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By Dave Clifton
Every adult will find themselves in a bank at some point, for one reason or another. Sometimes it’s just to deposit a check or make a withdrawal. Other times, it’s to meet with a mortgage or a loan officer. Many banks also offer numerous ancillary services such as investment planning and debt counseling. All told, not every person’s visit to the bank is the same, and they deserve the space to ensure they’re getting the assistance they need. It all boils down to bank space utilization.
The rise of online banking has only made banking institutions and facilities even more important. The ability to handle most simple financial transactions online means that people are more likely to visit when there’s a more delicate or complex financial matter. The ability to help them in a comfortable, welcoming environment is paramount.
Whether it’s a loan officer meeting or an opportunity to talk about investments, banks can set the tone for customers through proper space utilization. That means using space appropriately, and making sure it’s accessible.
What is bank space utilization?
Bank space utilization involves allocating and using space within facilities for the purposes of serving customers—and doing it efficiently. Do you have private mortgage offices? Conference rooms for family financial planning? Space for patrons to queue as they wait for a teller? Banks need to understand why people visit, then utilize available square footage accordingly to meet those needs.
Space utilization is both a metric and an objective. As a metric, it provides insight into how efficient facilities are. If you have 12 mortgage offices and only 10 mortgage officers, those two rooms might sit idle. You have a utilization rate of ~83%. Looking at the utilization rate across different areas of facilities sheds light on where there’s opportunity to reallocate space—or do a better job of using it better.
As an objective, banks need to strive for maximum utilization of total facilities. If conference room utilization is only at 30%, it might clue the bank in on the ability to host seminars as a new value stream. Again, the ability to look at space and either a) use it better or b) use it different results in a net win for banking institutions looking to capitalize on facilities.
The benefits of space utilization for banks
Banks that use space efficiently will find themselves better-equipped to meet the needs of customers. Instead of scrambling to find a private office to discuss loans or wait unorganized for the next available teller, banks can treat customers to a seamless, accommodating, comfortable experience. The results for the institution itself expound even further:
- More efficient use of facilities, from both cost and operations standpoints
- Better understanding of space allocation and utilization
- Purposeful allocation of space to support the needs of employees
- Context for broader facilities data such as utilization and occupancy
- Insights and opportunities to repurpose or reallocate space
- Smarter spatial layout of facilities, to streamline accessibility
Proper utilization of space within banking facilities ultimately bridges the gap between customer need and the bank’s ability to satisfy that need. Moreover, it does so in a value-add environment. Customers don’t necessarily need to visit the bank these days. When they do, they expect a superior experience. Meeting this expectation comes from proper space utilization, and its ability to enable better service.
How can bank space utilization software help?
Banks are complex environments not only because of their multifaceted operations, but because of the privacy and security that accompany those operations. From keeping customers out of sensitive areas to maintaining workflows in compliance with regulatory standards, there are several additional layers of insight required to utilize banking facilities better. The solution to accounting for these standards is bank space utilization software.
Specialized utilization software can help banks identify opportunities and contextualize space-related decisions within a rules-based environment. Facility managers can explore opportunities in a sandbox space and reassess how the bank uses space without making any physical changes. The system will show the result of these proposed changes and alert managers to any conflicts that might reduce their feasibility.
Banking environments are also dynamic. Utilization rates and demands can change, and software helps facility managers track and respond to trends accordingly. If utilization rates fall in one area and spike in another, or demand for space changes, managers can review the data to sandbox changes quickly. Software is paramount in assessing and acting on data-back insights.
Making the most of banking facilities
While some banks operate out of spacious facilities, space utilization is nevertheless important. Using the space to meet customer needs and expectations sets the tone for the bank’s ability to help them. People want privacy when meeting about their mortgage and they need space for visuals when working with a financial planner. Facilities that accommodate these specifications inspire trust in customers—and help the bank deliver a higher standard of service.
Keep reading: Bank Space Planning