Only through 30+ years of working closely with financial institutions can you get the full picture and evolution of an innovative branch model. The financial crisis nearly 10 years ago coupled with the advancement of the digital age has dramatically changed the way customers feel and act toward their money. Understanding how you can utilize technology to further enhance and personalize your customers’ experience is what a “branch of the future” truly is.
KNOWING WHERE YOU’VE BEEN WILL PREPARE YOU FOR THE FUTURE.
Labarre Associates has successfully partnered with financial institutions in the shared goal of addressing the needs of today, while always keeping an eye on how to bridge the gap to tomorrow. In the last 8 years alone, the company has collaborated with over 14 banks and credit unions to update over 50 branches across the Gulf South. Today, about 50 to 60 percent of their financial sector business encompasses updating branch models to be more customer-centric. The key to their repeat success is being able to offer clients their “One Source, One Solution” turn-key approach which leverages expertise across real estate, architecture, construction, and strategic facility planning. Having all of this under one roof is a major competitive advantage for Labarre.
LABARRE FLIPS THE SCRIPT TO UNCOVER HOW TO TRANSFORM ENVIRONMENTS THAT WORK FOR YOU.
Labarre earned this advisory position by understanding that there isn’t a “one-size-fits-all” branch solution. Traditional approaches to building branches involved only interfacing with major decision makers. Labarre continues to lead through their process which begins with kick off meetings that bring in not only C-level decision makers but day-to-day managers and key employees that work at the branch. From a high level, Labarre’s goal is to understand their most profitable products and services, how that relates to employee functions, what it means for customers, and how the built environment can support future expansion for the company.
When it comes to the day-to-day employees, Labarre believes it’s important to hear directly from the people working in the space so that recommendations can be provided that meet both an aesthetically pleasing design with functional requirements that adhere to their budget. For example, the team at Labarre learned through their process that the tellers at one organization felt safer in an enclosed office without windows. This room allowed them to concentrate on additional work that needed to be done and to take a break from the client-facing interaction throughout the day.
This reinforces the approach of blending not only a beautiful branch design but one that is functional for your employees so they could do their best work.
REPUTATION AND TRUST CAN ONLY BE EARNED. LET US SHOW YOU FIRST HAND.
Labarre emphasizes that the foundation of trust they’ve built with their clients has been the key to their success. Their clients are trusting Labarre to take them from a traditional branch model to a new retail style that can be perceived as a large investment without offering concrete ROI.
In the digital age, Labarre has come to understand that a physical connection continues to play an even stronger role when customer engagement is the name of the game. Workers are no longer bogged down having to look at a screen, or busy counting cash which affords them more opportunities to look directly at a customer, therefore providing a better customer service experience. Technology then naturally becomes just another tool and the familiar face adds to the security and confidence that your particular transaction is being handled properly.
For potential clients that want to update their branch but are unsure which type of design would be best suited for them, Labarre offers an easy solution: Let us show you.
Labarre says they’ve had tremendous success with this approach because clients are able to walk into the different environments, experience it for themselves, and even talk to staff that are actively using these new branch models. Once they choose an initial thought or direction, Labarre can help custom fit solutions for their branch.
INDUSTRY TRENDS AND HOW TO SIFT THROUGH THE NOISE
As markets and business environments continue to change over time, businesses realize that change is needed to stay relevant and valuable in the eyes of customers. To banks and credit unions that are hesitant to make the shift in new technologies and branch design, Labarre puts things into perspective with an example everyone is now becoming familiar with: Capital One Cafés.
This Test-and-Learn model is at the core of Labarre’s process which allows for a deep understanding of exactly what steps can be taken that are proportional to their client’s goals and—more importantly—budget. Labarre follows trends with the intent of identifying and forecasting improvements in an effort to reinforce the ease of doing business. Their leadership team also leverages trends in an effort to identify warning signs early on which round out the initial conversations about strategic and practical goals vs. long-term catalyst for change. At the end of the day, businesses all share a common goal of increased efficiency by leveraging technology to best serve clients.