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Joy - Mar 12, 2021

Expert Round-Up - Bancassurance - How to Handle Reductions in Walk-In Traffic

Our Round-Up series is based on collecting and collating insight from industry experts on how to solve industry problems.

We have asked a panel of Bancassurance Experts* for ways to address reductions in walk-in traffic, as with fewer people physically visiting banks, fewer leads can be referred to the insurance/investment specialists traditionally based there.

Even before COVID-19, banks have been seeing a reduction in walk-in traffic. This is mainly due to customers’ adoption of- and preference to- online services, as well as the knock-on effect of a reduced number of branches. COVID-19 has definitely hastened the switch, and those banks embracing the change, benefit.

Our gurus have made the following suggestions to handle reductions in walk-in traffic:

  •  Move from Reactive to Proactive Agents. Traditionally bancassurance agents react to customer requests and needs, and one expert suggested converting this reactive channel into a proactive channel by feeding them lead opportunities for new customers, as well as cross-sales to existing customers. Value-Ad's Smart Lead Management process enables and optimises this shift.

  • Adopting technology that enables non-face-to-face interactions such as video conferencing and virtual whiteboards. COVID has definitely accelerated this adoption. However, this can extend beyond conferencing software like Zoom. An example given was creating decentralised call centres by installing telephone infrastructure in the branch network so that staff don’t need to meet face to face but still carry out a ‘local market’ strategy.

  • Using natural attrition to address headcount allocations and reshape resourcing strategy at a local market level where there is a significant drop in demand.

  • Identifying and specialising in the types of transactions that the walk-in crowd will come back for. An example could be finding ways to convert high value transaction online searches and traffic to offline footfall for desired in-branch transactions/customers where the in-branch experience must be worth the trip.

  • Advertising or promoting the type of help offered by specialists in a branch e.g. complex transaction advice, while encouraging standard and straight forward transitions to be made online. For example, in the past a customer would have had to visit a branch to open a fixed deposit account, but now some banks are offering the full range of fixed deposit transactions online including opening, depositing, early withdrawals, and closing. Your customers need to know that.

  • Eye-grabbing signage and promotions at the branches to maximise appeal to walk-ins.

  • Updating products and services  so more relevant or attractive to walk-in customers.

  • Changing branch operating hours  to match the ebb and flow of traffic. 

  • Bringing the branch to the customer.  In the case of higher-value transactions for complex purchases like insurance or structured products that require input from a Relationship Manager (RM), the RM could meet with the customer virtually or the RM can meet at the customer’s favourite coffee shop to advise on their financial planning needs.

  • Transforming the bank branch to be more like a lifestyle location that has a financial planning resource library or cafe like atmosphere where people can buy good coffee, and while they relax a friendly Relationship Manager will be available to advise and share tips on financial issues. Not all people will use the banking services but they may result in incidental business by being there as a walk-in. There could be interactive kiosks, tablets with the latest resources and money tips, and places to sit around and take it all in. This concept could also include influencers or experts and go beyond selling products.

There are definitely “pro”s and “con”s to these ideas, some are easier to implement than others, and some make more business sense than others. But in adapting to the new reality that has a desirable and beneficial balance between online and in-store traffic, we will all need to think out-of-the-box and consider and try new things.

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Notes:
Bancassurance- is an arrangement between a bank and an insurance company allowing the insurance company to sell its products to the bank's client base. A large component of the bancassurance business has been walk-ins into the bank branch.

Industry Experts- 10 Bancassurance specialists and veterans from the following countries: Singapore, Australia, Netherlands, Thailand and South Africa.

Written by Joy