Occasio Retail Design
Bob Cooper’s post about Washington Mutual introduced me to the now-defunct Occasio banking concept:
Gone are the tellers of the traditional banks and their windows. In their place are khaki-clad “concierges” who direct people to where they need to go according to what the customers need. They may be directed to one of the “teller towers,” circular help desks where they can conduct their own business or talk to an employee.
This immediately reminded me of Paco Underhill’s thoughts on hotel design in Why We Buy. I was surprised to read that Washington Mutual applied for a patent for the configuration. It’s good PR, but as this Seattle Times article makes clear, it would have been almost impossible to defend.
In any event, Cooper points out that JPMorgan Chase, the new owner of Washington Mutual is discontinuing the Occasio design. He insinuates that this is a referendum on the appropriateness of the design; that it was somehow a failure.
I don’t see any evidence of that. They might not call what they did “service design” but from what I can tell the design had been well-received. It’s more likely that the concept simply didn’t fit with Chase’s more traditional brand.
For more on this topic, The Harvard Business Review ran an article about six years ago on banking retail design. Check out R&D Comes to Services for an overview.
Update: Adaptive Path has some additional thoughts on Chase’s move to replace the Occasio concept.