According to McKinsey, banks worldwide are spending a lot of money refurbishing bank branches and not getting a lot of return on their spending. Why? Because they have focused on the aesthetics of the environment and ignored the customer experience.
They probably thought they were addressing the customer experience, but they were only addressing the environment. And even there, it seems there was too little focus on designing an environment that SHAPES the customer experience, rather than just LOOKS NICE.
"However, banks have done little to shape customer visits. The challenge includes meeting or exceeding customers’ service expectations to increase trust and loyalty, uncovering latent purchasing demand, and converting those leads to actual sales later."
McKinsey suggests focusing more on lower-cost tactical initiatives -- which could include things like making the lineup experience more informative and entertaining, having more interactive events, etc. All of this they suggest putting into the context of clear objectives. [How can we disagree with someone who wants clear objectives?]
So all those executives listened to the stuff about good design, they just didn't put it into a strategic context. You should try to avoid making the same mistake. Great upholstery does not equal a great experience. Thinking clearly about customer needs, wants, behaviors and processes might take you to some places where you can get real improvement. But it's definitely going to be about more than the wallcoverings.
Find the article:
It's well worth reading, if you happen to have a subscription lying around somewhere. Here's the link: http://www.mckinseyquarterly.com/Financial_Services/Banking/Bank_branches_that_meet_customer_needs
But you do need a subscription.