In bank branches, the impact of digital is still underestimated
With the digitization of banking activities, more than 100,000 advisers and bank branch managers in France are seeing their profession gradually transformed, according to the study “Support banking networks towards digital excellence»Published at the beginning of the year by Exton Consulting.
If on the one hand, the expectations of retail banking customers, linked to digital, are high, the study looked at advisers and branch managers upstream. How do these banking professionals, more than 370,000 in France according to figures from the French Banking Federation, welcome digital technology? To answer it, the survey, carried out by telephone in 2015, interviewed nearly 1,000 banking advisers and branch managers in France.
In direct contact with customers, they are indeed the first operators of the digitization of banks. What changes do they perceive in the behavior and expectations of their customers? Do they feel sufficiently prepared to meet these new expectations?
8% of bank advisers see the importance of mobile
Has the relationship between bank advisers and their clients changed since the arrival of new media? One thing is certain, the opinions are not clear cut. Only half of the bank advisers questioned believe that remote contacts exceeded the frequency of contacts in branch. They are even more than half to estimate that they spend so much time in front of their customers.
60% of respondents believe that their customers are not mature enough to subscribe to savings products online. This figure exceeds 70% for more complex products (mortgage loans or consumer loans). Only 8% of advisers and agency managers surveyed believe that their clients prefer mobile to manage their accounts.
Finally, two-thirds of respondents believe that if their customers do not consume more thanks to digital, they have on the other hand become more demanding.
We note that 1 in 3 professionals do not consider digital as an opportunity for additional contact with their customers.
A third of advisers believe that digital will simplify their profession
Secondly, the study looked at the impact that digital will have on the bank itself, and on the professions of advisers and branch managers. 78% of respondents believe that in the future, agency traffic will drop significantly. This will result in massive agency closures for 66% of them.
They are a little more than half (51%) to estimate that in the long term, the customer relationship will be done almost exclusively at a distance. Despite this, 72% of respondents believe that the advisor will remain the main point of contact for clients. Mobile applications would thus become interactive consulting tools (for half of them).
For half of the professionals questioned, the majority of sales will eventually be made on the Internet (for the simplest products). For 80% of them, digital should make it possible to adapt the prices applied according to the sales channels used.
Finally, 41% believe that in three years, their profession will have completely changed under the impetus of digital. A third of respondents believe that their job will remain the same, but that digital will have simplified it.
Strong training expectations
Finally, more than half of respondents (51%) believe that their bank’s priority should be to train employees in digital technology, before continuing to automate processes (a priority for 19% of them) and to improve knowledge of its customers via the cross-channel (14%).
When asked about the tools they master well, 80% of respondents cite their bank’s mobile application, 69% data collection, or even remote banking. They are only 36% to declare to have mastered the electronic signature.
While nearly two-thirds of the professionals who took part in the survey believe that digital is taken into account in the definition of their objectives, they are 30% to say that they do not have skills benchmarks or objectives associated with digital. While one in two respondents said that their bank offers multi-channel training, a little more than a third believe that their employer does not offer any digital training.
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