Unlocking the potential of self-service with smart ATMs
by Antonella Comes, chief marketing officer, Auriga
... Even with the fast-growing adoption of digital channels, the ATM remains a primary interface between customers and their banks. Customers are familiar and comfortable with ATMs as a way of accessing their banks.
There are operational challenges, however. ATMs can be a costly channel for financial institutions, often managed separately from other banking channels and providing a limited scope of services.
But technology is available to transform the ATM channel, to make major operational efficiencies and to enable financial institutions to make the most of this channel.
Next-generation ATMs enabled by innovative and flexible software can change the ATM from being a simple cash dispenser to being a more personalized and richer communication channel that allows banks to extract more value and provide better service to their customers.
In countless scenarios, the right software could rejuvenate existing ATMs and deliver much-needed profits for banks through new revenue streams and integrate this old-fashioned channel as part of a true omnichannel banking strategy.
Even though the technology is available, there needs to be a major change of mindset within many banks about the greater role that ATMs can play in improving customer experience and services. The current position tends to be too rigidly fixed on offering a limited set of services and reducing operating cost.
Financial institutions should embrace how ATMs can become a much more powerful service platform for building customer loyalty that is integrated with, rather than superseded by, mobile and web banking.
Breaking down the technological and operational silos in customer banking channels has been anticipated for many years. It now seems the omnichannel vision is being realized. The 2016 edition of the ATM Marketplace report "Omnichannel Marketing for Financial Institutions: An Industry Guide" revealed that 64 percent of banks in the world are moving ahead with omnichannel strategies.
Over the next five years, we expect banks to respond to customers' demands for more tailored advanced services at ATMs and banks, own requirement to control operational costs to meet higher standards of compliant maintenance, security and cash handling.
The goal is that a fully functional, omnichannel capability enables a bank to achieve a shorter time to market for new services valued by customers while significantly lowering costs and gaining a competitive edge.
In Western Europe and other developed markets, a major transformation of traditional branch-based services is underway. This entails the closure of programs but also the development of new branch models with the branch continuing as an important touch point for sales and consulting services.
At the core of the branch of the future will be smart ATMs, assisted self-service devices, welcoming kiosks and specialist consultants ready to assist customers and provide tailored service, all integrated on a single omnichannel architecture.
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In a previous ATM Marketplace report on ATM and self-service software trends, mobile integration was identified as one of the top three trends that are most likely to affect the ATM industry worldwide.
Forty-eight percent of the banks surveyed forecast that one of the areas of branch transformation most likely to happen over the next four years would be customers using a mobile phone as the transaction device interacting with in-branch systems such as cash and currency dispensers.
Indeed, the pre-staged cash withdrawal is completed at the ATM faster and more safely than a traditional card-based transaction, leading to greater consumer satisfaction.
Again, it's a question of cross-channel capability that ensures that one single transaction begun on a mobile phone could be concluded easily and immediately on the ATM channel.
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Availability of more integrated and tailored services at ATMs, self-service and assisted self-service devices will be the right strategy to enhance customer experience and improve a bank's revenue by maximizing the additional sales potential of each consumer interaction.