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New Study Reveals Importance of Tracking the Right Metrics in the Modern Branch

May 22, 2018

A new study has the cure for management teams at financial institutions who sometimes struggle to understand the actual performance of their branch lobby. While poor visibility into important sales and service metrics can hinder management’s ability to establish performance goals, it also hurts productivity and can negatively impact the bottom line.

The FMSI 2018 Retail Branch Lobby Study examines 715,000 interactions collected through the Kronos FMSI Lobby Tracker, which encompass all types of service and sales exchanges between accountholders and credit union and bank employees that took place on the platform side of North American financial branches in the third quarter of 2017. The analysis finds that financial institutions have room for significant improvements across a few key areas.

  1. Lobby wait times: The study shows that Top 10 financial institutions have whittled their average lobby wait time down to just over two minutes, while in comparison, the average national wait time is more than three times higher. So what can you do to improve your wait times? The key is to use the detailed data you’re collecting at your branch to identify performance and service issues and adjust employee schedules, offer to retrain staff, or update your procedures to improve this critical service metrics.
  2. Duration of assist time: The study looks at average assist times at a Top 10 financial institution compared to the overall national average as well as the Bottom 10 financial institutions, offering an industry benchmark to help management set goals. But keep in mind that although longer assist times are not necessarily a sign of worsening service (in some cases it may indicate that frontline staff are doing a better job of cross-selling, which is a big positive), it could signal excessive socializing, declining employee performance or deficiencies in coaching or training. Alternately, short assist times might at times yield careless errors, so in either case it’s certainly an important metric to watch.
  3. Product vs. service interaction ratios: Current findings from the study reveal that, overall, financial institutions are on average missing the mark when it comes to balancing product and service lobby interactions . Kronos recommends credit unions strive for a 60/40 split, respectively. Download the full study to see how today’s financial institutions stack up, including prior year comparisons leveraging data from 2015, 2013 and 2011. With sizeable room for improvement, keeping an eye on this ratio is vital if you expect to operate a high-sales-performing lobby.

Learn more about these key areas for improvement and check out all 2017 data sales and service metrics captured in the new FMSI 2018 Retail Branch Lobby Study. Download now.

Are financial services jobs at risk because of AI?

May 17, 2018

AI Chart for blog

With adoption of AI on the rise, are human financial services jobs at risk? Research indicates the perceived threat remains relatively low. A Coleman Parkes study revealed that only 35 percent of financial services employees surveyed were concerned about losing their job if AI was introduced in their organization. In fact, 65 percent felt AI could simplify internal processes and 57 percent felt it could help balance their workload (see chart above). By coupling AI with people to change the way their people work — and the type of work they do — financial services institutions can improve workforce efficiency, flexibility, and compliance while enhancing the customer experience.

Learn more about this and other interesting technologies available for the mainstream today in a new Kronos white paper titled, Robots vs. Reality: Innovative Technology for Today, Not Tomorrow. Download now and/or register for a live webinar taking place next week on the same topic.

Achieving an 80% Net Promoter Score

May 11, 2018


Industry leading NPS scores aren’t easy to achieve.  It takes strong leadership, great staff and the right technologies.  See how one financial institution improved account holder loyalty through the right technology here.

New Branch Study Reveals Top Banks Service Performance

May 4, 2018

JD Power Study Retail Banking Service

Retail Banks Play Valuable Role as First Line of Financial Advice for Customers, J.D. Power Finds

Augmenting interactions at the branch with the right technology can be the difference maker for banks as they look to improve the branch experience.  Learn more about some of the latest branch and workforce management technologies available today.

Video: Are ITMs Right for Your Branch?

April 25, 2018

Cornerstone Advisors hit the high points on whether or not ITMs are right for your branches and touches on some approaches to make them a success.

Latest Amazon Deal Shows Us More Complex Sales Require Brick and Mortar

April 19, 2018

Amazon Best Buy Photo

Bankers take note, that a deal between Amazon and Best Buy announced Wednesday where Best Buy will exclusively sell Amazon Fire-edition smart televisions, is a clear sign that more complex sales require face-to-face interactions.

Much like conversations between lobby service representatives and account holders in the branch, there are many more in-depth conversations consumers want to have when buying a smart TV that don’t go well online.

Whether your talking about connectivity or compatibility of a smart TV or the terms of a HELOC, this Amazon/Best Buy deal relays that comfort and familiarity of a physical presence clearly still has significant value for many consumers.

Learn how financial institutions can take these critical interactions to the next level with lobby management software.

Kronos Recognized for Leadership in Customer Success

April 18, 2018

Krons Customer Service Award

This blog often covers the importance of customer service.  To show we practice what we preach, I wanted to announce here that for the 18th consecutive year, Kronos is an honored recipient of the NorthFace ScoreBoard Award.

