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To be in-branch or not to be in-branch? That’s the question


It seems France and Britain still have little in common. Financial
services institutions in Europe have different views about the future of
in-branch banking, although they all agree that everyone values the personal
touch. That applies to conventional face-to-face meetings and digital services
from a tablet, mobile or smartphone. So, what are the current trends and how do they differ from the Uk to the continent?


The French prefer it personal

In France, banks like to entice the customer to face-to-face meetings. They believe that especially where there have been life-changing events in
people’s lives – such as house sales or mortgage applications – the personal
touch builds customer and brand loyalty. It is valued by clients, even though it
comes at a cost. Therefore, they want to retain the physical presence as a key
part of the customer interaction in the future. The issue is whether the need
for bank branches will continue? More and more online players show that good
customer interaction is possible without a personal visit, especially with the
new digital generation reaching adulthood and making digital channels their preferred choice.

To be British is to be online                                                                 

The Banker and SAP report
on customer engagement in the digital age shows that in the UK the new digital
generation feels much more comfortable doing it all online. It’s the quality of
service that counts, not the physical presence of an adviser.


What’s important is that banks give the best advice when selling products
and provide competitive offerings. Research shows that while the demand for
digitised, customer-centric services is increasing, there’s no one-size-fits-all
approach that best meets customer expectations country by country. But in the
long-term, I believe it’ll be a case of investing in services, rather than


Banker/SAP report:
Engagement in the Digital Age


Comments: (1)

Paul Love
Paul Love - Konsentus - Nottingham 13 May, 2014, 13:52Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

It may be that the British would also like the French approach to branch banking, but sadly this is no longer available here as the branch staff are now mostly just cogs in the bank machine, with human judgement replaced by scripts, targets and workflow. So the British would rather now go online than visit what the typical UK bank branch has become.

I always value the personal touch - people like dealing with people.

It is not a chooice between investing in services or buildings - I believe banks invest in their relationship with their customers.