Tests have found that, inside a bank branch, digital signage networks:
- Stimulate consumer message awareness;
- Increase customer satisfaction;
- Can increase branch transaction processing, resulting in reduced branch labor costs; and,
- Positively impact revenue/transactional activity.
While such networks inside a bank branch are popular, few deployments have been made at the drive-thru teller line. This is surprising in that it is estimated that 60 to 65 percent of transactions occur at the drive-thru window. And regardless of the movement to online banking, some banks still believe in the benefits of drive-thru banking. For example, TD Bank has drive-thru tellers at about 75 percent of its branches with some 3,000 lanes nationwide. Wells Fargo has 14,000 drive-up banking lanes across 4,000 locations.
It is also interesting to note that some banks have been testing how mobile banking complements the drive-thru option. For example, Wintrust Financial and BMO Harris Bank let customers preorder cash at an ATM through a mobile banking app. Another example is that of Wells Fargo, which tested a method to authenticate a customer from a transaction preorder on an app as a faster way for customers to identify themselves at drive-thru teller lanes.
Digital signage networks inside a bank branch afford various positive attributes. These same benefits can be realized in the drive-thru lane. These include:
- Impacting customer loyalty by delivering relevant messages in an efficient manner;
- Decreasing customer wait time and wait time perceptions;
- Increasing branch productivity;
- Helping in the sale of consultative products and services;
- Aiding customer and employee education; and,
- Facilitating new product/service introductions and promotional trials.
In its assessment of the retail banking industry, PwC estimates that, by 2020, there will be 20 percent fewer bank branches in the U.S. Branch formats are expected to evolve, according to PwC, and take many forms including flagship locations, hubs and kiosks, with digital touchpoints gaining in importance. In the U.S., most retail banks don’t view technology implementation as a key challenge. However, “enhancing customer service” and “implementing new technology” were ranked as the second and third investment priorities in the PwC study.
In summary, customers like bank drive-thru windows. And, as banks continue to define the branch concept, exterior digital signage can play an important role in enhancing customer service by increasing consumer touchpoints and teller interaction.
 See “Test Results from a Bank Branch Digital Communications Network,” PRI Working Paper #6, 2008.
 For example, in a survey of 204 banks conducted in 2013, the Ryan 2013 Digital Signage in Retail Financial Services Report found that “nearly 60 percent of respondents have tested or deployed digital signage in their branches, and that an additional 20 percent intend to do so over the next 12-24 months.”
 See “How Mobile is Bringing Drive-Thru Banking Up to Speed,” American Banker, 5/8/2015.
 See “Impacting the Customer Experience at a Bank Branch Through a Digital Communications Network,” PRI Working Paper #5, 2006.
 See “Retail Banking 2020 Evolution or Revolution?” PwC, 2014.
By Steven Keith Platt, Director and Research Fellow, Platt Retail Institute and Research Director, Retail Analytics Council, Northwestern University