Earlier this year, we all read the report of the global survey conducted by Level Four which showed that more than half the respondents had increased investment in the ATM channel in the last two years, with the main aims of this investment being to generate increased revenue and to improve the customer experience at the ATM.
The evidence for this has become increasingly apparent in the last couple of months. At our European ATMs Conference in London in early June, and at the International Management Seminar in Vienna in mid-May hosted by Wincor Nixdorf, we saw a huge array of presentations from across Europe and beyond with case study materials verifying these findings.
This is exactly the news we want for the ATM channel. It is hugely refreshing to see the innovative banks viewing their ATM channel as a crucial component in their multi-channel approach to retail banking.
Self-service ATMs are driving their new futuristic bank branches, providing simple straightforward transactional services for customers, so the branch personnel can focus on serving their customers more personal needs and more effectively selling the relevant bank services to those customers.
Multi-functional ATMs are becoming well-established here in Europe, and I believe their presence will increase. SIBS Multibanco of Portugal, known for the extensive range of banking and payments services via ATMs, and La Caixa of Spain, with more than 200 services on their “Punt Groc” ATMs, well exceed the number of services offered by any other operator in Europe right now. These additional services go beyond cash-in and cash-out to include bill payments, bank transfers, mobile top-up, public transport tickets, motorway tolls, paying taxes and fines and buying football, concert and theatre tickets.
Here in the UK we will all also embrace with open arms the ability to make charity donations via ATMs.
A very interesting case study in Vienna revealed how their channel managers are forced to compete for business, and how believe that their ATMs should compete head on with telephone banking, etc. for bringing in new business from existing and/or non-customers.
In London we had a presentation by a Croatian bank that uses their ATM channel to sell loans, top-up loans, credit cards and also re-activate credit card usage for customers.
So with this double objective for the ATM channel of customer service efficiency and revenue generation, the key challenge for the ATM operator going forward will be identifying those new services and innovations that will enhance customer retention and increase channel profitability.
/ Flora Hamilton joined the ATM Industry Association (ATMIA) with responsibility for Europe in October 2009. Trained in business science, Flora has previously worked for the Public Relations Consultants Association, BBC Worldwide, the Press Association and Association for Measurement & Evaluation of Communication.