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Breaking down silos: The new cross-channel ATM management

A panel of experts takes up the question of how self-service management is changing to support an omnichannel customer experience.

Breaking down silos: The new cross-channel ATM management

| by Suzanne Cluckey — Owner, Suzanne Cluckey Communications

One of the first steps in creating an omnichannel customer experience is to define the term "omnichannel" itself.

This might be the most important step, also, because getting the definition right can mean the difference between running or stumbling in an omnichannel implementation.

A 2014 retail and business banking technology survey conducted by Celent NA explains why, and the graph below says it best.

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A surprising number of respondents strongly agreed that "omni" means "identical."

But here's the thing: Creating an identical customer experience across all channels is impossible.

And here's another thing: It's not necessary, either. We know from various studies that when consumers adopt a new banking channel, they don't necessarily abandon the others they've been using. And there's a reason for that: They get a unique and — to them, at least — necessary benefit from each channel they use.

So trying to make all channels perform the same tasks in the same way defeats the purpose of offering consumer choice, and is potentially detrimental to the customer experience. Not to mention demoralizing to the IT department that's been charged with fitting square pegs into round holes.

According to Bob Meara, a senior analyst in the Celent banking practice, the objective with omnichannel should be to create a consistent but not necessarily identical experience across channels, optimizing the unique strengths of each in a way that lifts revenue, mitigates risk and reduces cost.

Meara spoke during this week's live webinar, "Exploring the Omnichannel Impact: A panel discussion on how self-service management is changing," which was hosted by ATM Marketplace and sponsored by Inetco Systems Ltd.

The panel's first task was to offer a working definition of omnichannel, which Meara accomplished in a short presentation.

Definition established, the panel — which included Meara; Ricky Goodwin, ATM services manager at Region's Bank; and Scott Vuckevic, director of N.A. software sales at NCR — narrowed its focus to the impact of omnichannel on self-service.

Specifically, they addressed four questions specific to the role and requirements of the ATM channel in an omni banking environment. Following are brief excerpts from their responses.

Q1: What does embracing omnichannel mean for the ATM channel and operators?

SCOTT: There are four key components: optimal capacity; optimal capability; best-in-class TCO and channel alignment. Optimal capacity involves a dynamic representation supporting the distribution strategy — i.e., a right-sized deployment base. Optimal capability — meaning functionality-rich, but focused on the distribution market. Best-in-class TCO means growing channel revenue stream through enhanced shareholder value. Channel alignment involves maintaining the look and feel of the transaction between multiple channels, while allowing for choice of fulfillment. ...

Q2: How will this affect the way ATMs are managed moving forward?

BM: The first thing that comes to mind is that, for most FIs, ATM transactions are on the rise and they comprise a growing share of customer transactions. In that environment — particularly as they enter the branch lobby, maximizing uptime will become even more important. ...

Q3:What operational risks are associated with an omnichannel customer experience and how do you avoid them?

SCOTT: Operations teams need to have all the data at their fingertips to make instant decisions to immediate resolution and either remotely resolve using tools and applications or let the management solution contact the correct responsible party for resolution. They also need to understand the holistic view of the ATM, how it is connected, cash and deposit levels, hardware and software inventory, state of health. The goal here is to make them as efficient and effective as possible and even a reward scenario for higher ATM availability. ...

Q4: How do ATM management solutions need to change to accommodate the self-service experience?

BOB: For most of its life, the ATM has been isolated from the rest of the bank. If an ATM malfunctioned, consumers didn't have the expectation that they could receive help. In today's environment, consumers are conditioned to have access to near-instant help — anytime, anywhere. On a Web site or app, customers expect "click-to-call" or chat-box availability. Video is emerging as a customer engagement mechanism, too, and it's going to be an omnichannel capability, not just at "personal teller machines." When problems occur, staff will need to be in a position to help. Monitoring solutions, therefore will have multiple users in the bank going forward — help desks, remote tellers, branch staff. ...

A recording of the free webinar, including the slide deck, is now available for online replay

photo istock

Suzanne Cluckey

Suzanne’s editorial career has spanned three decades and encompassed all B2B and B2C communications formats. Her award-winning work has appeared in trade and consumer media in the United States and internationally.


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