31SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr,Meredith Deen Meredith Deen is the President of FMSI. FMSI provides easy-to-use, yet sophisticated, business intelligence and performance management systems that facilitate efficient staff scheduling and lobby management of the branch. She … Web: www.fmsi.com Details FMSI recently published the 2016 Retail Branch Lobby Study of approximately 780,000 lobby interactions performed in the 3rd quarter of 2015. In our analysis, we found that, since our last Lobby Study in 2013, wait times increased from five minutes and eight seconds to seven minutes and six seconds and the number of visitors who left the branch unassisted (‘abandons’) increased by nearly 12%.FMSI defines ‘abandonment rate’ as the proportion of unassisted visitors to the total number of visitors. When we deep-dived the abandonment rate numbers, the data revealed 55% of the organizations had rates in excess of 5% and 11% had rates over 10%—indicating that many organizations have costly service anomalies in their branches.Just how much this is costing many institutions remains a mystery. However, deriving a cost-basis for each visitor who walks out the door unassisted, in the following simplified example, may be a jaw-dropping revelation to those responsible for the bottom-line of a branch network.Assume a 10-branch bank with an average abandonment rate of 10% across all branches. Let’s say these branches are moderately busy with a total of 200 visitors (20 per branch) visiting to speak to a sales person each day. If 10% of the 200 don’t get assisted, that’s 20 lost opportunities for the organization. If instead of leaving unassisted, these 20 were assisted, and of those 20, 25% (five visitors) resulted in new sales, the organization would have five more sales per day, 25 more sales per week (assuming a five-day work week), 100+ sales per month and 1200+ sales per year! If each sale on average is worth a modest $100 in additional revenue, eliminating abandonment rates could translate into an additional $120,000 in annual revenue.Reducing or Eliminating Abandonment Rates through TechnologyWith nearly a countless number of financial services competitors out there, gone are the days where account holders will tolerate a poor branch experience. If their wait times are excessive, they will not only leave the branch without being assisted, they also may never come back. Institutions can drastically reduce the chances of losing customers to poor branch service when they proactively invest in the following technologies.Appointment Scheduling SoftwareAn appointment booking system not only benefits the visitor by allowing them to define a time where they will be served by a qualified staff member, it also enables the branch scheduling administrators to schedule the right employees, with the right skills at times appointments have been booked. Additionally, appointment setting systems provide valuable insight into visitor’s top-of-mind interests, because a visitor who books an appointment will indicate what product or service they’re interested in discussing, which provides useful insight into what’s driving visitor behavior for marketing to leverage.Lobby Tracking SoftwareA lobby tracking system can provide actionable data by measuring the amount of time each visitor waits, and how long they were assisted by a representative. Sophisticated systems like this also allow users to quickly identify visitors who left the branch unassisted and flag them for follow up. With this information, institutions can establish realistic service goals and ‘inspect what they expect.’Lobby Wait Time WidgetsLobby wait time widgets produce and display a readily available estimated wait time on an institution’s website or mobile app—helping account holders to gauge whether or not they have enough time to visit a branch. This widget is especially useful when the aforementioned appointment scheduling software is readily available when the estimated wait times are undesirable.Scheduling Employees to Forecasted TrafficLabor costs are by far the largest non-interest operating expense in the branch network, especially when considering the higher paid lobby service representatives. Having these frontline staff members staffed appropriately, with an online scheduling solution, to the demand of the branch network—by day of week, and hour—leads to significant savings. Many executives can relate to the feeling of walking into a branch and witnessing two or three employees chatting away by their desks with no customers in sight. The excess waiting for work times, associated with improper scheduling, can often add up to sizable expenses.For the institutions who are investing less in the branch every year, while spending more in online and mobile channels, I would like you to consider this. According to a recent NCR study, approximately 80% of all banking product sales are still closed at a branch. With costly abandonment rates on the rise, it’s imperative that institutions leverage the right technology in the branch to maintain an edge in the competitive service landscape.