Bank of Bahrain and Kuwait: Enhancing customer experience with contemporary office design

Bank of Bahrain and Kuwait: Enhancing customer experience with contemporary office design

The Bank of Bahrain and Kuwait (BBK) has been operating in India as a scheduled commercial foreign bank for over thirty years. One of its branches located in Hyderabad, operating for over 23 years has recently shifted to its own new spacious premises to better cater to their customers. The bank partnered with Space Matrix, a workplace and office interior design company, on the design and construction of the new branch interiors.

As it is a highly competitive industry, banks have to set themselves apart to attract more customers. More importantly, banks need to gain and retain the trust of their customers. The branch itself is the foundation of the institution, which is why its atmosphere plays a large part in shaping how consumers think about the bank.

Therefore, in the design process of this new branch, there were three main considerations:

1. Impressing visitors and attracting customers

The most important factor was of course, enhancing customer experience. Banks are usually thought of as stuffy and sombre spaces where customers have to wait for hours to settle their financial matters. The whole idea was therefore to not just design a workspace, but to create “a whole new way of banking” and to simplify the customer service experience. At the same time, the space had to remain formal to emphasise the bank’s reliability.

This BBK branch was hence given a sleek design which includes the traditional teller counter with customer service desks and a dedicated customer lounge. The customer service zone is defined with perforated screens which helps in creating a semi private space.

The new space also has a more open feel thanks to the double-height lobby and lighter tones of colours. The star of the show here is a stringer beam wooden staircase which has been given the look of a suspended staircase through metal strings. It leads from the ground floor to the first floor and looks even more impressive as it complements the high ceiling of the lobby.

2. Crafting a strong brand identity

When trying to attract more customers, brand identity is essential in ensuring one stands out from the competition. For BBK, the client specifically requested to have the brand logo and colours incorporated into the design. This can be seen in details such as the design of MDF screens in the customer service lounge, which is inspired by the bank’s logo.

The brand is also reflected in frosting film on glass partitions and various graphics that have been incorporated into the space. A customised light fixture has also been installed in the double-height lobby. It is a feature element modelled after BBK’s logo design and its light reflects upon three adjacent glass walls. It is one of the eye-catching highlights of the branch that makes an impression upon visitors. A graphic depicting the presence of BBK on the world map has also been placed in the lobby and is visible from both the floors.

The passage wall connecting the customer area and office space is highlighted with graphics that depict the successful journey of the bank over the past five decades. The passageway also houses a coin display unit which showcases 48 ancient coins dating back to the 10th century. These coins are from regions spanning India, the Middle East and the Western Roman Empire and provide an interesting piece of history for customers to view.

3. Optimising back end office design to BBK’s needs

Traditional offices with harsh lighting and segmented cubicles are fast becoming a thing of the past. Especially in high-stress environments such as banks, it is important to create an atmosphere where employees can work comfortably.

The back end office area has lighter tones and new finishes. Natural light helps to enhance the space and brighten the workplace. The open office concept also helps to motivate employees and increase productivity. Large exterior glass walls reveal the interior of the branch from outside and makes the space more inviting.

Space Matrix successfully managed to design the space according to these considerations, culminating in a bright space that appeals to visitors and in turn attracts new customers.