Designer Banks, Anyone?
Yes, banks are jumping on to the design wagon. Barclays, for instance has just rolled out a new branch in Manchester post its makeover. This branch gives you the feeling that you’ve just waked into a high street store. Be it an illuminated globe with rolling film footage suspended above its entrance or a designated play area for children, Barclays claims to have “listened” to its customers and arrived at this design. The lady behind this makeover, Deanna Oppenheimer has experience in revamping retail banking previously too. While at Washington Mutual, after studying ways to draw customers to branches, she and her team came up with the Occasio concept. These branches did away with traditional tellers and their windows. They were replaced with khaki-clad “concierges” who direct people to where they need to go according to what the customers need. They may be directed to one of the “teller towers,” circular help desks where they can conduct their own business or talk to an employee, or may end up at one of the touch screen service areas where they can research products and services or at a computer that will help them conduct online banking. Or they could plunk themselves on one of the private chairs and tables set up so employees can meet with customers to discuss issues that require privacy. So why so much attention to branches when everyone’s doing all that they can with mobiles and the Internet? Because the most expensive of banking products, like investments and insurance are sold over the counter, we’re told. More here.