How branches contribute to digital performance
By completing their digital transformation journey, retail banks have to define how physical and digital channels will both collaborate and contribute to key objectives : accelerating digital adoption, delivering superior customer experience, boosting revenue generation and optimizing operation costs.
The required integration model between physical and digital channels – called Phygital integration model - is a key component of retail banks’ digital transformation dynamics.
As of today, the situation on the market place is highly heterogeneous in this area. We can observe various models implemented by retail banks in Spain that question the current control of phygital integration within their digital transformation program.
First, in Spain, only one bank gets over average satisfaction scores on both physical (ie. branches) and digital channels (ie. mobile apps)
In the context of its 2019 digital performance rating campaign, D-Rating analyzed google scores of retail bank branches (a sample of 7000+ branches of 11 retail banks was analyzed) and the average grades of applications on the App Store and Google Play over the last 12 months.
The comparison between those two metrics allowed to underline 4 distinct performance positions in terms of customer satisfaction on physical vs. digital channels.
1. The Digital-First position – It is typically the position of BBVA. The bank has the best average scores on the App Store and Google Play, but is one of the worst actors when it comes to branch scores. Companies located in the same quadrant are taking into account digital transformation seriously, but at the cost of losing points in the branches.
2. The Physical-First position – ING Spain is positionned in this area. The average google score of ING Spain branches is above market average but the bank scores low on mobile application stores. Companies located in this quadrant are generally strongly focused on customer relationship management with a traditional view about it, but are yet to achieve a high level of digital reliability or maturity.
3. The Phygital-Balanced position – Abanca is today the only bank in Spain in this position. Both branches and mobile apps reached satisfaction scores above market average. Phygital and digital channels are managed with a similar level of importance, and it is certainly a favourable context to support an efficient omnichannel strategy.
4. The nowhere position – Banks in this position have a serious customer satisfaction score problem and urgently need to diagnose and manage this issue.
A satisfaction score on google or on stores are not necessarily objective expressions of average customer satisfaction.
a low score is often linked to frequent reliability issues
satisfaction scores can impact e-reputation and influence buying behaviors
digital champions are systematically managing these metrics by encouraging happy customers to rate delivered services
Second, we observed high discrepancy between expressed satisfaction and phygital integration performance
D-Rating measures phygital integration performance by analyzing information on branches available on the web, on social networks and by carrying out “mystery shopping”. For each evaluated bank, several branches were visited to test the digital awareness of employees, their capability to help customers run specific functionalities of the mobile app, the digital equipment in branches, the data collected by branches for digital communication with prospects etc.
The overall phygital integration score provides visibility on the capability of branches to contribute to the development of digital adoption by customers.
2019 D-Rating data show an important spread of phygital integration scores of retail banks in Spain - with an unexpected overall ranking in relation with satisfaction scores analysis :
ING Belgium, in its physical-first position, is also the phygital integration top performer,
BBVA, Digital-First in terms of satisfaction scores, has a market average phygital integration score,
Abanca, the only phygital-balanced bank in Spain, is one of the worst performer in terms of phygital integration.
Finally, the winning phygital model is probably not yet in place in Spain.
Abanca, BBVA and ING Spain are demonstrative exemples of 3 phygital models currently in place on the spanish market, and none of these models appear as the perfect one :
Abanca : Customers are happy with branches and with apps, but branches do not contribute to accelerate digital adoption by customers. Despite good overall grades on both channels, Abanca hardly manages to create a global hybrid ecosystem for its customers. Consequently, there is an unexploited opportunity to be among top performers in terms of digital usage.
BBVA : Satisfaction on App is high. But a poor satisfaction score on branches and in-average phygital integration performance do not contribute efficiently to the acceleration of digital adoption by customers. There is a risk of creating a 2-speed digital adoption depending on generational categories of customers.
ING Spain : Customers are happy with branches and branches are relevant in their role of helping customers adopt digital. But then, satisfaction on app is not at the top. There is potentially a risk to exacerbate digital frustration and become counterproductive in terms of digital adoption by customers.
More consistent phygital models exist in other markets. Crédit Agricole in France and KBC in Belgium are the 2 retail banks among the 50 ones evaluated by D-Rating in 2019 that combined high phygital integration score and high satisfaction scores in both physical and digital channels.