CREATING LOYALTY BY IMPROVING THE CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE
As retail banking continues to pivot, the industry is focusing on educating, entertaining, and informing its guests to create long-term customers.
WAY BACK WHEN...
There was a time when the local banker recognized every person who walked into the neighborhood branch. They’d chat with the customer for a few moments while they waited in line to deposit a check, make a withdrawal, or inquire about a balance. But technology has gotten rid of all of that—the line, the relationship, and even the need to make an in-person transaction at all.
Retail banking has dealt with technological disruption longer than just about any industry. Online banking and mobile apps have made it possible to complete almost any financial transaction without having to go anywhere. They’ve even made it possible for some banks to launch without the need for actual physical branches.
This has forced large retail banks to pivot. They’ve rethought the role of the branch and reimagined how their customers use their physical locations because customers still say there’s value in keeping them.
So, it makes sense, then, for banks to make this shift away from teller windows and traditional transactional relationships. It makes sense to move in the couches and chairs and focus on being consultative.
THIS DRIVES A NEW MANDATE FOR ENGAGING WITH CUSTOMERS
All of this changes how retail banks must engage with their customers. Traditionally, banks had a problem that many other businesses wished for: Too much foot traffic. The branches were crowded. The teller lines were long. The banks knew they needed to give those customers something to keep their minds off the wait. Enter digital signage.
By installing screens and feeding content to them, banks could keep customers engaged while they worked their way to the teller window. The content was often what we call glance media—something that’s on the screen only briefly then it’s gone. It was also heavily promotional.
But now that the relationship between the bank and its customers is less transactional, institutions need to rethink the kinds of content they are putting on their screens. It’s time to dial back on the glance content and dial up the longer-form content.
LONGER DWELL TIMES CREATE NEED FOR NEW CONTENT TYPES
As these banking relationships change and it becomes easier and easier to complete certain transactions online or through an app, the reasons we go into the bank are going to be different. In another survey, 77% of consumers said that when it’s time to talk about more complicated transactions, they seek out a face-to-face interaction.
Translation: Because the people who come into a branch are looking to complete a more complicated transaction, they are likely to spend a lot more time there than before. That means they are also having to wait longer for that face time with an employee. Naturally, then, they’ll be spending more time in those newly refurbished lounge-style seating areas—and looking to be engaged. That’s why glance content can’t be the only type of content banks produce They also need content that:
While customers are more financially savvy than ever, banks and other financial institutions are creating new, more advanced financial tools—and while customers are waiting is the perfect time to educate them about these new options using digital signage. With more time to engage with screens, digital signage content can arm the customer with the details they need to ask better questions when it’s their turn to speak with a bank rep.
There will always be a need to inform customers about things happening at the bank or at the branch, and a digital signage network is an ideal way to do that. This is also a great place to offer localized content to the customers watching those screens. This kind of content not only informs but can also build feelings of loyalty. Seeing content that’s created locally with local information helps them see that “This is my bank serving the people of my city and is connected to what’s happening here.”
Years ago, it used to be that your bank was your bank for life. That’s not the case anymore. Younger customers don’t have the same feelings of brand loyalty their parents and grandparents did. Banks have to work harder to build that loyalty. One way to cultivate and reinforce those feelings is with digital signage content that entertains and creates warm feelings about the brand itself.
CREATING BETTER CONTENT STARTS WITH A CONTENT STRATEGY
Digital signage has changed. Not as much as the banking industry, perhaps, but what we can do with signage now is significantly different from even a few years ago.
When screens were first installed and content pushed to them, the experience was all passive. The screens played. The customers watched. And while there’s nothing wrong with passive content—it is still effective and has its place—digital signage content is capable of so much more. So much, in fact, that it can either be so overwhelming or so exciting that the content planners and creators don’t know where to start. Our advice? Don’t start by thinking about content. Start by thinking about your business objectives. Namely, what are your specific goals, and how can you tie each screen and each piece of content to them.
