This article originally appeared on American Banker.
Thanks to mobile technology, consumers no longer have to walk into their bank branch to conduct a transaction or even to purchase a product. According to research by Bain & Co., U.S. banks already sell 41% of their products digitally. In the U.K., the figure is even higher: 59%.
While it may seem counterintuitive, the rise of digital banking makes human interactions—in branches and through contact centers—more important than ever. Banks recognize the need for a new approach, one that focuses less on transactional product pushing and more on creating customer experiences with positive outcomes. Bank employees are at the heart of that effort.
As digital sales increase, banks have an opportunity to redefine the role of brick-and-mortar branches. At leading banks, branches are becoming something more than just venues for executing transactions. They’re places where employees provide personalized customer experiences with services including financial advice, problem-solving and even specifically to help customers make the transition to digital banking.
Humans, using their empathy and analytical skills, can connect with customers in ways that robots and algorithms can’t—at least for now. Front-line employees were once thought of primarily as salespeople peddling products. But they are increasingly becoming counselors who understand the complexities of everyday life and dispense advice and explain financial options accordingly.
Richard Fleming is a New York-based partner with Bain & Company. Joe Fielding is a New York-based partner with Bain & Company.