Íslandsbanki : North Tower
Continuing a long and successful partnership with Íslandsbanki that commenced back in 2007, allen international undertook a continued re-think of their present operational model and customer experience to create Íslandsbanki’s head office branch in Reykjavik.
The branch is situated in Iceland’s tallest building, North Tower, which is adjacent to a large retail mall complex, and sits below the relocated head office.
Merging three branches into one – Þarabakki, Digranesvegur, and Garðatorg – the new branch is a strong financial centre offering comprehensive financial consultancy services to the bank’s customers. Design and functionality takes account of flexible structure, new technology, effective consultancy, and a positive customer service experience.
The demands made of the design strategy were to expand on the modern retail environment that was created in Grandi branch and once again reach out to the local community. In addition, the operating environment had to be capable of facilitating the high levels of relationship management and service levels to which the bank aspired and also reflect the bank’s strong commitment to social media. A fundamental goal was to ‘Deliver No1 Service’ in the local banking market.
The rationalisation of three branches into the new ‘North Tower’ offered the opportunity to introduce a fresh retail concept centrally located in the capital area, close to retail shopping centres and residential and commercial communities.
The design is expanded upon three distinctive, interlinked zones:
The ‘Quick Serve zone’ at the front of the branch integrates facilities for self-service and a quick-service or enquiry desks staffed by universal bankers, providing a fast and efficient operational space to serve the customers everyday banking needs by assisting them in the use, and encouraging adoption of, the self-service channels whilst promoting financial products.
The ‘Community Lounge’ is located at the heart of the Íslandsbanki branch in North Tower, a homely environment where customers can relax, enjoy complimentary coffee, socialise, and chat to the branch hosts. A key component of this space is the showcase of and access to the bank’s social media channels; Íslandsbanki has become a major digital communicator and each branch is represented on Facebook. The branch offers a wide range of events for customers and the community, discussing financial services or other business topics. In addition, the public space of the branch provides an important venue and showcase for the bank’s own equivalent of Ted Talks and seminars.
The final area, set off the central community lounge, is the ‘Engage & Advise’ zone. Consulting staff share agile meeting spaces, each provided with a dedicated workspace within the back office, and coming forward when meeting customers in one of the shared cabin-like meeting booths. This greatly improves operational efficiency and optimises retail space allocation, but also fundamentally shifts the focus of the one-to-one meetings according to the needs of the customer.
A meeting room is situated above the consultation rooms, which are built into a free standing structure in the centre of the branch, which provides a focal point for the space and injects a sense of theatre into the design. The meeting rooms will continue to be a unique brand signature of the designs for future Íslandsbanki branches, providing their own aesthetic for the spaces and a talking point for customers who visit.
Una Steinsdóttir, Director of Retail Banking: “We are very proud of our new branch in the North Tower, where we meet the needs of Íslandsbanki customers. Providing high-level service will be our main role as we work towards our objective of meeting our customers’ needs and demands. Even though digital banking has advanced by leaps and bounds, demands for high-quality personal service have not diminished; they have changed. In the North Tower branch, we offer expert services from the branch’s certified financial advisors while also increasing options for all self-serve banking. For instance, special express service representatives will be available to assist our customers in order to make their visit to the branch as pleasant as possible. We place strong emphasis on giving our customers a positive banking experience.”