YOU MAY WANT TO:
- FEATURE A COURSE YOUR BANK IS OFFERING ON FINANCIAL PLANNING
- HIGHLIGHT YOUR COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT BY SHARING PHOTOS FROM A YOUTH SPORTS TEAM YOUR BRANCH SPONSORS
- PROMOTE A NEW OFFERING SUCH AS DISCOUNTED LOANS FOR EXISTING CUSTOMERS
- REMIND CUSTOMERS OF TRANSACTIONS THAT CAN BE DONE ONLINE TO ENHANCE THEIR CONVENIENCE
There are a whole set of environmental characteristics that will inform what is the right content for a particular location and screen. Among these are traffic flow, dwell time, average frequency of visitors, and how often the content needs to be refreshed.
Once you have specific objectives for each screen and the environments in which each screen will operate, you can then think about the kinds of content that will achieve those objectives. Broadly, there are three types:
TRADITIONAL VIDEO MEDIA
This is the kind of content with which most of us are familiar. This type of digital signage content works well in certain environments and locations. A subset of this content is motion graphics. The motion graphics format is common online, but lately it is showing up more on TV and traditional broadcast mediums. It’s great at conveying a message quickly and simply.
Dynamic content is created and displayed “in the moment” based on a specific data set. For example, you might have a 10-second spot that dynamically pulls images from an Instagram feed or text from a Twitter feed. You might also use data, images, and current
Interactive content isn’t right for every location, but where it is appropriate it can be highly engaging and effective. Obviously, interactive content requires user input, usually a touchscreen or other device.
CONTENT CREATION REQUIRES A STRATEGY
Digital signage is a program, not a project. Unfortunately, too many organizations, look at it as the latter. They focus on the installation of the hardware required to build the digital signage network and don’t give near enough thought to creating the content that’s going to be shown on those screens, which is the very purpose for which the network exists.
We like to call it feeding the beast, and it starts with setting aside a budget for content creation. But it’s not just money, it’s also a plan for executing. Content creation is an ongoing process, and you need to know how new content is getting created. Many organizations will assign content strategy, development, and management to a specific group inside of the organizations. Others will opt for outsourcing the content-creation process since creating digital and video content can require a specific skill set.
The final consideration in the planning stages is cadence. How often you update your content will vary by screen. Screens in high-traffic areas will likely need more frequent content updates than a screen that’s a bit more out of the way. Knowing how often that content refreshes need to take place allows you to better plan its creation.
A PLAN FOR GETTING CONTENT TO YOUR SCREENS IS CRITICAL
All of this planning—the strategy work, the allocation of resources—doesn’t mean anything if you use the wrong technologies to support your digital signage network. Without the proper infrastructure, you won’t be able to achieve the results you want from your signs and content.
At the heart of any digital signage network is a content management system. There are many options available, but whether you’re managing digital signage content across a dozen or hundreds of branches, there are a few things to keep in mind. At a minimum, a digital signage CMS should provide the ability to:
- UPLOAD YOUR DIGITAL CONTENT
- STORE & ORGANIZE IT
- MANAGE YOUR CONTENT LIBRARY (including versioning & tagging)
- TRANSMIT TO YOUR SIGNAGE DEVICES
- SCHEDULE CONTENT PLAYBACK (not only now but well into the future)
These capabilities, though, are just table stakes for a modern digital signage CMS. A real enterprise-level CMS application will also allow you to orchestrate complex, engaging. It should provide:
Templates that allow you to create unique content layouts that combine content formats like video, live streams, text, images, web clippings, and even custom applications
Granular playback scheduling for each device and each experience, with scheduling capabilities that extend months and even years in the future, if needed
Optimization of your network so that your content uploads and downloads don’t use critical network bandwidth or impact other critical operational systems (such as your POS)
Integration with your existing and third-party data sources
Simplified and centralized device monitoring, management, and maintenance
Retail banking has changed. The customers are savvier and more sophisticated, and their expectations are, too. The retail banking industry has done a good job of pivoting to meet these new demands, by building and offering new experiences, new products, and new financial tools. But if they want to keep their customers, they also need to work on cultivating the kind of brand loyalty that ensures other institutions won’t entice them away. A modern digital signage program with a strategy and content built around specific business goals can do that.
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