By : Marsha Hanus
December 21, 2017 09:10 AM
ATMs are an increasingly important part of a bank’s customer service strategy and physical footprint. With more customers comfortable with self-service options and the latest generation of machines offering far more functionality than in the past, these devices will be among the primary ways that many customers conduct banking interactions.
But this growing reliance means that, if things do go wrong, the consequences can be more severe as problems at an ATM can seriously damage a bank's reputation. In an industry where trust is the decisive factor for many consumers, appearing to be unreliable and prone to outages can be hugely costly.
While there are now many technologies available to help ensure devices are as reliable and available as possible, sometimes problems occur that may be out of an operator's control - and in these instances, a fast response is essential.
The need for a strong response plan
Several trends have emphasized the ATM's importance as a primary channel, including the downsizing of the branch, a greater focus on automation and changing expectations of customers. The ATM is also at the heart of many efforts to drive greater financial inclusion in developing markets where the latest self-service technology is seen as a great, cost-effective solution to bringing banking services to previously unserved locations.
Particularly in these locations, self-service solutions will be a primary lifeline to people's finances and if these devices aren't able to provide the services required of them, there may be few other options for people who rely on them.
When problems occur, it's therefore vital that banks can respond quickly - especially for those in rural or otherwise hard-to-reach areas. For ATM operators covering a wide geographic area or those with limited in-house resources, existing ways of managing their networks may result in avoidable delays while problems are identified and resources allocated and dispatched.
A proactive solution to managing self-service
To improve on this, an effective event management process is crucial. There are several key components included within this that businesses must have in order to be successful. While 24/7 monitoring of an ATM network is one obvious element to ensure banks are alerted quickly to any problems, it is far from the only one.
For instance, prevention is always better than the cure, so including predictive elements into these monitoring tools to proactively identify issues and take action before a failure occurs is one of the best things banks can do to protect their ATM fleet. Being able to identify worn modules that are due for replacement and monitoring components to determine if they are likely to break means ATM operators can work on preventative maintenance to ensure no customer is inconvenienced by an out of service ATM.
Visibility of the details you need
Such management tools should also be able to give banks a real-time view into their entire network and make it easy to pull up details immediately to give them insight into what is going on. With the right tools, you can delve deeper into your network, viewing ATMs by model, operating system, configuration or geography, which can identify particular problems that may indicate wider issues within the network that must be addressed.
Being able to manage all of this through a single system and point of contact is also vital in ensuring ATM availability is as high as possible. Event management systems that offer this enable dispatching when required, call-taking and management for incidents created manually or automatically, and vendor delivery management.
"Banks have to consistently manage every aspect of the self-service channel to drive customer satisfaction," Mark Vigoroso, vice-president of product management and technology at NCR Services, recently added. "NCR's managed services help financial institutions make the best use of their available resources to provide high availability of their ATM network and deliver a consistent customer experience."
To achieve this, an effective event management process and response system is something no ATM operator can afford to be without.