Most people do not automatically affiliate the term “retail” with banking. However, that is precisely the description used within the banking industry for services that focus on providing services to consumers. Retail banking typically focuses on consumer oriented banking and financial service products, including checking, savings, money market instruments, residential home loans and business loans. Retail banks are typically located in areas that are accessible and convenient to service a broad base of prospective and existing customers.
Most retail banks focus on the needs of consumers versus commercial account holders. Teller cages are most often dedicated to walk-in consumer patrons. Retail bank tellers are trained to focus on consumer checking and savings needs. Branch managers are trained to offer customer-service issues in regards to those accounts. Commercial account transactions are typically limited to on to two separate stations dedicated to merchant accounts.
Retail banks utilize their internal and external space to promote and cross-sell services. Inside of the bank, customers will see standing floor signs to promote interest rates on mortgages and savings accounts. Desks that house deposit slips are typically topped with brochures about various checking and savings instruments. Tellers might even wear a badge or button that states “ask me about …” to promote new services.
Customer Relationship Management (CRM) techniques are growing in application among most major retail banks. Websites assist and guide current and prospective customers to branch locations. Site visitors are offered the opportunity to provide feedback about their online banking experiences as well as their on-site banking experiences. Retail banks use this information to track and monitor customer satisfaction, gauge the feasibility for new products and services, and to identify areas for improvement of the customer service experience inside of branches.
Retail banks are often governed by state banking regulations in terms of hours of operation. Banks deploy savvy strategies to make sure that no opportunity is missed to service customers. Most understand that customer’s hours may not match bank hours. As a result, most retail banks have ATM machines that can accommodate every banking need from making a deposit and inquiring about account balances, to transferring funds between checking and savings accounts. Banks are now also offering their services inside of major grocery stores, retail super stores, gas stations and convenience stores, to make their services accessible on a 24-hour basis so customers have “touch point” access to retail banking services near where they work, live and shop.
Retail banks have a major marketing mission to increase new customers. They utilize many advertising tactics and strategies to achieve their new customer goals. This often includes broadcast television and radio advertising, print and magazine advertising, and public relations efforts to sponsor national and local events. Some retail banks will provide a cash reward up to several hundred dollars to open a new account. The overall goal is to increase new accounts, among both prospective and existing customers. Banks capture information to rate and rank new customers via information furnished on credit applications to assess credit worthiness and approve new account applications.