Guest Post: Banking Teller Solutions Bring Brick and Mortar Banking Closer to the Online Model

Benzi Axelrod, Head of US Operations, Odysii

As we are pulling out of the great recession and shifting efforts to a growth mode, banks realize that they need to transform their network of branches from transaction focused to a selling machine.  Most retail banking organizations have a fresh appreciation for their traditional retail banking network.  This is not to say that the online channel is less relevant for customer acquisition and cross selling of products and services, but that it is not the only effective channel.  In addition, what the recent economic downturn has taught us is that customers need to “touch and feel” their financial service provider’s brand.  What a better place to satisfy these needs than at the branch where customers can connect with bank employees and brand identity.

Now that we accept the importance of a bank’s branch network, the question is how to transform it to a selling machine.  But first let’s review four pillars that are the basis for every marketing approach:

ROI – Banks need to design and execute marketing campaigns that increase revenue and/or reduce costs.   In addition, marketing campaigns needs to be measurable so that bank executives can compare return on investments against online campaigns which are much easier to measure.

Executing against strategic business objectives – Marketing campaigns must reflect the organization’s strategic objectives and communicate a consistent message across channels.  This requirement is becoming more challenging due to ongoing changes in banks’ goals and external forces.

Customer expectations – Major online players such as Google and Amazon increased customer expectations of relevant offers based on their recent purchasing behaviors.  Bank customers are bombarded with communication from multiple sources and expect relevant messages like they’re experiencing online.

Regulatory and compliance requirements – Regulatory and compliance changes are a major challenge to marketers where new and revised T&C force organizations to reprint offers and re-communicate with their customers (not to mention ensuring that “old” messages are removed on time from all branches).

Surprisingly enough, most retail banks still use the same marketing approach used 10 – 15 years ago and by and large, use the following channels to market their products and services:

Print – Direct mail and in-branch pamphlets are very common with most banks.  The line of pamphlets promoting services found at the teller counter and the waiting area is similar to what banks have used for the last decade.  Direct mail campaigns continue to miss their target audience with an alarming decline in response rate.

Teller – The teller is one of the most critical assets of any bank (you can go to a credit union branch and understand what I mean).  However, in many cases, tellers are not motivated or trained to promote the right products to the right customer.  Their goal is to process a transaction fast with no errors.  Cross-selling is not top of mind for most tellers especially when offers constantly change.

Digital signage – This is by far the most advanced marketing change we have seen in the retail banking.  Companies use digital signage to present fresh content and communicate relevant messages to all of their banking customers.  Is the message, however, relevant to individual customers?  Most likely, it is not.  Although digital signage is a major improvement from static/print communication, it is in many cases nothing more than digitized static content.

Benzi Axelrod, Head of US Operations, with the new Odysii system at Metropolitan National Bank

To address the above challenges, Odysii developed its Retail Banking Teller Solution which was installed at the Metropolitan National Bank of New York and its CashZone subsidiary. The Teller Solution provides a customized relevant message to the individual via a customer facing screen at the teller station.  The customer receives relevant cross sell messages in real time.

At Metropolitan National Bank, Odysii implemented a screen scraper at the teller station which reads an identifier provided by Metropolitan bank and is updated at the end of each day.  Each identifier represents a match between a customer’s current set of products with the bank and what additional products the bank would like to cross sell to that specific customer.   Once the system reads the customer identifier, a customized message is shown on the screen facing the customer.

In summary, Odysii’s Teller Solution brings the brick and mortar retail banking environment closer to the online model by providing relevant, customized messages in real time based on the customer’s current level of relationship with the bank.   We at Odysii believe that the teller solution will assist in transforming the retail banking environment to a selling machine by cross selling the right product to the right customer at the right time.

For more information, please contact Benzi Axelrod at Baxelrod@odysii.com or 646-706-7696 x202.

Special thanks to Nick Rosenberg, Metropolitan Bank’s CTO and Anthony Rotondaro, Metropolitan Bank’s SVP of Marketing.

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