How to Staff Branches in the Digital Age

By: Mike Lehr, Human Resources Consultant

The digital age has hit branches hard. Lines out the door no longer exist. Patterns of activity flatten with each passing day. Activity spikes can occur anytime. How should banks staff their branches in the digital age?

In the past, banks relied on transaction-based staffing models to answer these questions. In the digital age, these models show staff reductions year after year. Transactions are going down. From our studies and experience, community banks staff to peak demand for the week. That means for rest of the week excess capacity exists. Staff is idle. Now, the busiest time of day is when employees open and close branches. It is not when customers transact.

Still, customers need help. It is a different kind of help. It is not about transactions. It is about sales. The digital age has blown the doors off product and service offerings. It is no longer just accounts and loans. It is no longer about what kind of accounts and loans. It is about the many ways to access them. The ways to do business with banks have spread like weeds.

Customers still need help from a person. It is not help with transactions though. It is help with understanding what banks can do for them. It is advising. It is consulting. It is selling. Traditional transaction models do not deal with selling. They are about transactions. Reducing staff can reduce selling. The question becomes, “What are your people really doing?”

The digital age is turning branches into sales offices. Staffing models need to account for sales. It is about new accounts. It is about referrals. It is about cross selling. How much time does it take to do these things? How much time does it take to do them well?

Selling is more complicated than transacting. It is a team effort. Tellers could act as assistants for sales personnel. They could research customer data. They could identify customers who might need additional help. They could make up the call lists for customer service representatives, loan officers, and branch managers. Still, it boils down to what your people are doing. How much time is it taking? How much downtime is there? How much time are they selling? The answers will most likely surprise.

If you would like to learn more how Young & Associates, Inc. can help you answer these questions for your bank and your people, contact Mike Lehr at 1.800.525.9775 or click here to send an email.