By incorporating these emerging design trends, bank branches can evolve into modern, comfortable spaces that customers look forward to visiting.
By Marc HealyAs banks and those with whom they do business adjust to a new normal amid the post-pandemic and digitization eras, ensuring in-branch experiences resonate with customers is more important than ever.
Despite the rise in digital banking capabilities and off-site transactions, in-person banking continues to hold great value for customers and members. A recent Deloitte survey found that consumers still prefer high-touch, in-person interactions for more extensive products and services such as mortgages and financial advice: “Meeting consumers’ latent need for the human touch in digital channels is a real opportunity for banks.”
At a time when many routine transactions can effectively be offloaded to self-service options, such as interactive teller machines and mobile applications, on-site personnel have more opportunities to enhance the customer experience through advocacy, education and community building. Your financial institution’s interior design strategy plays a critical role in helping in-branch agents do just that.
From upgrading the way you go about in-branch messaging and digital signage to providing visitors with a sense of community when they walk through your doors, design elements can make a significant impact on customer and member engagement. Here are the top seven interior design trends leading the way when it comes to improving the customer experience:
1. Bring the outside in
A recent interior design banking trend involves incorporating more of the outside world within the walls of your building. Deliver a breath of fresh air to your branch visitors when you include natural elements that make customers feel less like they’re visiting a sterile institution and more like they’re spending time in a serene environment. Incorporate elements such as live indoor plants, natural lighting and color finishes, and local touches that reflect the native landscapes and community culture.
2. Incorporate digital signage
Interior design elements can also increase customer satisfaction by keeping them engaged throughout on-site visits. One way to accomplish this is by incorporating digital signage and informative displays.
Digital signage offers the perfect opportunity to share helpful information with customers and members, such as product advertisements, tutorials, financial information, current interest rates, stock market data, social media feeds, event calendars and local weather. This way, they can learn more about the things they care about while waiting for assistance.
Furthermore, informative displays such as wayfinding signage are helpful in directing visitors throughout the branch in a manner that is both organic and efficient.
3. Streamline branded elements
One essential component of interior design that can set your financial institution apart from the rest is distinct branding. Branding is the overarching perception of your company as reflected by its product and service offerings, reputation and customer experience.
From your exterior bank building sign to interior silicone edge graphics to your logo and the accent colors on your financial institution’s walls, establishing a brand unique to your bank or credit union helps to build credibility and leave a positive, lasting impression with customers and members.
4. Add multi-functional community spaces
It is not unusual for in-person bank transactions to involve wait times. Help customers and members feel more comfortable and at-ease during their branch visits by adapting your interior space to include things like coffee bars, lounge waiting areas or even co-working spaces that provide added convenience for those with busy schedules. These updates help drive a sense of community and support throughout the banking experience.
5. Consider free-standing concierge pods
Another interior design trend gaining steam within financial services involves migrating from the endless teller line to free-standing pods that deliver a more concierge-like, one-on-one customer experience. This hub design concept enables bank and credit union agents to greet customers and members at the door, and the open environment allows for greater accessibility compared to the traditional teller counter. This interior space update ensures agents can move about freely from individual to individual, reinforcing their position as consumer advocates and educators.
6. Include private spaces for high-value transactions
Along with establishing relaxing common areas and open air spaces to help improve the customer experience, many of today’s financial clients also want their in-person banking to be private and highly-secure, especially when high-value transactions are involved. As such, having separate rooms or cordoned-off areas can be helpful in setting the tone for carrying out those more complex interactions.
7. Incorporate health and wellness features
Customers and members want to feel safe and comfortable during in-person bank visits. Your financial institution can help promote health and wellness by upgrading your space to include ergonomic seating, noise mitigation elements such as acoustical barriers, and air purification.
Banks have a unique opportunity to reinvent the way customers and members view their in-branch banking experiences. Interior design concepts that embrace digitization, establish a community feel and provide enhanced conveniences for consumers help to build customer loyalty and brand credibility. A financial institution should be more than just a place to wait in line and exchange a few words with a teller. By incorporating these emerging design trends your branch can evolve into a modern, comfortable space that customers look forward to visiting.
In his role as executive director for The Element Group, Marc Healy leverages more than 30 years of banking experience, particularly in the areas of branch management and operations.