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Break Free From Branch Optimization Paralysis

Posted by Sean Hughes

March 31, 2016

Another team meeting and your brain is spinning.

You’re stuck in a state of paralysis, staying on the same tired path and once again discussing how to improve your branch and customer experience—but getting absolutely nowhere.

We call these “What if” meetings

question_mark.pngThe same questions from last week’s meeting, and the week before that, and the month before that, and the year before that keep popping up:

“What if we just spruce up our current branch design?"

"What if we add more modern technology?"

"What if can’t find the right design firm?"

"What if we added tablets like an Apple or Microsoft store?”

“What if we start using an omni-channel?” 

“What if we reduce the size of our branch?”

“What if we go with Universal Tellers?"

“What if” questions seem to only bring more questions. Every new option brings more muddled direction. All the design questions, technology concepts and in-the-weeds semantics exhausts your brain and doesn’t move the needle.  

So what happens when the meeting’s over?

You leave with zero momentum and no plan for how to move forward. For the most part, you and your team agree that it’s time to change, but every meeting ends the same and you’re left doing more research and pushing decisions until the next meeting. Suddenly, you realize you've been discussing branch transformation ideas for more than a year—possibly longer.

You're not alone. The most common frustration we hear from financial institutions is they’ve been discussing branch optmization forever but, indecision and fear of failure prevent them from breaking free from branch optimization paralysis.

Decision Paralysis is Real

A Vanguard study of 2000+ Employer Voluntary Retirement Plans showed that for every 10 mutual funds the employer offered, the rate of participation went down 2%. In other words, if the employer offered 50 funds, 10% fewer employees would participate than if the employer only offered 5. Why? Because with 50 choices, whether it’s mutual funds or toothpaste, people find it difficult to make a choice! They just put it off until tomorrow... and then tomorrow, then tomorrow. And of course, tomorrow never comes. 

The same thing happens when you’re deciding what to do with your branch optmization project. There are so many choices that you end up stuck in a pattern of decision paralysis—making no changes, moving nowhere and failing to transform your customer experience? 

Fortunately, there is an easy solution: Find a branch transformation partner. Instead of spending months on research and case studies to make the “perfect” choices, consider ways you can simplify your decision-making process while still meeting your goals.  

Breaking Free… With Velocity

Branch transformation paralysis is like a slingshot—you’ve pulled the rubber-band back as far as it’ll go, but can’t seem to release it because you’re not sure if it’s pointed in the right direction. You need a branch transformation partner who can easily break the process down, help you feel good about your decisions, and point that slingshot in a customized direction specific to your branch needs and wants.

Finding a branch transformation partner will get you out of those quagmire “What if” meetings and, like the slingshot, propel your branch transformation project forward with remarkable velocity.

So, what should you look for in a branch transformation partner? Here are six basic traits:

1. Truly understands the banking industry: They’re able to make smart decision for you through their knowledge and experience. If you work with a company that doesn't understand every option out there, its recommendations for you will be limited and possibly misguided.

2. Helps your team stay focused: At DBSI, we go through what we call a “Discovery” process. We compile everyone's opinions, ideas and thoughts into a succinct Executive Summary. Why? By summarizing everyone's comments, it creates aligned goals and decisions, making the process much easier.

3. Defines your Current State: We find that clearly identifying what currently works or doesn’t work in your branch is a great way to determine what makes you unique and what you should stay versus what should go.

4. Helps you develop your Desired State: Decisions are a whole lot easier when you and your teamclearly understand what the new elements are, and why they’re being added. When you see your final project, you should react with, "Yes, this is exactly what I wanted and expected.” It’ll just feel right.

5. Shows you what your Branch Transformation will look like—before any construction is done: Unless you're an architect, making sense of blueprints is a nightmare. With 3D renderings of proposed designs, you can truly understand what your spaces will look and feel like. It gives you confidence in your choice of design.

6. Uses as few vendors as possible: One of the most complex aspects of the Branch Transformation process is trying to be a project manager and dealing with multiple companies attempting to work together to complete your project. The typical scenario calls for roughly 14 different companies from start to finish. This isn't very ideal. In fact, it’s a lot like your “What if” meetings where there’s too many cooks in the kitchen. It’s why DBSI has every aspect of the process under one roof. 

You can't get much simpler than that.   

All of the examples and strategies above were developed by DBSI’s Digital Signage Agency.  If you want to explore how we can help you develop content and a strategy that creates a better branch experience, contact us here.

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Topics: Branch Transformation, Branch Design, Branding, Retail Strategies, Digital Signage

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We help financial institutions break the mold and improve their branch profitability and experience. And we openly share our knowledge rather than tuck it away for some secret strategic advantagea reason many of our clients come to us. This blog is our opportunity to write, teach and speak about what we do, and what we see happening across the banking industry.

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