The financial industry has witnessed major changes in the way people connect with their financial lives. Four out of five interactions with your consumers are now digital, according to BCG. And it’s clear in our conversations with our customers: digital enablement has certainly become table-stakes.
Yet on the flip side, nearly 70% of consumers still say that proximity to branches and ATMs is an important factor in choosing their primary bank—and 82% of banks are confident the branch is paramount when it comes to strengthening relationships.
From a consumer perspective, it’s all about whatever is easiest and most convenient in the moment; they just want to conduct their business on their terms, in their time. Banks have got to set up their channels to deliver this on-demand experience wherever and however their customers show up—but they also have an opportunity to guide consumers to the appropriate channel, and in today’s modernized, digitized world, that can increasingly mean the self-service channel.
ATMs are the Powerhouse Player in a Modern Digital Strategy
ATMs have evolved to meet consumers at the intersection of digital and physical channels. What was once a simple cash-and-dash solution has become a critical connection point that can assist your consumers across their entire financial journey. They’re bank-owned, they reach on-us and off-us consumers, you can harness all the data and information flowing through the devices, and they can work both “in the branch” and “as the branch” to be an intermediary between digital and human touchpoints.
The ATM is a hybrid of digital and physical channels. It’s tracking consumer data, similar to your mobile channel and your online channel. And it’s conducting cash-based transactions, just like a teller (remember, globally, cash is still used in 77% of all transactions!). So it’s automating the branch, while still enabling—through tools like video teller and assisted service—that human touch, when consumers desire it. We’ve helped clients get to a place where 100% of their standard services are automated, and now they can truly act as advisors to every individual who walks through the door. And on the back end, they’re benefiting from tons of data on their consumers, which they can turn around and use to personalize experiences across every single channel.
At a recent client event we polled the audience, and what I found fascinating was that the two things bankers considered top priorities were “journey thinking” and “leveraging big data.” So FIs understand that they need to support their consumers on these new journeys among all these new channels, and they understand that they can use big data to help them personalize those journeys.
Having said that, a big challenge for FIs is that there is so much more data than ever before. Machine learning, data analytics, artificial intelligence … these are not just buzzwords anymore. They’re really the only tools that are going to enable FIs to break down all that data into useful information that can drive more consumer-focused approaches. I believe it’s most relevant to break things down at the highest level into three key groups: consumers, small- and medium-business owners (SMBs) and staff. So any self-service strategy needs to take into account these three groups, and analyze the data based on how to deliver the best journeys for each segment:
Consumers are used to controlling their own journeys in their digital world. Compiling their financial behavior in digital channels and through the ATM—and applying the right algorithm to the data—can help FIs better anticipate future needs and upcoming life moments, and therefore provide more relevant products and solutions at the appropriate time and place.
Small- & Medium-Business Journeys
SMBs’ business tends to be cash heavy. They continue to have a strong desire for cash services. In fact, we’ve found that often, SMBs account for about 70% of all cash-in transactions within the branch. Frictionless, cash-based journeys for this segment are important—and when migrated fully to self-service, can help reduce cash-related costs and create a closed-loop recycling environment that moves cash-in money through the system more efficiently. When we polled SMBs about their banking challenges, more than half requested a dedicated teller line for business customers, and nearly half wanted longer branch hours. Both of these needs can be met through today’s connected ATMs.
Today, we focus so much on the consumer, and on improving their experience through data.
Bank staff need the same context when engaging with consumers. So FIs today really must focus on empowering staff with the information and tools they need to support consumers more intelligently. And that comes through more connected channels, so that when a consumer enters the branch and initiates a session with your staff, they have access to real-time information that includes news and updates from digital channels.
I put these three groups all on a level playing field. Typically, I see FIs prioritizing one of these groups over the other two. But in the self-service realm, there are so many unique opportunities for growth among each of these segments, FIs really need to have a strategy in place for each area.
In the consumer segment, for example, banks benefit from deeper loyalty and more lucrative engagements when they’re able to personalize their relationship with consumers through self-service. When it comes to the SMB market, banks can actually get a boost in efficiency by shifting more of those transactions to self-service, where automated transactions cost less than teller transactions, and recycling technology can transform the cash cycle. And for branch staff, I think this one has been a long time coming. The industry knows that when staffers are armed with more data and more up-to-date tools, they can engage much more appropriately with consumers—and the self-service channel opens up new avenues for engagement through assisted self-service.
The bottom line is that the entire world is becoming more connected. Banks should use their incumbent status and vast network of touchpoints to their advantage to drive long-term success. And the right self-service solutions can really help, whether they’re located in the branch or functioning as the branch.
Learn more about Diebold Nixdorf’s new line of self-service solutions, DN Series™, at DieboldNixdorf.com/DNseries.
 Global Retail Banking 2018: The Power of Personalization, The Boston Consulting Group
 DN proprietary data
 The World Branch Report 2019, The Financial Brand