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With ATMs, customer experience matters

Interactivity is critical for ATMs.

With banks needing to grow in the face of technological advances, ATMs may be the key point of interest. Many financial institutions want to consolidate their many branches, and they need a replacement. The ATM can serve as a solution, becoming a true automated teller. However, in order for virtual bank functions to work successfully, these machines must do more than perform simple tasks such as dispensing money or taking deposits. They must respond to whatever customer banking needs that surface, from paying bills to insights on getting a loan or mortgage. As a result of these potential improvements, the consumer experience while interacting with the machine becomes extremely important.

Effective interactivity makes ATMs virtual tellers

Interaction is one of the key factors in using an ATM. People want interactions with as little confusion and tedium as possible. At the same time, as the branch becomes less visible to many, customers are turning to these machines for more advanced functions. Banks can meet this need by offering specific options such as loans that are linked directly to a person's account. Financial institutions could also incorporate a video teller function that allows them to interact with a teller from a call center regarding specific banking matters, according to NPR.

Interactivity was a focal point at the ICX Summit in Chicago in late June, which brought together several companies to discuss an interactive customer experience. Among the key highlights of this conference was talk of personalization, which uses several bits of information to turn the entire transaction into more personal one. This is already available in many ATMs: By linking a debit card to a specific account, customers can select a default language, process and even cash withdrawal amount that will appear every time they visit their bank ATM.

Another focal point is having easy-to-use software. Customers should have the ability to make sense of whatever software is used. Anything to reduce steps or make it clear what's going on will help customers better understand what needs must be met. Sometimes, interactivity can get help without needing software as well. An example of this in ATMs was the development of cash and check-scanning deposits. Instead of putting checks and money into an envelope and then inputting the deposit amount on screen, users now insert these items that are then scanned and counted automatically. Simple ideas like this can improve the customer experience for many.