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Best Practices for Enhancing Frontline Efficiency in Banking

4 min read
Feb 21, 2024

Employees on the frontline are some of the most recognized and busy members of your financial institution's staff. They serve consumers and meet their needs while helping your institution meet its strategic goals. 

It’s a balancing act – one that requires continuous access to updated information. How can you ensure your frontline is working as efficiently as possible? Make sure you give them the right tools. 

Here are five ways to help your frontline maximize operational efficiency to benefit consumers and the bottom line.

1. Make it easier to cross-sell products and services

Ready for an alarming fact? Your financial institution probably isn’t the only one your customers and members are working with. An old (but still relevant) study of retail banking from Deloitte reveals that 19% of consumers own three or more products from their primary institutions, while 49% own three or more products from other institutions. 

As banks and credit unions introduce new products, increasingly partnering with fintechs for new sources of revenue, they need to sell them to current consumers. FIs also need to show consumers the benefit of buying existing products from them rather than elsewhere – from life insurance to credit cards. 

This is where your frontline employees come in – they can’t sell products if they don’t know about them (or know where to find information about them).

If you want to make it easier to cross-sell, make it easy for staff to find up-to-date product information. Whether it’s the latest interest rates for loans and certificates of deposit or the ability to quickly compare product features and pricing to find the best match for a consumer, having access to information makes it easier to initiate conversations and speak confidently about the benefits of products and services.

Quick, periodic training also serves as a great employee refresher on best practices for cross-selling. This can be posted online to your company’s internal site and tracked to ensure it’s viewed by the right people.

2. Stop wasting their time digging for documents

When consumers enter your bank or credit union to complete a wire transfer or other transaction, they expect a seamless experience. 

Imagine their frustration as your teller feverishly combs through a binder, searching for the correct form. Financial institutions that rely on manual processes for document management not only move slower, but they also lose out on income when staff appears slow, disorganized, and incapable. It does not instill the confidence you want to project to your customers. 

A centralized document management system that stores forms, policies and procedures, and other essential banking documents makes your frontline more efficient and increases revenue.

Related: Spreadsheets Aren’t Free: 5 Hidden Costs 

Here are a couple of the benefits of making key banking documents available to frontline employees:

  • Swiftly answering consumer questions increases loyalty: Lost income because your frontline staff doesn’t know how to process a transaction may be the least of your worries. When your FI fails to respond to consumers' needs, those consumers will seek out an institution better equipped to answer their questions. 
  • Having the correct documents is essential to frontline efficiency: Who edited this Excel spreadsheet of rates? How old is this procedure for opening a new account? The problem with manual document management is that your frontline employees might not have the latest forms, policies and procedures, and other banking documents.

Forcing your frontline staff to hunt down the most recent documents and forms leads to employee frustration, consumer dissatisfaction, and lost revenue. This can be corrected by building a streamlined documentation workflow system that flows downstream to your frontline.

Related: 5 Ways to Show Your Files Some Love and Better Manage Risk

3. Cut down on emails

You hate it when your inbox is full of unanswered emails. Guess what? Your frontline staff hates it, too. 

Not only do employees hate email – it's also a productivity killer. A study by McKinsey showed that the average professional spends 28% of their day reading and answering emails.   

Providing frontline employees with a dedicated portal to search for the information they need drastically reduces email volume. The email tidal wave is further reduced when financial institutions have a portal for the help desk and other common requests. These portals generate work tickets that make it easier for staff to manage their workload without adding bulk to their inbox. 

Transforming your financial institution’s communication culture from ask first to search first and introducing work tickets to manage requests pays enormous dividends in frontline staff efficiencies. Employees no longer spend more than 25% of their working hours reading and responding to emails. They can engage in more productive activities, such as (and just off the top of our heads) serving consumers.

Related: How a Company Intranet Can Improve Employee Efficiency By 30%

4. Improve employee onboarding

An organized onboarding process enhances frontline efficiency and overall banking performance. The Brandon Hall Group, a recognized leader in HR consultancy, discovered that effective onboarding improves retention by 82% and performance by 70%.   

Financial institutions with employee onboarding portals perform better in both categories. 

Below are some of the benefits of having an employee onboarding portal: 

  • Offers a checklist new hires can easily follow 
  • Delivers a personalized onboarding experience 
  • Showcases an FI’s company culture to new employees 
  • Inspires new hires to participate in training 
  • Encourages feedback on onboarding processes 
  • Makes it easy to find resources 

New employees will have questions. Driving recent hires to your employee portal creates a successful onboarding experience, higher retention rates, and increased productivity.

5. Engage employees

It’s no secret that banks and credit unions sometimes struggle with employee retention – especially among younger employees. 54% of banks responded that retaining younger talent presents difficulties, according to a survey from Crowe LLP 

Employee turnover is an inefficiency that can be addressed by better understanding what employees want.  

Frontline employees, regardless of generation, are motivated by more than compensation. Surveys indicate that frontline staff desire greater job fulfillment and engagement.

Related: Creating a Company Culture Built on Connections

Employee engagement platforms are a must-have for financial institutions of all sizes. From receiving recognition for a job well done, posting career and volunteer opportunities, and celebrating birthdays and work anniversaries, engagement platforms build and sustain your culture. A welcoming workplace is an efficient workplace.

Ready to boost frontline efficiency?

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