Bob Hughes, chief customer and strategy officer, Kronos says, “At Kronos, putting customers first is the philosophy that drives everything we do. With 40 years of experience helping organizations make the most of their people strategy, these honors demonstrate the commitment of our teams to serve as advocates and partners who are dedicated to ensuring Kronos customers are successful.”

Learn more about the award here.

Building Loyalty Through Branch Service

April 12, 2018

Maintaining an excellent branch experience is still one of the best ways to retain existing account holders and grow their loyalty. Unfortunately, as many financial institutions have discovered, filling a branch with a bunch of employees does not guarantee good customer service.

Pinpointing activities that make a quantifiable difference in the branch experience can be difficult in a world that historically has had little automation. Consider implementing some of the key processes below to achieve higher service levels and more satisfied account holders.

Use managers to manage, not fix. When account holder wait times become long, a quick fix is for branch management or teller supervisors to jump onto the teller line. A more effective use of management (as well as lobby representative) time is to engage in account-holder-facing activities such as greeting, asking and answering questions, soliciting feedback and generally building a better rapport with the account holders in line. This helps pass the time and reduces the length of time the account holder perceive they have waited. Limiting the amount of time managers spend on the teller line also allows them to be better observers and coaches for their frontline staff.

Plan for idle time, or the time when staff members are inactive and waiting for account holders to come in the branch. These periods are often under-managed, leaving extremely valuable personnel standing around being unproductive.

Tellers are often given the vague direction to work on a number of nontransaction activities when traffic is slow or non-existent. Consider using this time for outbound account holder service support calls or special projects. Using scheduling engines to provide employees with more specific direction on precisely which nontransaction activities should be completed during exact times can significantly increase productivity during identified idle times. The enhanced forecasting process establishes better accountability for tellers and minimizes unproductive time that might exist from current scheduling processes.

Conversely, having your staff focusing on the account holders during peak transaction times reinforces to account holder that the financial institution respects their time and appreciates their business. One of the most undesirable outcomes of a branch full of staff focusing on completing nontransaction activities during the wrong times is that it can lead to poor service. Identifying and managing the specific idle times in your branch leads to better service and increased productivity.

Optimize schedules. Scheduling efficiently hour by hour for peak staff optimization and service is a challenge for most financial institutions, many of which are working from outdated spreadsheets. However, historical data proves that accurately forecasting traffic activity, and scheduling optimally for peak-period coverage, is entirely possible. Financial institutions that achieve this goal generally do so with the help of business intelligence, gleaned from streamlining the extract of core-processor transaction data (one of the most powerful but underutilized resources available). Optimal scheduling results in better service and, as bonuses, more satisfied employees and a lower labor cost per staff transaction.

Forecasts may suggest that you increase your utilization of part-time staff to help fill the peak transaction periods on your teller line. Once you know exactly when you need part-time staff in front of the account holder, you can find the talent to achieve your goals. Students, young parents, older workers and others with scheduling flexibility are frequently willing to work shifts as short as three to four hours.

Inspire positive outcomes. Even with the right number of employees in your branches at the right times, there will be unavoidable crunch periods. To help staff stay positive during these times, give them the tools they need to show grace under fire. Train staff to remain calm and good-humored under a variety of conditions. Role-playing exercises, where one or more employees play the part of an unhappy account holder, can be a very helpful teaching aid.

Develop performance incentives that reward staff both individually and collectively for providing great service.

Use peer-to-peer comment cards (where co-workers fill out cards documenting great performance that they witnessed in ­other staff), as well as mystery shoppers to provide further insights into which personnel are excelling at service even during busy periods and which need further mentoring.

Making these few changes can garner you a wealth of service improvement.

The Itty Bitty Bank Branch

April 3, 2018

Even as automation is changing the way people and organizations connect, there is still a need for brick-and-mortar branch locations, staffed with employees who can help customers with complex, higher-value interactions such as opening accounts and applying for loans and mortgages.

In regards to the extra expense that comes with this non-digital approach, some banks, like PNC Bank and Eastern Bank, have explored more cost effective approaches to maintaining a physical retail presence.

These innovative approaches are far from mainstream, but interesting nonetheless. Only time will tell how wide-spread these types of branches will be in the future.

Whether the branches are massive or micro, the importance of integrating digital technology within branch operations can be the real difference maker when it comes to the overall account holder experience.  Having just two customers ahead of another, can lead to a 45 minute wait.  Learn more how lobby management applications can improve service, productivity and sales in the branch here.


New Infographic Shows How to Steer Clear of Costly WFM Mistakes

March 20, 2018

Working from Home

Make no mistake about it: your people are your most valuable competitive differentiator. But are you fully leveraging workforce management processes and technology to engage employees, maximize sales and service, and drive better business outcomes?  Check out our this about how you can steer clear of workforce management mistakes that can impede your competitive success.

  • Optimize staffing, manage absenteeism, and minimize compliance risk
  • Keep employees engaged and empowered to do their best work
  • Gain visibility into the workforce and how it affects business performance

Download the infographic now.