The Changing Role of the Branch Office in Supporting Brand Image and Customer Loyalty

Nino DeNicola
Dialogue Resource, Inc., United States.

INTRODUCTION

Marketers in virtually all industries are struggling to deal with the sea change in consumer attitudinal and behavioral orientations that has been occasioned by increasingly sophisticated interactive telephone technology and, even more so, by “critical mass” Internet penetration. For companies with a long tradition of service through branch offices, one of the most pressing challenges is how to sort out and restructure the relationship between telephone, online, and branch office service provision so as to maintain, or even enhance, customer satisfaction and brand loyalty – and to do this with an eye to cost effectiveness in an increasingly competitive business environment. While this issue is of interest across the board, it is particularly relevant to the financial services industry – in the case discussed here, a leading U.S. investment company that commissioned the qualitative research on which the paper is based.