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Understanding the role of bank and insurance branches in the Digital Age

Using a service design approach to uncover digitally-enabled store formats and concepts

The challenge

As both an insurer and bank, Suncorp is known across Australia for different offerings. As the primary insurer that automatically covered the victims of the 2011 Queensland floods, the brand is beloved up north but has much lower brand recognition in the southeastern states.

To mitigate these discrepancies and improve customer digital adoption rates, Suncorp Group set out to re-imagine its retail stores in 2017/2018.

Suncorp Group asked The Customer Experience Company (CEC) to explore three target areas:

  • Why do customers visit stores?
  • How can our store strategy best support our network of brands?
  • What are the store concepts or formats that will best support the digital experience from a customer’s perspective?

The situation

The approach

The research

Our research approach combined exploratory research and concept testing to understand customer needs and expectations.

It begun with using existing strategy documentation to understand the current Suncorp Group landscape, and conducted mystery shopping visits and a market scan to explore branch trends in Australia and around the world.

The findings

Based on the research, we developed a card sorting activity and ten store concepts to test with real-life customers.

While the card sorting activity focused on customers’ channel preferences, concepts were specific to stores, and ranged from shopping centre kiosks to virtual lending facilities to mobile specialists.

These materials were then tested during our in-depth interviews with Suncorp Group customers, non customers, and store managers. Interviews took place in Brisbane and Melbourne, and allowed us to probe into the differing perceptions of Suncorp Group brands, as well as customer needs and constraints relating to the in-store experience.

The solution

Our approach embedded the customer into design and strategy development.

As a result of customer testing sessions, we developed a set of insights and recommendations for future store improvements, which are currently being reviewed as part of Suncorp Group planning.

Taking an iterative, service design approach enabled us to define strategic themes for Suncorp Group stores as well as tactical fixes. In doing so, our findings can be used to ensure the maximum adoption of future stores.

We uncovered recurring themes and developed recommendations as a culmination of customer testing, store visits, staff interviews and mystery shopping. It was about identifying the reasons customers choose to visit stores the desirable characteristics of with Suncorp banking and insurance channels.

After identifying the key customer needs, we also listed barriers, opportunities and desirable characteristics when creating a more 'digitised' store experience.

The impact

We developed a set of insights and recommendations for future store improvements, which were used as part of Suncorp Group planning.

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