Branches Are So Bad Customers Actually Prefer To Bank Online: Report

Branches Are So Bad Customers Actually Prefer To Bank Online: Report

Banks around the world are already reaping considerable cost benefits from the shift to digital and, in particular, mobile banking according to management consultants Bain.

However, they caution, “Leading banks are still learning how to take a mobile-first approach to reimagine customer experiences in everything from buying a home to resolving an incident of fraud.”

In an insights column on the company blog called “Customer Behavior and Loyalty in Retail Banking”, the authors argue that early wins have been achieved by driving bad and avoidable interactions (generated by errors or better routed to lower-cost and more convenient digital channels) out of the branch and call centre.

Delighted and disappointed

Furthermore, they say customers are far more likely to be delighted — and less likely to suffer bank-rage — when using mobile phones than when actually visiting the branch.

“As more banking activities go mobile, a major challenge for bankers has been to identify the right priorities and sequence of moves — right both for earning greater customer loyalty and for funding investments in digital channels through cost reductions in the branch network.”


Not surprisingly, the company says for most banks the priority is to move routine tasks that annoy customers out of branches and into self-service digital channels.

Beyond that, the management consultants identify what they describe as the must-have capabilities for banking organisations:

  • Extraordinary design discipline, given the small screen, slow speed of accurate typing and impatience of users (many will give up if a screen load takes more than a few seconds);
  • Radical simplification of products, processes and communications;
  • Personalisation, powered by good data and analytics, so that only relevant information is displayed to the user;
  • Contact methods that allow for anytime, anywhere chat and video calls with fast authentication;
  • Much faster development cycles to keep up with the pace of new functionality and rising expectations of consumers;
  • A new operating model that provides organisational agility, based on a commitment to breaking down barriers that divide internal departments and a willingness to collaborate with third-party developers.

The study’s authors say their analysis suggests the most important influences on a bank’s Net Promoter Score are annoyance with the branch experience, the branch’s share of interactions, and delight in the mobile and online experiences.

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