By Matt Phillips, VP Sales & Systems, Diebold Nixdorf UK/I
It’s the year 2027 and you need some cash. You go to the closest ATM but you don’t need to look around for your bank card. All you need is yourself because this machine can look you in the eye. It scans your irises for a match before a 3D, augmented reality-generated “robo-banker” pops up on the screen, giving you access to a wide range of banking services.
This gives a taste of what we can expect banking services to look like within the next decade. After 50 years in existence, the ATM continues to be an important touchpoint in the customer journey but delivery of these services is changing.
The global ATM market is growing at a significant pace, along with the evolution of ATM technology itself. There are currently over 3.1 million ATMs in operation around the world and this is set to surpass four million by 2020. This growth is underpinned by wide acceptance among financial institutions that ATMs continue to be vital as a secure, trusted self-service channel for consumers.
As a result, more financial institutions are embarking on programmes to update their networks and the associated legacy platforms. With changing customer expectations driving new approaches to services, to what extent can we expect changes in the self-service channel to impact the delivery of banking journeys in the next few years?
ATM as a bank branch
As more and more consumers turn to digital or self-service channels to complete everyday tasks and transactions, financial institutions are transforming their branch networks to reshape the customer experience. Bank formats are becoming tailored to meet customer demands at individual locations. As part of this trend, some branches are becoming smaller and smarter, and ATMs are critically important to the branch modernisation process within this connected banking environment.
Flexible technology can serve an increasingly diverse range of purposes. Everyday consumer banking transactions are combined with new features, such as twenty-four-hour access to remote tellers via a video connection, alongside enhanced security and authentication. With sleek, modern designs and user interfaces, software-driven interactions can power intuitive functionalities that consumers have come to expect from interactive systems.
This valuable functionality has not gone unnoticed among consumers and our latest research, which explores the expectations of banking customers across the UK, shows that over half (57%) value using self-service technology to complete multiple tasks in one go.
Accenture’s ATM Benchmarking Study 2016 concludes that the “ATM will retain its importance for banks and consumers alike in the foreseeable future, but also that the untapped potential for cost optimisation and revenue generation will lead, in the medium term, to an evolution of ATM operating models.”
With ATMs increasingly able to perform more transactions than ever before, there is a window of opportunity to turn customer interaction with ATMs from transactional to an engagement tool for new products and services. This, in turn, gives branch staff more freedom to focus on customer services, building relationships with customers and strengthening brand loyalty.
Integration with cutting edge technology
Connected channel integration is the vision for future banking services – offering a seamless experience between channels and allowing consumers to start a transaction on one device and finish it on another. As a million more ATMs are predicted to roll out across the globe, they will service populations that have adopted mobile devices as key part of daily life – therefore it is no surprise that we are seeing trends which combine mobile technology with new ATM services.
For example, innovation advances mean that smartphones and wearable technology such as smartwatches, can be used to withdraw cash through NFC-based mobile payments services. Self-service machines enable access to user accounts through the device and effectively abolish the need to carry a debit card.
Another area that has been making great strides in recent years is biometrics particularly in the UK market. An article from the FT earlier this year identified that UK consumers were the most open of all the 11 countries surveyed to replace traditional passwords with iris identification.
Biometric authentication integrates technological advancements – such as facial recognition, iris scanning and fingerprint sensors – and the self-service channel, leading to enhanced security and an improved consumer experience.
Enhanced customer experiences
Advanced ATM technology enables banks to deliver quicker, more streamlined services in locations where customers demand them. Certainly, our research shows that consumers are embracing self-service technology because of its convenience and ease-of-use. Eight-in-ten people (79%) agree that technology will play an increasingly important role in bank branches in the future, and over half (57%) think improved technology in banks means they’ll spend less time queuing than they currently do.
As we look ahead to the future, developments in technologies such as artificial intelligence will continue to influence the delivery of banking services, with enhanced customer experience the ultimate objective. The Accenture Banking Technology Vision 2017 reveals that 80 per cent of bankers believe that artificial intelligence will play a significant role in accelerating the adoption of digital technology at the branch, providing employees with the tools and resources to better serve consumers.
AI-enabled tools will help banks identify consumer preferences and we’re already seeing many large brands, including financial institutions, integrating bots and AI into their digital and customer care strategies, alongside their human agents. AI and machine learning is also used to develop the analytical ability of banks to spot nonstandard behaviour patterns and fraudulent transactions.
The financial services industry is undergoing unprecedented change and more innovations are on the way. New technologies are helping banks to identify consumer preferences, enabling them to respond with services that develop meaningful and personalised consumer relationships. The challenge will be how quickly financial services can create and implement new customer journeys, delivering the service consumers have now come to expect.