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In-branch video banking: why and how should banks invest?

By Mark Aldred, banking specialist at Auriga

To survive in today’s market, banks have to think differently. Investing in innovative technologies such as video banking – as part ofa digital transformation – is one way financial institutions are adapting.This means that in addition to the changing use of technology, the roles and contributions of bank staff will also change.

Why video banking?

Video banking is a highly cost-effective service that enables banks not only to increase operational efficiency but also to boost customer engagement, satisfaction and sales. It is available in two main forms – online via a consumer’s own mobile device over the internet and in-branch, whereby customers use an ATM, ASD or kiosk to communicate with a remote teller.

In the UK,Barclays, and more recently NatWest, have started offering online video banking services enabling consumers to access customer services from their own mobile devices, but in-branch video banking is less common. According to 2018 Kantar research on behalf ofEfma, CUNA and Vidyo, it is in-branch video banking that more respondents (90%) said they would be willing to use than online video banking. But why else should banks consider investing in in-branch video services?

Cost-effective for the bank and improved access to cash and services for the consumer

Video banking can help improve access to financial services. Falling demand for physical money has prompted banks to close branches and cash machines causing rapidly declining access to cash in the UK. This is despite the 2019 Access to Cash report, warning that 17% of the UK population (8m people) say cash is an ‘economic necessity’ to them, and the Which? research suggesting people living in rural and remote areas as well as in poorer neighbourhoods are likely to be hit hardest.

Video banking enables banks to offer financial services in rural areas in a more cost-effective way than they could by maintaining a regular bank branch, as the bank can service customers remotely via a central teller rather than hiring or retaining the number of staff required to service multiple branches in person. For example, someone in rural mainland Scotland or the Highlands and Islands can access face-to-face support setting up a bank account by remotely accessing a video teller based in Edinburgh, not only making better use of existing staff members’ time but also keeping the branch open and profitable.

This is also a benefit to customers as it means local access to financial services is protected. In fact, video banking can make for an even more convenient experience than that of a traditional bank branch. With a remote teller available via video link, banks can service customers beyond the usual opening hours and even keep branches open 24/7, seven days a week with the resultant opportunity to increase branch productivity

Improve customer experience and customer retention 

Video banking can enhance the customer experience and increase client retention. According to the same Kantar research, over half of organisations that had deployed video banking reported improved customer satisfaction(56%).This is unsurprising as in-branch and online video banking give consumers increased choice over how they bank. This is without losing any of the benefits of person to person interaction required for more complex, time-consuming activities such as securing a loan or applying for a mortgage.Furthermore, video banking means better access to assistance for consumers seeking help with self-service technology or product advice. Video banking goes hand-in-hand with technologies such as AI, chatbots and robo-advisors, however, to successfully improve the customer experience it must be part of an omnichannel strategy.

Best-in-class remote banking experience 

Both in-branch and online video banking can be combined with new technologies, such as AI, to deliver higher-value conversations at a low-cost and in half the time. Biometrics and facial recognition can also be used to identify callers accurately and faster, videos can be analysed to provide rich insights for improving the customer experience and historical data can be used to predict the best contact centre agent for which to route the call.In addition,in the same way that AI is applied to chatbots to understand a customer’s emotions, AI can be applied to video banking to understand customer sentiment and decide how to communicate with them. If the consumer looks frustrated, the AI can notify a human being to take over. If they look happy and relaxed, the bank could use this as an opportunity to offer a new service or upsell.

Video banking must be part of the omnichannel experience

However, it must be said that video banking should not be viewed as simply another channel to add to the mix – it should become part of the full omnichannel banking experience. Customers don’t view video calls as separate from the rest of the brand, so banks shouldn’t either. Therefore, organisations need to invest in a unified data- and service-sharing platform to ensure seamless transfer across all channels and technologies, including video, AI, chatbots and robo-advisors, so that information exchanged via one channel is available on all other platforms.

Top Five Recommendations For In-Branch Video Banking Implementation

  1. Undertake a cost-benefit analysis: It’s important to understand what banks want to get out of video banking and how it can be applied to maximum effect
  2. Refer to the data: Measuring against KPIs is vital to successful video banking implementation
  3. Invest for the future: Banks should consider the vendor carefully and opt for a platform over a one-off solution
  4. Think about audience: Customers of all demographics can benefit from video banking, not only Millennials or Gen Z. There’s low resistance to accessing services over video links so long as they are secure and private. Never hesitate in making video a mainstream banking option.
  5. Train your staff: Staff will need to be taught how to fix technical issues, deliver support via video link and show customers how to use video banking. They also need to be equipped with broader knowledge and expertise of services and products

Video banking enables banks to effectively bridge the gap between brick and mortar branches and purely digital services like mobile and online banking. Investing now can help banks improve profitability, customer loyalty and grow sales, but in order to fully reap the benefits, it must be seamlessly integrated.