By Meryl Kramer, Global Industry Consultant, NCR Corp.
[This article is a sequel to "Rethinking ATM availability as a measure of success," which proposes using failed customer transactions rather than uptime as the yardstick of ATM network efficiency.]
Once your organization has acknowledged that measuring failed customer interactions will improve the efficiency and value of your ATM channel, you can start implementing this measurement into your organization by using your performance data and following these simple steps:
1. Identify peak transaction times and days/dates.
Start by tracking transactions by day of week and time of day. Identify your peak transactions times. Most ATMs will experience higher-than-average transactions during at least two peak times per day and on four days per week. Calculate average transactions at each ATM by time of day.
2. Identify Tier 1 ATMs that need an aggressive plan to minimize failed customer interactions.
These are sites that are high volume or high visibility, where down time during critical periods as the highest impact. This group of ATMs typically accounts for 80 percent to 90 percent of transactions that take place during peak hours.
3. Set a goal for FCI as a percentage of total transaction.
This should be between 2 percent and 5 percent.
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4. Overlay faults by day of week and time of day.
It is not unusual to see faults and transaction volumes peak in unison. Most of this correlation can be explained by more transactions causing more faults (such as the presenter failing, or receipt paper running out). Many of these can be avoided by effective planning and monitoring during normal operational events. It is important to be cognizant of all patterns that emerge in order to define an effective plan for reducing failed customer interactions.
5. Overlay replenishment schedules onto peak transaction times and arrange replenishes prior to peaks.
You will be amazed at how much down time is attributable to cash replenishments during peak transaction times. Along the same lines, look at the kind of faults you are experiencing. What if the ATM is up, but out of receipt paper? For a depositor this is may be unacceptable, particularly at an intelligent deposit ATM; the paper receipt is assurance that the deposit has been received by the bank.
6. Note the faults that occur during peak times.
What steps can be taken to reduce downtime? For on-premise locations, should there be an ATM review scheduled by the branch staff? Chances are that off-premise peak times are the same as branch peaks. Consequently, if the branch is responsible for first line maintenance, they will be too busy to respond to the ATM and the down time will be extended. A check list should be provided to staff and conducted prior to a high demand period.
7. Ensure that updates and maintenance occur during off hours.
The easiest step to take is to schedule software updates during off hours. Most banks have peak transaction times in the evening. Upgrades and downloads should be timed so that they don't occur during these peak hours. This sounds basic, but you would be surprised how many downloads are scheduled to start at 8 p.m., when peak time lasts until 10 p.m. — especially as more and more financial institutions extend deposit hours with automated deposit at the ATM.
Preventative maintenance calls should also be scheduled during periods of low ATM use. Once you are aware of peak times, there is no reason to schedule any non-critical maintenance activities that may disrupt these high-productivity hours.
8. Use predictive fault isolation capabilities.
Based on our research, NCR has found that predictive modeling can cut an estimated 40 percent of second line maintenance calls. This capability allows you to shift service models from “fix it when it breaks” to proactively addressing network issues before they happen. By anticipating potential failures, replacement of a failing component can be scheduled. This allows you to shift repair times to off-peak periods and proactively minimize failed customer interactions.
9. Choose your vendors wisely.
Work with vendors who are familiar with your methods and can integrate them into their support strategy. Contracts can be written to reflect your specific environment, using insight gathered from the failed customer interaction measurement approach. The resulting support plan shifts from a generic ATM uptime effort to a more customer experience-centric strategy.
10. Track, track and track some more.
Routinely review what is going on during peak times and look for any changes in peak usage. You will see a decline in failed customer interactions and an increase in customer satisfaction and loyalty.
If your initial scoping results in too much data and changes to manage, narrow the peak times, or the number of ATMs in you failed customer interaction program and micro-manage the faults. You may need different SLAs during these times, or you just might have to rethink your first line maintenance.
For more on this topic, visit the networking/connectivity research center.