Lloyds creates online appointment booking in attempt to save branches

Lloyds Bank has introduced a system which allows customers to book in-branch appointments online

Lloyds Bank has introduced a system which allows customers to book in-branch appointments online.

The system allows its five million online banking customers to book face-to-face branch appointments on their phone, tablet or PC when logged in to their online banking account.

It also allows customers to book or re-arrange appointments at a time and branch most convenient to them, and set up text or email alerts to remind them when the appointment is.

According to the bank, it’s the first real-time booking system available.

Digital Director for Lloyds Bank Adrian Bryant said the system will provide customers with convenient access to the bank's branches.  

"There are some things that some people prefer to do face-to-face,” he said.

A recent report by financial services firm Temenos showed customer loyalty as the main concern for banks, as consumers are becoming increasingly fickle and digital firms are offering more convenient banking services online.

Some firms have closed branches due to changing consumer habits leading to more transactions being made online, as opposed to on the high street.

Retail banks have been increasingly investing in technology to make branches more appealing and retain customers.

HSBC recently introduced free Wi-Fi to 650 branches to improve in-branch experience, and Barclays bank trialled touchscreen devices in branches in 2013 to offer consumers behind-the-counter functionality. The bank also rolled out iPads to staff in 2012 to improve customer interaction in-branch.

Despite many firms finding their in-branch activities tailing off, a recent survey by Accenture showed 52% of consumers use a branch at least once a month. A report by Intercede also revealed 53% of consumers would not use mobile banking services because of concerns about device security.

But Lloyds Banking Group – made up of Lloyds Bank, Bank of Scotland and Halifax – has seen growth in the amount of online banking customers, while its almost 2.5 million mobile customers log in approximately 10 million times a week.

“Online bookings are just one of the many ways we are using technology to help our customers and bring to life our multichannel offering,” said Bryant.

In 2013, the group aimed to improve the quality of its customer service after investing in technology to automate and simplify complex manual banking processes. According to the bank, customer complaints plummeted after some manual processes were automated.

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