Sure, we all learned about the traditional five senses of the human body back in grade school. And while some of those classic five senses still make sense while talking about a bank branch and a potential Branch Transformation project, there are both original and new senses that come into play when it relates to retail banking.

So, without further ado, put your lab coat on and join us on a journey of the “5 Senses of a Good Client Experience.”


Yes, one of the classics and probably not a surprise here. We are such visual people and your customers are no different. How would you rate your branch on a visual scale? Does the branch bring a customer in from the outside? How does the branch look when customers are driving by at 40mph? Does it equally hold up (or disappoint) when that same person is pulling into the parking lot? What about when they get out of the car or go through the drive-through?

If you’re cringing to yourself as you read this and assessing these questions to your current branch network, at least take solace in the fact that you’re not alone. And it’s not just about pure aesthetics here. A good paint job really can make a difference, but of course that only goes so far.

Think of this sense more in a brand context. Does the branch deliver on your brand promise? Does it invite people in? Does it hold true to your retail Brand Deployment guidelines? Is your signage bright? Is the lot in good order? All of these need to be asked and answered. If any of them are lacking, your customer’s sense of sight will be compromised and so will their overall experience.


Okay, yes, another classic from our formative years. But this is not so much about tactile sensation, but more so about the items in your branch that need to be touched, or better yet, are asking to be touched. Too often, technology is deployed because it’s believed to be the trendy thing to do. But it’s done with no real strategy behind the machinery, and that’s a dangerous formula. The right technology, like touch screens or tablets, allow your customers to check in, discover new products and/or services, schedule appointments, and even complete online transactions right in the branch. Who knew? Self-serve ATM’s are a great tool to bridge that gap between true self-serve and teller assisted if the transaction, or customer requires it.


Alright, our first curve ball. Yes, Intuition is a sense, and we’re not talking about knowing what someone is going to say before they say it. Think of it like this: the greatest thing potentially said about how intuitive the iPhone’s User Experience (UX) design is the fact that you can give a two year old an iPhone and they will, within minutes, be swiping up and down, opening and closing apps, and probably unknowingly buying tons of Fortnite V-Bucks.

Can you say the same thing about your branch’s Customer Experience (CX)? If you’re not thinking of your branch’s design in experiential terms, today should be the day you begin. Your customers should walk in to each of your branches knowing immediately where to go for what they need, even if they’ve never been there before. And we’re not talking about queueing up immediately among the labyrinthine velvet ropes.


The right sounds are important in a branch, but this doesn’t mean that the customer should be bombarded with noises when they enter a branch. In fact, more often than not, properly deployed digital signage running loops or very well curated content doesn’t even have the sound on. This sense is more about whether your customers are being heard, or perhaps more to the point, whether your tellers are listening to their customers.

When a customer comes in to cash a check, more often than not, small-talk transpires. After several visits, a rapport naturally develops. While customers may be coming in for transactional services, it is during these small engagements where valuable information is likely shared – but is anything being done about it? While you should always train your staff to cross-sell products, deepen relationships and gain more share of wallet, timing is everything. Selling a home loan is not meaningful to the young Millennial who is just starting out in their profession. But the late-stage Millennial who just got engaged may very well be needing a new home in six to twelve months. Now that is a cross-sell opportunity worth mentioning and can easily be discussed if that piece of information is shared during some teller window chatter.


We all have a concept of time. But time can mean different things. And in the world of retail banking and Customer Experience, it means two things: 1) the passing of time in the literal sense and, 2) the experience we’ve had in a more contextual and ephemeral sense.

We’re all busy; probably too busy in our daily lives, and the same goes for our customers. There are expectations that need to be delivered regarding simple transactions, even right up to opening a new account. When customers walk in to your branch, they have an expectation of time needed to complete their need. This actual time transitions into point #2, the experience of the time had. If you deliver on the expectation of their time (point #1) then the customer will perceive their time spent to be a success (point #2).

Ask yourself if you feel that you are delivering on each of these five senses. They are all important and play off one another. The taste of your favorite dish is always elevated when you are first greeted by its enticing smell. The same can be said of a branch. If you can deliver on these five senses of a good client experience, you’re really onto something.

If you feel your branch network is a bit lacking, we’d love for the chance to speak with you. Our team of Design/Build experts know what it takes to develop, design and build a great branch experience that hits on all five senses.

Contact Us today and let’s get started.