Perth, 28th June 2010
Banks are generally seen as unfriendly and out to take any cent of you they can get. Even if you have an account and don’t use it they still find ways to charge you for doing nothing! Our general perception of banks therefore is not really very high. Last year alone the main banks in Australia made a combined profit of several billions (!) of dollars. As it turns out they also charged overdrawn fees many times over what it really costs them and a class action by the general public is now underway to recover these charges. Meanwhile the banks have been extremely “nice” to customers.
Anyhow, the reason that I talk about the banks today (I had to go there this morning for some business) is that many of them over the last couple of years have embarked on what they call “redefining the customer experience”. You will notice now when you enter some of the well known banks that it is a much more sophisticated and highly designed interior environment with lots of personal attention. Someone greets you on arrival, ask if they can help you, directs you to the right place or sorts out any of your queries. The interiors look warm and welcoming with varied and colourful material finishes and rather than an unfriendly cashier behind bars you are received in a relaxed setting with seats and a “discussion” table.
Lighting design as a consequence has followed suit and banks now boost multiple lighting systems with dedicated lighting for the various tasks including table lamps and lighting for artworks or displays. No more cold fluorescent general lighting. Low brightness warm white light to blend and harmonise with the new interior concept. It is all part of the corporate identity and image that banks want to project. Moreover the identity concept is repeated in every branch so there is a sense of recognition when you enter. At least now we can “see” where our money goes 🙂