Bank customers around the globe are increasingly switching to ATMs (Auto Teller Machines) for a growing list of everyday banking transaction needs like cash withdrawal, PIN change, statement requests, etc. The cost of transactions performed at the ATM is much lower than those through a bank teller. Outsourcing a wide variety of traditional branch operations to ATMs can significantly lower costs. ATMs are also not restricted by a bank’s working hours, providing service around the clock, thereby increasing the level of convenience for prospective clients and customers.
In today’s competitive world, banks are looking for ways to lower costs without compromising on customer expectations. Over the last few years, banks have lowered their investments in brick and mortar branches and increased their spending on new digital banking and marketing technology.
Keeping the above in mind, it is easy to understand how downtime at an ATM will affect a bank’s reputation and also lead to dissatisfied customers therefore impacting bottomline revenue. It is vital for banks to find a way to reduce costs of providing services without affecting customer satisfaction.
The ideal way for banking institutions to focus on their core tasks is to outsource all other activities. First line maintenance and second line maintenance are typical examples of services that should be outsourced. First line maintenance is the upkeep of ATM machines by preventing downtime caused due to paper or currency jams, shortage of ink and other related issues inside an ATM machine. Whereas, second line maintenance ensures the ATM’s software is up-to-date and broken parts are replaced or repaired, regardless of whether the location is in California or New Mexico.
Just high ATM availability does not translate to a positive customer experience. Traditionally, ATM availability was calculated based on downtime for a machine. However, this calculation does not take into consideration the value of specific high-usage time periods. Statistics beyond ATM availability:
- Number of customer interactions that failed
- Type of transactions or services that failed
- Location where issue occurred
- Details of frequency and customer service complaints
- Revenue lost from failed transactions
Increasingly customers are using multi-function ATMs for self-service, something that was previously handled by tellers. These interactions are high-value cash withdrawals, fund transfers, bill payments and cash or check deposits. Banks and financial institutions must ensure 24/7 availability of ATMs to deliver such services.
Customers these days expect to receive instant help if they experience problems at ATMs. According to experts, ATM problems should be resolved in real time. The inability to do so could lead to customer churn as connected customers share their experience with friends and peers via social media platforms. What was just fifteen minutes of downtime for an ATM will lead to large social media groups criticizing the bank’s services and staff.
Let’s take a look at some key best practices for line maintenance and ensuring maximum availability:
- Pinpoint ATMs with the highest usage volumes to receive special attention to minimize failed interactions.
- Scheduled maintenance activities like software updates should be when customers are unlikely to use ATMs, like the middle of the night.
- The ATM’s monitoring and management system should be real-time with capabilities to route complaints and issues to relevant internal and external stakeholders.
- Comparison of time taken to resolve an issue and related SLA timers with pro-active escalations when required.
Banks will benefit from better cost-effectiveness by outsourcing first and second line maintenance to seasoned experts. Reporting and analytics will be the key to understanding why problems are occurring and holding the relevant vendor accountable for any shortfall in ensuring a superlative customer experience to everyone.