By : Cleopatra Mavredis
September 28, 2016 12:00 PM
The growth of omni-channel banking means customers have more ways of interacting with banks and managing their financial affairs than ever before. Online and mobile banking are on the rise and can be expected to continue growing in the future, but consumers continue to rely on traditional ways of engaging with their providers, such as using ATMs and visiting branches.
In a recent survey by the US Federal Reserve, 62 percent of mobile banking users with smartphones said using ATMs was one of the three most important ways they interacted with their bank. This put it behind only online banking (65 percent) and ahead of mobile (54 percent).
So it goes without saying that efficient ATM management is crucial for any bank looking to deliver the best possible customer service. ATMs often function as the main customer-facing element of a financial institution, particularly outside traditional opening hours, so reliability and efficiency is key.
Simplistically speaking, the self-service device needs to be “ON” and dispense and accept cash.
Making sure that the ATM is operating at maximum capability is not always as simple as it may appear to an outsider. Self-service devices are “the Branch of Things” combined to deliver the ability for a customer to transact. They are a branch, a teller, a cash dispensing unit, a bill payment device and more all rolled up into one very sophisticated piece of hardware and software technology.
Managing a self-service network begins with the careful selection of solutions that are not only designed to manage such sophisticated devices, but rather look at the network from a customer’s point of view.
Avoiding empty machines
One scenario that banks should be extra careful to avoid is their ATMs running out of cash. Looking at it from the customer perspective, it's extremely frustrating to find that an ATM is out of cash, especially late at night or in locations where there are no other machines nearby. There is every chance that the customer will remember this negative experience and make sure they use a different ATM in future.
One strategy every financial institution should be employing to reduce the risk of cash outages is demand forecasting. A combination of seasonal usage statistics, average footfall around your ATMs and competitor activity should provide a good starting point for predicting demand for cash withdrawals.
It's also important to take into account any extraordinary factors that could result in more people visiting your machines, such as one-off events in the area or unusual weather patterns that could see more people going shopping or enjoying days out.
Specialist cash management solutions can prove highly effective for banks that want to make sure they have the right amount of cash in branches and across their ATM network. However, it’s also worth mentioning that cash optimization does not stop at the ATM network. Real savings are had when the entire cash distribution chain is taken into consideration: ATM, recycler, branch, commercial customers, cash centers and even our cash sourcing entity: the Central Bank.
Ensuring that your machines have enough cash to meet customer demand could be seen as just the first step in delivering a high-quality customer experience at the ATM. In the current climate of constantly evolving consumer expectations, some people who visit your ATMs are likely to expect an added level of functionality, such as the cash and check deposit, bill payment and mobile phone top-up services offered by some deposit machines.
Equally important is the software that determines how your ATMs function. As well as ensuring that your machines run smoothly and deliver the self-service features modern-day users expect, the right software can give you insights into usage patterns and provide maximum security for customer information.