Co-creating new in-person experiences

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We’re transforming ATB’s branch experience and bringing in inspiration from different industries to create the optimal experience for our customers. It is more important than ever for the in-person experience to be an extension of the brand and to represent the human-face of the company. This expectation not only applies to the banking industry, but also to industries such as retail and hospitality.

As we transform the in-branch experience, we know that pooling our chips will help us leverage the collective knowledge of staff and customers to marry the ATB story with the experience of entering a branch.

That means that one of the most important parts of the transformation is to listen to the needs of Albertans. Part of this journey is a collaboration with ATB team members working in branches and co-creating directly with ATB customers.

The process of transformation is much more than researching trends in other industries or undertaking customer surveys. We’ve committed resources to the pre-work of understanding our network of physical spaces. This included a process of evaluating each branch, its role in the network, business performance, facility costs, space details, current customer experience, and important factors about the community that the branch serves.

The first step in the co-creation process is the data-driven evaluation of our branches as a network, rather than optimizing each location in isolation. We have hypotheses, but we won’t know for sure until we’ve heard it from our customers.

That is where co-creation comes in. Our goal is to uncover the key insights about the customer journey, the defining moments, and how we can use our physical environments to enhance the customer experience.

As we design the optimal branch experience, we’ll be incorporating  

  • Service design - principles & practices of team members in the branch. What skills and training they need and what behaviours deliver the experience customers desire.
  • Environment design - physical space design that creates the desired atmosphere for customers.
  • Technology design - tech that supports the experience - how are we leveraging technology for a superior branch experience.

Through the co-creation process, we’ll be discovering the type of customer experience that we need to build into our branch design and the feelings that we want customers to walk away feeling after visiting an ATB branch. While we learn what the customer experience should be, here are a few things that we know it is not:

Customer experience is not the same as customer service. The ‘experience’ portion is about understanding the touch points across the entire journey. How do we use the branches as a platform to discover more about our customers? How do we leverage in-person interactions to build trust faster and enable better service across all platforms?

Customer experience is not high tech for the sake of being ‘cool.’ Tech should enable, save time, and build relationships. The tech solution itself is not the answer. For example, a customer might say that they find pulling out their driver's licence for identification clumsy and they would prefer biometrics - but what they want is more efficient authentication, whatever the technology implementation.

Customer experience is not a about designing aspects in isolation. It is rather the culmination of touchpoints across the customer journey. Reducing the friction in the journey. Form and function in our branches are complementary. Efficiency of space use is equally important to optimizing how customers move through the space. Sensory stimulation should be meaningful and pleasing, but may also achieve a desired outcome, like learning or reinforcing shared values.

Customer experience is not a singular problem to be solved, but rather an iterative journey. That means that our branch design should be flexible enough to evolve over time.

We don’t have all the answers yet, but the path to get there is deeply rooted in customer experience and how we can use our branch locations to connect with our customers in ways that we haven’t been able to before.

Ultimately, humans want to interact with humans. Though the ability to bank online and on-the-go is essential, we are betting on a future where physical branches are still a crucial part of our business. We are here to serve, and branches provide the enormous opportunity for ATB to build personal connections with our customers, discover more about their needs, and find the defining moments for each individual’s financial journey.

We’re always looking for great people to join us on our journey - explore open opportunities with ATB’s Transformation team.