By : Lisa Kellermeyer
October 10, 2017 12:00 PM
Financial institutions have many goals, which often differ between businesses based on factors such as their size, geographical location or spending power. But there are some core objectives that all firms in this industry share, and one of them is to optimize the customer experience.
With more and more transactions moving away from the branch counter and into the self-service channel, efficient management of ATMs and self-service devices looks set to become increasingly influential in driving customer experience.
This could prove particularly crucial as institutions seek out ways to address financial exclusion and improve their service delivery in emerging markets.
Driving customer experience through self-service visibility
Any business with aspirations to deliver the best possible experience across its self-service network needs to have an in-depth, real-time view of the many consumer touchpoints comprising that network. One of the most effective ways of achieving this is by adopting a dedicated ATM management system.
Commercial Bank of Ethiopia (CBE) committed to this strategy with its recent addition of 200 NCR SelfServ ATMs and APTRA Vision. This technology gives CBE valuable intelligence in real time about its ATM fleet, providing data such as current performance against key metrics, specific ATM fault data and trending. The bank will therefore be able to take any necessary actions in a timely manner, ensuring ongoing availability and a consistent experience for customers.
Addis Tilaye, e-payment process director at CBE, said this is a "big step forward" that will help the business to "achieve operational excellence, reduce cost and improve customer experience".
He added: "We are confident this partnership will serve to strengthen our relationship [with NCR] further and help us not only expand our reach, but allow us to introduce world-class technologies to better serve our customers."
Dimitri Kanellopoulos, channel leader for Africa at NCR, pointed out that APTRA Vision has the capability to "combine and analyze granular details on every consumer transaction across all self-service devices".
This sort of extensive visibility and understanding is only set to become more important and valuable as a growing number of transactions relocate from the branch counter to the self-service channel.
The role of self-service in financial inclusion
As the drive to improve financial inclusion continues across the globe, the self-service channel could have an extremely important role to play. One of the key reasons for this is that consumers still rely on cash and physical banking channels, and for many financial institutions, self-service expansion is a much more feasible and financially justifiable option than enlarging their branch network.
In the Asia Pacific region, nearly six out of ten consumers (57 percent) prefer cash to digital payment options for completing day-to-day transactions, according to PayPal research reported by CNBC.
With demand for cash still going strong, off-site ATMs have been experiencing more demand as providers look for ways to deliver the services consumers want and bring previously excluded groups into the financial system. Retail Banking Research made this point in a study published in January 2017, which showed that over half of all ATMs are now installed away from bank branches.
Research leader Rowan Berridge said: "As independent ATM deployers expand their fleets, more and more retail centers, transport hubs and other non-branch locations will host ATMs. Coupled with increasing off-site deployment by banks, in future, it will be even easier for customers to find a convenient ATM away from branches."
Businesses that choose to adopt this strategy will need to place an even greater emphasis on self-service management, to ensure they have maximum understanding and control of machines that are operating in isolation.