This project began simple and grew into something big. We were first engaged by NCR who had been working with Wells Fargo on implementing new self-service teller hardware. The challenge posed to us was to conceive a new branch experience using a new digital solution that offered a high level of customer engagement during the day, even as customers handled their own transactions, and then in the after-hours, made the same solution available as traditional ATMs. It all had to fit within 900 square feet. The intent was to add a new self-service type branch to Wells Fargo’s existing portfolio that would fit within tight urban locations and be engaging for the bank’s customers.
One of the key challenges was space. To accomplish the new program in such a small footprint, we created an architectural device that could mutate from one condition to a second, different condition—what we referred to as a wall with two faces. This meant that many of the pieces were interwoven. We spent much time working through the necessary levels of privacy for peopleinteracting within close proximity to one on another, and finding ways to do a lot in a small amount of space. The design was essentially a large Rubics cube that each time something was adjusted, it effected something else. This was a challenge when things changed, but a benefit for the manufacture and build of the environment and utilization of space.
The other biggest challenge was sales. Wells Fargo, as any bank, needs to have a profitable store in order to keep its doors open. This was especially challenging as the intent for the new format was to be transactionally efficient—during the peak of lunch times many people could quickly move in and out of the store while fulfilling their need. The sales challenge was solved through technology and space. A CRM program was built-into the tablet computer that each of the staff had. Each staff member had full view of who was each machine, and recommended sales opportunities. The second aspect, space, was the ability for staff to engage with a customer and move them from the digital solution to an office environment with only a few steps. The key was to not lose an opportunity because we had to walk a customer back to an office. Staff can engage immediate to the opportunity.
Sales at the new neighborhood stores exceeded set goals by over 200% in the first six months and then slightly less thereafter. One staff member of one of the new stores referred to the design as a “incredible sales tool” in the ease with which they could convert from a lead to a sale.
Although the neighborhood store was intended to supplement Wells Fargo’s existing branch portfolio, they were so happy with the new design that the look and experience was set as the new standard for all branches, and they began to retrofit existing branches with the new look and choreography.
- Wall Street Journal
- New York Times
- The Financial Brand