Originally published on ABA Bank Marketing. Financial Institutions have spent years opening up their branch, call center and office spaces with a focus on more collaborative interactions. What happens to this design principle in our post-COVID 19 world? We talked to three industry thought leaders about these questions.
Your next branch design is about both process and design
The objective of new design is always to facilitate the best possible customer experience. The customers’ lens for that experience has changed, along with the need to address other structural issues. Important issues Financial Institutions are confronting:
- The purpose of the branch has been shifting from transactional to consultative and the virus has accelerated that shift. “So your next branch will not be about more space,” says Gina Bleedorn, chief experience officer at Adrenaline, a creative and environmental design firm. “It will be about different utilization of space. We are now really building centers for consultation and advice with continued emphasis on social distancing.”
“Financial Institutions need to become more operationally efficient so a lot of postponed closures will happen. Leveraging technology solutions may help customers to ride through this change,” says John W. Smith, CEO of DBSI, a Financial Institutions design-build firm, and CFM, which focuses on integration technology.
- “What do customers view as a great experience?” asks Aaron Birney, principal and design director for Gensler, a leading design firm. “Am I going to feel safe and secure? Psychology has changed. Habits and perspectives have formed and they will stick around. There are basic changes like a desire to touch fewer surfaces and decrease the amount of time people spend in a space. The best Financial Institutions will leverage technology to create a newer, better experience.”
Are open-concept offices gone? No, but these new office concepts will focus as much on revised business practices as on design. And, as we’ve seen in 2020, change happens. So making these spaces adaptive prepares your Financial Institutions for the future.