blogTablets like iPads have the potential to transform your branch experience. Here are 14 tips and insights to help get your creative juices pumping.

Tablets offer a range of useful features for bank and credit union marketers. Tablets are touchscreen enabled, internet accessible, relatively inexpensive, allow exceptionally rich video delivery capability and provide a form factor that is perfect for collaboration — a combination with a value proposition that’s hard to resist.

Significantly, they offer an alternative to traditional static interactive kiosks, which are often tethered to a set location in branch due to infrastructure constraints — particularly the need to be near a power source.

Owing to these constrictions, traditional kiosks are often sub-optimally located in branches, resulting in the reception of very little customer attention. By contrast, tablets “cut the cable”, enabling bank marketers to deliver digital content to customers in branch at the best locations.

While tablets represent a useful tool for bank marketers, implementation requires careful thought to get it right.

Here are some key points to keep in mind.


1. Set clear goals
Before embarking on a tablet project—or indeed any branch technology project—it is important to have a clear strategy in place and to ensure the expected benefits are clearly defined.

All too often, projects fail because new technologies are implemented for their “wow factor” without proper consideration of why customers will use them or the benefits they will bring to the business.

For instance we have recently seen a proliferation of “big tablets”. Touch screen monitors, 50 inches and up, being put up on walls in branches. When we ask why these are being implemented, most banks cannot provide an adequate response.

Embark on a tablet project only if your plan will deliver clear benefits for the customer and the bank. Make sure and you have thought carefully about how you will encourage the customer to engage with the devices.

A clear strategy will not only allow the user to locate the tablets correctly, but will provide them with the right device designed with appropriate content. Sub-optimal location and lack of clear benefits to the customer are quick ways to undermine success.


2. Ensure content and approach is appropriate to location
The location of the tablet in the branch matters very little if it doesn’t also contain relevant content that is designed to engage the user. For example, if you are employing tablets as a conversation starter, ensure the content is eye catching and the content loop isn’t too long to be easily comprehended.

It is also important to make sure that the content displayed on the screen is appropriate to the particular location. For instance, tablets located in the teller line displaying lengthy loops of self-help content are rarely used as customers feel pressure from others waiting in line behind them. Similarly, tablets that link to the website without added utility or reason to engage are also unlikely to be successful.


3. Manage content across all devices
Reduce costs by managing content across all screens within the branch, including tablets, digital signs, mobile and kiosks, using a single content management system. In order to facilitate this, select a system that allows content to be easily repurposed for use across different channels by supporting all file types in their native format.

Support for HTML5 by the content management solution is also likely to become increasingly important in the future, as this will enable the same content to be easily repurposed over multiple devices.


4. Opt for assisted vs. non-assisted
In our experience, customers are unlikely to interact with interactive devices unless they are encouraged to do so by a staff member and that there is a clear benefit for them in doing so.

Untethered tablets are perfect conversation starters as they give the branch staff the ability to take touch screen interactivity to the customer. When used in an assisted environment we find that results tend to be better than in non-assisted static locations.

Unassisted tablet usage may also mean losing the benefit of mobility, as the tablet needs to be locked down to guard against theft.


5. Devise a security plan
Have a plan in place to keep the device secure – does a member of staff have control of the tablet or is it mounted or fixed in the branch? You should also plan for keeping the devices powered and secure during charging. Given the possibility of theft, it is important that tablets are locked down from an IT perspective, and can be remotely controlled and wiped by the bank if necessary.

Keep in mind customer security too. Sharing client specific information on tablet screens in the main branch is unlikely to be appropriate. It is also good practice to make sure that screens “erase” or close out after periods of no use.


6. Devise a maintenance plan
It is important to have a maintenance plan with the appropriate remote update and management tools in place. You want to ensure that your tablets are always up and available for customers to use when they need them. Tablets that are not functioning properly are a waste of money and reflect poorly on your brand.


7. Get employees engaged
Bringing tablets to the branch requires employee engagement and training. Employees need to learn how to engage customers collaboratively using the tool. To achieve this, banks should implement training programs alongside their tablet implementation to ensure buy in from staff.


8. Using tablets in the branch
We have seen that tablets offer some unique benefits compared to traditional interactive kiosks and considered some of the best practices around implementing them in branches. We will now consider some of the possible applications for the devices in the branch to act as food for thought as you approach your own projects.


9. Tablets as conversation starters
Tablets can provide branch staff with a more interesting and engaging medium than brochures guiding customers through products, features and scenarios tailored to their situations.

A North American superregional bank built a full product guide into an app allowing 40-second conversation starters. Content was made even more engaging by allowing customers to explore products using augmented reality applications, which interacted with items on a product demonstration desk.

The bank also uses iPads on the street to showcase products and drive traffic into the branch. Short spots are used to t-up spur of the moment, one on one, sales conversations. Team members can then select the content suited to the interest of the prospect and are able to convert interests into sales — right there!


10. Tablets to enhance service delivery
Tablets enable staff to utilize all kinds of information and tools from product catalogues, to financial calculators, to customer data, in order to enhance service delivery. These can be used to enhance interactions with customers and enable the branch to fit more seamlessly within the bank’s larger omnichannel strategy as it develops a single view of the customer.

A North American bank has developed an app that can bring up details of members accounts sliced and diced however they want it. Imagine the power of this in a back office meeting with a client where the agent can bring up graphical representations of the client’s accounts and portfolios using the tablet and put them onto a big screen in the meeting room for contextual discussion of the clients needs.


11. Queue Busting Tablets
Drawing from the example of Apple stores, some banks are using tablet technology to solve customers’ issues as they wait in line. Roaming advisors approach the queue to handle routine banking transactions with tablets and mobile devices as customers wait in line to reduce wait times while improving customer service perception.


12. Promoting online channels through the branch
Tablets also offer the ability to bring the online world into the branch. This provides a great opportunity to promote the benefits of online and mobile channels within the physical environment. Branch staff can show customers how they could achieve routine tasks from the comfort of their home.

For example, a staff member can walk a customer through the benefits of online banking showing them the features of the service and how to use it in real time.


13. Interaction between tablets and traditional digital signage
Tablets can be used as control devices to allow customers to interact with traditional digital signage within the branch. For instance using tablets for on demand programming, would allow customers to sign up for advertised seminars or to vote on a topic posed on the screen.

A UK bank asked customers questions in the queue using interactive touch screen devices. Their answers are displayed on digital signage above the queue line.

Tablets can also be used as digital signage displays in their own right – for example by using multiple tablets to form a digital signage display.

Because tablets can be better located within the branch, and allow staff to actively engage customers, they are likely to garner even more interaction than traditional kiosks driving greater results!


14. Tablets for training
Tablets can also be used to provide regularly updated training material to branch staff. Tablets offer a huge range of function for training — from simple video playback to more complex applications like using augmented reality or gamification to teach staff about products and customer service.


Summing up
Tablets offer a good alternative to interactive kiosks as a means of interactively engaging customers in branches. But they should only be implemented if the bank has a clear upfront strategy explaining how they will deliver benefits to the bank and why customers will use them. With this in place you will be well positioned to “cut the cable” and deliver engaging content to customers right where they want it.


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