In an increasingly saturated banking and financial sector, particularly with intense competition from FinTech and other virtual banking solutions, it has become imperative for financial institutions (FIs) to continually evolve and provide exceptional customer experience.
FIs today are also under significant pressure to optimize costs and boost productivity in a context which includes a scarcity of skilled resources, the need to keep increasing efficiency in processes, and a sharp rise in workforce costs. In order to combat these challenges, we are seeing a new age of automation and a heightened adoption of technology across the board.
As FIs are re-imagining branch networks and self-service experiences and developing new digital journeys, which are integrated into a person’s daily life, the banking experience is undergoing a significant period of evolution. Choice, convenience and meeting customers where they are, have been the driving forces behind a complete remapping of services. As part of this transformation, the roles of both branches and self-service channels are shifting.
FIs are continuing to optimize the size of their branch network, ensuring that each branch is profitable and a place where employees can focus on building customer relationships and delivering value-added activities. As physical presence through branches reduces, ATMs are increasingly operating as strategic customer touchpoints, essentially plugging any service gaps across the FI’s value chain.
Giving more to consumers, more efficiently
With ATMs acting as the branch, FIs are discovering untapped opportunities to deliver a more compelling experience and a broader range of services through the self-service channel, while better controlling operating costs, transactions costs and generating additional revenue.
For example, the development and enrichment of technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning is creating an exciting mix of new possibilities. Implementing them across the ATM network helps optimize device performance and maximize cash availability, ensuring ATMs are in service and customers enjoy a positive experience for each and every visit.
Technical data can be collected and processed by AI to automatically diagnose failures and provide insights on how they can be fixed, which truly enables incidents to be dealt with earlier and resolved faster. In some instances, potential outages can even be predicted and pre-empted through targeted service actions. AI can also recognize cash withdrawal and deposit patterns, trends and seasonality to produce reliable usage forecasts and optimize cash planning so there is always the right amount of cash at the right time at an ATM – streamlining the process for the FI and ensuring continuous availability for the consumer.
There is still a lot of potential to unlock from the self-service channel, and technology is playing a critical role in the drive to operate more efficiently and streamline costs. With the right strategy in place, the ATM network can truly enable FIs to strengthen the relationship with customers and increase the profitability of the physical retail network, which remains a key differentiator to outperform neo banks and other non-traditional banking players.
Orginally published in Global Banking Finance Review.