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Visiting a bank branch to sign up for a new account, product or promotional offer is often a needlessly lengthy process. We might spend 10 minutes trying to find someone who can then tell us who we need to speak to, and where to go. We could then spend another 30 minutes standing in a long queue waiting to meet a financial advisor. It could easily be close to an hour before we’re even close to opening an account.

Today’s customers expect instant gratification, so retail banks must find innovative ways to streamline, expedite and personalize the branch experience if they want to remain competitive. One of the easiest ways to do this is to empower employees with mobile apps, real-time voice and video communication, and enterprise-grade mobile devices from Microsoft’s Surface portfolio. Such technologies enable bank employees to work more productively and efficiently, which in turn helps them to build better relationships with individual customers and serve them more quickly.

Let’s take a look at how fictional Contoso Bank uses these technologies to help customer Megan Bowen when she comes into its downtown branch to meet with her financial advisor to discuss the new products she’s been researching online.

When Megan arrives at the branch, she is welcomed by greeter Joni and is asked to swipe her ATM card on the built-in card reader on Joni’s Surface Pro, and to confirm her contact details. Once this is done, Joni’s greeter app displays information about Megan’s multiple Contoso accounts, her recent online banking activity, and even a social media post related to the bank. Joni then receives a list of suggested next actions and confirms Megan’s meeting with financial advisor Isaiah. After receiving a notification to say Isaiah is available, Joni directs Megan to a pre-allocated meeting room equipped with a Surface Hub.

To start the meeting, Isaiah taps his personal near-field communications card on a reader attached to the Surface Hub and enters the security code that he has received via his smartphone. The app automatically retrieves Megan’s financial and account information and displays it on the screen so Isaiah can help her to review how her investments are performing.

Megan decides to increase her investments in emerging markets, so Isaiah actions this adjustment immediately via the app. She also asks about Contoso’s other financial products for emerging markets, but first she wants more detail about their investing strategy. Using the Surface Hub’s built-in Skype for Business feature, Isiah initiates a live conference call with Pradeep, a financial researcher in the emerging markets segment.

Pradeep answers Megan’s questions, while Isaiah makes notes directly onto her investment overview using the Surface Hub’s built-in ink capabilities. He then exports the document to a PDF and e-mails it to Megan so she has a record of the points discussed in the meeting.

Elsewhere in the branch, manager Grady receives a notification that Megan has decided to open a new personal investment account at the branch via his Surface Studio. Grady uses DocuSign technology to electronically sign the necessary paperwork in Microsoft Word. Once signed, the document will be automatically and securely re-routed to Isaiah and Megan for their signatures.

Meanwhile, Grady can use a Power BI dashboard on the Surface Studio to track Isaiah’s sales performance, and review how this new business has impacted on the branch’s goals for both revenue and assets under management.

Although Contoso Bank is fictional, we already have the technologies to make these activities possible. When used effectively, they provide compelling possibilities, and that’s why retail banks worldwide are discovering the benefits of deploying devices from Microsoft’s Surface portfolio to empower their employees. In my next blog, I’ll explore how China Merchant Bank is using Surface Pro to provide video teller services to consumers and enterprise customers.

Click here to find out how Surface Pro, Surface Hub, Surface Studio and other Microsoft devices can help you to transform your in-branch customer experience.

Read more on the Microsoft Banking & Capital Markets and Insurance blogs.