Early on, banks focused on improving the digital experience for their customers. While digitizing the banking experience was an important development, it had the unfortunate side effect of downplaying the branch’s role in the customer experience.

Recent research by Celent shows why customer experience at the bank branch matters. Celent’s report, “Delivering Excellent Customer Service: When and How Consumers Prefer Face-to-Face Engagement and What It Means for Banks,” explains how customers prefer to engage with their banks and the role banking technology plays in those interactions. Retail offers a variety of lessons for banks about customer experience as they review the experience across multiple channels.

Celent’s report found that, while customers prefer digital channels for simple transactions, they want face-to-face interactions for complex or substantive conversations. The report also found that a bad branch experience was a top reason customers gave for switching banks.

That’s why banks are now exploring how technology can improve the customer experience in every interaction. “Banks are using best practices from retail to enhance the customer experience across every channel,” says Julie Godfrey, manager of finance solutions and innovation at Samsung Electronics America.

Following the example of retail, mobile apps let bank customers check-in and review wait times at local branches. Branch employees use wearable devices to know when customers arrive so they can be greeted by staff. If the customer wants to see a loan specialist, the employee alerts the specialist through the wearable device. The loan officer can meet the customer in the lobby armed with a tablet to begin their conversation, and can move effortlessly to a private office where the tablet can be docked to a keyboard.

All this technology works seamlessly to create a smooth branch banking customer experience.

Take a look at the infographic below to learn more about why banking customers across all demographics value bank branch offices.