Do Banks Need Humans? - UK

Banks have been developing an online offering for many years now. The first online banks arrived in the UK in the late 1990s so the leading companies already have two decades of online banking experience now. Online banking has become more popular with the growth in use of mobile devices and the idea of customers serving themselves has also transferred into branch strategy too.

In June this year Halifax processed 69 million different customer interactions, which is a 47% increase on the same month only one year earlier. 57.2% of all these interactions came from a mobile phone app and a full 66% of all customer interactions came from a mobile device.

The customer interaction data from Halifax also shows that only 10.3% of interactions took place inside a branch and over half of these in-branch interactions were through the customer using a self-service machine. This data suggests that fewer than 5% of all customer interactions at Halifax involve a customer inside a branch talking to an employee.

This identifies two strategic questions:

  1. Are branch networks still important for organisations like banks?
  2. If 19 out of 20 customer interactions are taking place on self-service machines, the website, or apps, how can these interactions be made as easy as possible?

Most banks believe that their branch network retains an important role as one part of a multichannel offering to their customers. Responding to this data from Halifax, their Digital Director, Nick Williams, said: “A growing number of customers want the best of both worlds – the convenience of banking on the move, alongside a helping hand from their local branch when they need it.”

Clearly companies like Halifax will use data and insight such as this to underpin their branch strategy while enriching the features and functionalty of its app, website, and in-branch automated devices. The key strategic focus has therefore become how customers react to their experience of interacting to the bank using the tools provided and subsequently how easy these tools are and should be to use. This is very different to the way that banks might have considered a customer service strategy a decade ago.

I’m going to be writing more about this specific point, how to make service and interactions with your customer easier, but if you have any thoughts on this please leave a comment or get in touch via my LinkedIn profile.


Photo by Elliot Brown licensed under Creative Commons.


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