The Role ATMs Play in Consumer Banking Choices
Below is the first entry of our new monthly series, Tellerex Deep Dives, in which we explore topics shaping the industry today. Read more on the role ATMs play in shaping the customer experience at: www.tellerex.com/customer-experience
With the increasing prominence of online banking, mobile apps, and fintechs partnerships, you might almost forget about location-based banking. However, you’d be missing real opportunities.
The average ATM performs hundreds of transactions per month. There is nearly a half a million ATMs in the U.S. alone. That’s almost 2 billion ATM interactions per year. It’s therefore critical that the industry optimizes customer experience with ATMs to ensure a consistent, high-quality brand identity.
ATMs are and will continue to be major consumer touchpoints. Each machine thus represents a brand’s connection to its customers. And today, most people expect ATMs to be available and function seamlessly around the clock. Anything less reflects poorly on the bank.
On the other hand, strong performance reflects well. Here are a few ways that ATMs influence consumer choices in banking.
Bridging Physical and Digital Finance
According to the American Bankers Association (ABA), only 18% of Americans prefer in-branch banking. For the remainder, convenience reigns. Most people skip the line and opt for digital channels such as online and mobile banking.
Yet digital banking can’t meet every consumer need. ATMs provide the bridge between physical and digital finance.
More importantly, consumer expectations for technology open doors for new opportunities with ATMs. Increased reliance on digital interfaces means people are more ready than ever to trust ATMs with a wider variety of needs.
Offering easy and intuitive experiences shapes customer behavior. Better availability and broader functionality can draw in customers who appreciate those who go the extra step.
How ATMs Can Influence Customer Bank Choice
There are several expanded options for ATMs now. Many financial institutions are already maximizing the features and functions of their fleets, thus exploring new ways to connect with their customers.
Without even touching on ITMs in the marketplace, here a just a few examples of how ATMs can better engage and serve consumers:
· Mobile interface replication. Many financial institutions now feature their mobile app interface on the ATM screens to provide a consistent user experience across all channels. Not only does this build trust—it also prevents the frustration of learning new interfaces.
· Appointment scheduling and branch interactions. Another common strategy to improve customer experience is to allow users to schedule appointments or otherwise connect with banking personnel. Being there for your customers—even when they can’t be there in kind—shows what kind of support they can expect from you.
· Personalized offers and service messages. Hyper-personalization is increasingly important to consumers. You can imagine how you might feel if Netflix started suggesting only kid’s movies, or if Spotify recommended only death metal… You would think they didn’t understand you at all, and you might look for a different service
Little personalized messages, just as a quick “happy birthday!” can make a huge difference. Similarly, advertising relevant products or services such as premium credit cards or loan refinancing shows your customers that you understand their financial wants and needs.
As a bonus, this helps your institution expand its marketing presence. It’s a win-win.
These options are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to expanding customer experience outside of the branch. Such improved functions and ease of use show users that your brand cares about them.
While it’s increasingly important to maintain, modernize, and maximize your fleet, there’s still more to consider. For instance, broader ATM networks makes banking away from branches more convenient, and convenience is a major driver of customer loyalty.
Plus, having more ATM locations increases your brand’s footprint. By offering easy banking in stadiums, concert venues, convenience stores, and other high-traffic areas, financial institutions ensure that countless people pass by their “branches” daily. And the first step to brand loyalty is recognition.
So, improving the reach and the functionality of ATMs is key to influencing which institution consumers ultimately bank with. Prominent and high-use customer-facing technologies such as ATMs are a major touchpoint between consumers, their financial institutions, and their financial wellness.
Learn more about the role ATMs play in shaping the customer experience at: www.tellerex.com/customer-experience where we've posted a white paper, an executive interview, and other great resources!