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Design showcase: Société Générale's new branch format in Serbia

Société Générale has introduced a new branch format in Serbia, with the aim of becoming a marketing leader there.

The bank appointed design agency I-AM to develop the new concept. The result is a modular format that modernises the role of staff and integrates new technology, with the aim of revolutionising the branch experience. A ‘kit of parts’ approach will enable easier rollout and adaptation to future sites.

The new design creates a ‘welcome & enquiry’ moment for customers entering a branch, with enhanced self-service options that gives easier access to digital channels. This approach is based on research of target audiences and existing customers, as well as branch staff, and on customer journey mapping.

Five key ‘Experience Modules’ have been created, as customer engagement zones that balance digital and staff-led services.

Customers can use online services to book appointments and monitor queues before arriving at the branch, can check-in, and can find other information through integrated tablet devices.

The interior has been designed to feel open, airy and relaxed. The centre features a social space, which seeks to convey a sense of expertise while also being soft and comfortable. A ‘3D Mondrian’ style has been employed, using a series of irregular cube structures in the brands red, white and black corporate colours.

The bank’s in-house design teams have implemented the modular concept at two branches, working with local architects. The impact of the branches, in Novi Sad and Belgrade, has been measured using neuroscience methodologies by research group Trizma Neuro.

“Our new branches are performing really well, on customer satisfaction measurements that we review on a daily basis, as well as on traditional business KPIs,” says Vuk Kosovac, head of retail at Société Générale Serbia.

“We also commissioned advanced neuro research on our two pilot branches; Kralja Milana has been the highest performing branch ever recorded by the research agency in Europe. This branch now sets the benchmark for banking in Serbia… With the new design we amended the job descriptions to reflect the new branch and organisation model. The key benefit is the introduction of the ‘host’ role; this is new in the Serbian market and makes a huge positive difference.”

“It has been wonderful to work so collaboratively with a client who is truly focused on translating strategy into reality,” says I-AM partner and creative strategy director Pete Champion. “The advanced research techniques used to assess the concept are massively exciting as an emerging methodology to truthfully measure and prove the true positive impact on people’s daily lives, of great design and customer experience transformation.”

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