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Steps to Avoid Poor Branch Service

January 26, 2015
By Kip Sweeney, Vice President Client Relations at FMSI

To say that customer service scores are becoming increasingly important is an understatement. Online feedback platforms are as ubiquitous as hashtags on Instagram—and rightfully so, since customer feedback is paramount to a business’s success. Customer service not only impacts the bottom-line, but it also impacts individual compensation and morale.

High traffic offices are faced with the challenge of providing excellent service while minimizing wait times. Want to maximize branch service scores in 2015? Consider the following three strategies:
1. Don’t Overlook the ‘Outlier Experience’

Busy branches tend to have wait times and that’s OK as long as they are within the organization’s defined thresholds of acceptable wait time. Typically, this ranges between three to five minutes. The pitfall occurs when a branch manager looks at an average lobby wait time of five minutes and concludes a job-well-done. Here’s why: If within the five-minute average wait time, some visitors wait 10, 12 or even 15 minutes, there’s a service issue. The solution is to look beyond the typical encounter to ensure all visitors are being attended to within organizational service thresholds.

2. Manage ‘Wait Time’ Perception

Anyone who has spent time waiting on-hold for customer service can relate to this. You call your utility providers with a history of lengthy hold-times and the automated message provides no indication of where you are in line, or how long others in front of you have been waiting. The ambiguity creates anxiety.
Thankfully, many companies are adopting phone systems that notify the caller of how many people are ahead of them and some indication of how long those callers have been waiting. In branches, wait time perception can be managed by mounting external ‘queue’ monitors in the lobby that display the visitor’s place in line along with the arrival time of the individuals in front of them.

3. Use Self-Check-in Kiosks to Alleviate Bottlenecks at the Reception Desk

Busy branches with a single receptionist often create sign-in bottlenecks. An increasing number of banks and credit unions are using self-check-in kiosks combined with sophisticated tracking software, like FMSI’s Omnix Lobby Tracker™ (OLT) to alleviate the burden on the reception counter.
Some kiosks can be relatively inexpensive and all equipment (kiosk stand, touchscreen tablet, face plate) can be acquired for less than a $1000 dollars. When compared to the cost of staffing an additional receptionist, or recouping the cost of losing multiple opportunities to long wait times, a kiosk certainly becomes even more attractive.
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