more likely to recommend a particular bank than someone who has had a negative experience. However, the customer experience extends beyond financial services and customer-facing employees. It depends just as much, if not more, on the condition and presentation of the physical space.
Facilities maintenance is key to consistent customer experiences
From basic banking capabilities to more advanced areas, like mortgages, banks need to upsell and cross-sell to their customers. To do this, banks need to establish trust with their customers. That’s why, even with several factors contributing to bringing a customer into the fold, consistency within and across bank locations is a primary concern. By providing a consistent physical experience at banking locations, financial entities signal that they are worthy of their customers' trust.
Facilities maintenance may not be the first area companies think of when it comes to providing a consistent customer experience that builds trust, but facilities maintenance impacts customers in a number of ways. This includes cleanliness and comfort, such as nightly cleaning and changing HVAC filters, as well as services that create a consistent customer experience, such as making sure that the landscaping at each location is similar or that brand standards are reinforced throughout the facility.
In a banking location, there are five key areas to address when trying to achieve a consistent experience.
Lobbies & standalone ATMs
Automation is standard in retail banking, and standalone ATMs are sometimes the only interaction point a customer has with a bank. Because ATMs allow for quick transactions when the bank is open or closed, they become an expected part of the customer service. However, customers can often feel uneasy when withdrawing money from an ATM. One global study found that 76 percent of ATM users said they are occasionally afraid to make withdrawals. For retail bank branches, the cleanliness and state of the lobby can either help to reinforce the safety and trust of the experience or potentially turn away customers. Customers expect an easy, seamless experience that lets them go about their day, and any service disruption can result in a negative impression. The lobby needs to be well-maintained with no garbage, dirty floors, or broken items.
A bank’s brand, of course, includes its colors, logos, and fonts. But it is so much more. A consistent brand experience extends beyond marketing materials to the physical space. Customers have certain expectations when entering a bank branch, and they want that expectation to be met regardless if it is their primary branch or one out of town. From cleanliness to a consistent temperature, this type of facilities-based consistency builds trust because it allows customers to trust they can get the same experience any time they visit their regular location or when they need to go to a different branch.
By adopting a centralized facilities management approach, financial institutions can remove operational bloat and optimize spending on both maintenance and capital projects. Without special attention to facilities and an understanding of how facilities management can vary among providers, the results can be disastrous. For example, a major financial institution with roughly 1,700 locations was hiring facilities providers on a piecemeal basis. However, unqualified providers mixed with a lack of expert support meant that spending was out of control while solutions were never really successful. In the end, they reduced annual spending by 8 percent and improved consistency across locations.
Intelligent analytics can help clarify where resources are allocated and which expenses are repetitive. This data can include total repair spend, costs by provider, and the amount spent on each asset as well as include before and after photos and notes from vendors. Together, these patterns can point to equipment that should be replaced instead of repaired, which providers are most effective, and the maintenance strategies that work best.
The benefits of data-driven platform solutions
Data-driven platform solutions make it easy to provide the consistency banking customers want. They track individual assets at each location, manage maintenance schedules across branches, and can provide insights into the actual functionality of ATMs, HVACs, and more.
Partnering with a trusted integrated services provider will help you achieve consistency for your customers in the coming year, eliminating headaches and freeing up time so you can focus on customer satisfaction and brand strategy. Get in touch today to learn more.