Our latest bank research reveals surprisingly short queues in branches – does this match the experience at your branch, or do you beg to differ? Is it time to re-assess the stereotypical image of branch banking?
An average waiting time of just two and a half minutes and a longest wait of just under 12 minutes? I’d be lying if I said that we weren’t surprised by the findings of our latest research into bank branches.
My own recent experience of queuing in banks had led me to believe that we would find plenty of queues snaking out of the door and round the block, but perhaps this is, in fact, the exception rather than the rule.
Which leads me to wonder why we found such short queues? Is it really that the banks have bucked their ideas up and improved their in-branch service? Or is it that so many of us now bank online that the number of customers using branches has dipped to such a level that the staff are finally able to cope?
Whatever the reason, if it’s the thought of long queues that are putting you off visiting your branch, it may be time to think again.
Re-thinking the bank branch
Most of us need to use a bank branch at some point – whether it’s for something simple like paying in a cheque or for slightly more complex reasons like opening a new account.
It seems to me that for banks and building societies who want to attract and keep new customers, ensuring a happy and convenient experience when they do need to see someone face-to-face is key to maintaining this relationship.
New entrants to the banking arena, such as Metrobank, have latched onto this idea of good in-branch service as a key marketing tool, and NatWest/RBS has branch banking at the heart of several of the commitments within its Customer Charter. (That said, NatWest had the longest average waiting time in our research, so perhaps the bank is falling short on some of its commitments.)
More than just a queue
A good branch isn’t just about short queues though – we found quite big differences in terms of the services available within branches as well.
Some banks, such as Halifax, were pretty good at providing automated paying-in and cash machines in their branches, but if you’re hoping to skip the queue for the cashier in a Post Office, you’ll probably be out of luck as very few had automated machines in their branches.
A good bank branch will have plenty of information easily available too – about the interest rates on its saving accounts, for example. Once again, we found some banks were much better than others at making this sort of information easily available to their customers.
So what’s your bank branch like? Does the thought of long queues put you off using it, or are you a regular visitor and entirely happy with the service you get?