What Banks Can Learn From My 4-Year-Old's Field Trip to The Apple Store

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1 May 2013
Jacob Jegher
I recently had the opportunity to accompany my four year on a school field trip to the Apple Store. Frankly, I had no idea that Apple even offered school field trips. Not only do they offer field trips, they offer FREE field trips. It's a pretty simple formula. Get the little ones into the store, delight them with a fantastic experience, and instill the desire for Apple products. The kids will then of course start to beg their parents for an iPad or iPod Touch. I have to say that the field trip experience was extraordinary. We entered the store in the early AM, prior to opening. A team of Apple Store staffers greeted us with thunderous applause and proceeded to hand out t-shirts to all the kids. The children were then directed to take a seat in front of one of the many iPads that were setup on the large square tables. Each student had access to their own iPad and was neatly seated around the giant tables. One of the staff members then walked them through basic iPad use, including using the camera, opening apps, etc. The kids had a ball (so did this parent). While we were finishing up, a group of senior citizens began to arrive for a session on how to use Pages. Why am I telling you this story? The experience got me thinking about what all this means for banking. The branch isn't dead, even if branch density is on the decline. The role of the branch has to be reinvented. What can banks take away from my Apple Store experience?
  • Use the branch as a training center. Roll out the large square tables equipped with multiple iPads. Offer training sessions on how to use online/mobile banking, seminars on financial education, etc. This can be used as a method to boost digital banking adoption. Sessions can also emphasize solutions that have lower adoption rates (e.g. bill pay, PFM). In-branch training can also be geared to certain age groups. I would love to take my four year old on a field trip to the bank and have it be an educational and fun experience!
  • Provide access to digital tools when training is not taking place. Customers should be able to come up to the table and play around with the equipment. Let them open accounts, login to existing accounts, book an appointment, view interactive brochures, etc.
This is just the tip of the iceberg, clearly a lot more can be done with branch real estate. Some banks are starting to go this route, with somewhat different twists: [caption id="attachment_3575" align="aligncenter" width="397"]Citi work bench The Citi Work Bench[/caption] And for those of you wondering, yes, my daughter has requested (and been denied) a "mini iPad." I'm looking forward to the day when she voluntarily asks me for a savings account.

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