Bank branches are still relevant – and are still a big driving force behind banks’ growth and their brand equity – but it is difficult to manage branches effectively without having an overall understanding of their performance.

In a digital world, branches still have a 20th century feel.  Branch management cannot measure basics such as the demographics of the people coming in; the time it takes frontline staff to attend to a customer; or the time it takes to conduct a discussion.  It’s time to introduce the branch network to the digital world, making branches “phygital” and able to get the data needed for high performance.

Digitisation takes place on the level visible to the customer – with digital signs and beacons helping customers opt-in to a new experience – but also in ways the customer cannot see, with the gathering of information about what is happening in and around the branch network.

Questions abound:  How many people walked past different branches in different locations?  How many walked in?  What happened then?  Did they walk out because the queue put them off?  How much time did they spend in specific areas?  Did they strictly use self-service functions to deposit a cheque or withdraw money?

Digital tools can now help answer these questions.  Getting these metrics in a physical environment (especially in a retail setting) can now be done readily, without resorting to science fiction-like techniques.  Internet giants such as Amazon (with Amazon Go) or Alibaba (with the “retail store of the future”) provide examples of how information can be obtained as part of an enjoyable customer experience.

In this blog series, we will explore how banks can establish a phygital presence and capture the kind of data needed to develop more targeted customer initiatives and an enhanced customer experience.  The next blog will look at some of the metrics which can now be obtained, and at the rapid evolution of technologies designed to enrich and analyze this data.

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