Banks into hubs: OCBC NISP embraces guesthouse-feel branches
Select outlets draw on a mix of batik and contemporary aesthetic and feature special aromatherapies.
Banks have long recognised and acted upon the disruption brought about by non-bank players. Although some banks have tried to mitigate the impact by making online banking more convenient to their customers so they can avoid having to go through long lines and a lot of papers, OCBC NISP envisioned to bring people back to bank branches by reducing the look and feel of the stuffy bank branch and make them feel like they are in comfortable guesthouses.
In October 2018, OCBC NISP unveiled its guesthouse-feel branches which are integrated in luxury hotels and located in big cities such as Jakarta, Tangerang, Bandung, Denpasar-Bali, Pontianak, and will soon launch in Surabaya.
“We changed the bank look and feel from conservative tone to modern, yet friendly. By injecting local insights of the importance of family value and injecting our Indonesian culture in our design, it shows the pride as an Indonesian bank. To ensure a pleasant experience to our customers, we also creates special scents for our customers to enjoy,” Andrae Krishnawan W, managing director at OCBC NISP told Asian Banking and Finance.
In a design process that took around twelve months to realise, OCBC NISP’s revamped branches are adorned with paintings and ornaments of batik patterns, linking contemporary design space with the Indonesian heritage. The design draws on the professional ambiance of a luxury hotel but aims to recreate the personal touch of a home through special fragrances wafting through the air.
“For example, we display never-ending S pattern from Batik Parang that symbolise bank’s commitment to grow together with our customers. In addition, each area are also complemented with special scented aromatherapy to increase the customer experience and satisfaction,” the director explained.
Aside from the physical refurbishments, Krishnawan revealed that the bank had to deal with internal enhancements to make sure that the client-facing employees are trained properly to assist and service customers and prospective clients by providing knowledge on financial management.
“In our transformations processes, we go beyond just an exterior exercise as we strongly believe that a combination of strong knowledge, simple process and flawless customer experience is the key to deliver a new and comfortable banking experience,” he explained. “Our operation team works in simplifying all processes that needs to be done in the branch.”
OCBC NISP’s premium guest house features specialised areas which promote their guest house concept, starting with the Welcome Area where they manage the customer flow with a typical Indonesian greeting. From there, guests are led to the two main areas depending on their needs - the Smart Area and the Premium Living Space.
“To support knowledge sharing process, customers who need information or want to discuss more about financial management solutions are able to meet with the Relationship Manager at the Premium Living Space,” Krishnawan explained.
The Smart Area, which is accessible to the mass/retail segment, serves customers that need to conduct simple transactions independent of a customer relations agent by using the mobile device provided in the area. Meanwhile, the Premium Living Space is equipped with sofa sets filled with various paintings and ornaments of batik patterns. The director noted that the bank fused a contemporary design space with their Indonesian heritage.
OCBC NISP is just one of the several banks across Asia that have been enhancing interior environments and deploying a number of alternatives like biometric verification solutions to battle declining customer footfall. Krishnawan believes that despite the ongoing migration of banking services to mobile, the bank branch is still a necessary component to interface with clients.
“With the rapid changes in today’s world, the role of branch needs to shift to help customer aspirations through knowledge sharing and solution offered by the bank to meet the customer’s need and aspiration, today and tomorrow,” he said. “This innovative premium guest house concept encapsulates what we believe to be our future way of banking.”