The self-service puzzle: strategic touchpoint or point of utility?
For many bankers, the self-service channel is becoming way more strategically important. As consumers migrate away from heavy branch use and toward mobile banking, the ATM remains a critical intersection between the physical and digital worlds of cash.
These bankers recognise that the ATM has, in some ways, become a stand-in for the branch itself – the primary physical interaction point with their brand.
On the other hand, there are financial institutions and deployers out there today who really look at their ATM channel as a utility. It essentially dispenses cash. It’s still important, but other than for automation of cash access it’s not viewed as a strategic extension of the branch, or an opportunity to engage with consumers.
Two camps looking at the same touchpoint and seeing something completely different. So who’s right?
If we look at fintechs today, they are grasping at ways to enter the physical space and the physical world of their consumers. Even if we envision a cashless future, the reality is that cash still plays a very relevant role in most consumers’ day-to-day lives. Modern ATMs are strategic assets that offer banks a huge opportunity: an established network of physical touchpoints that can function as a proxy for the bank.
An ATM should be a part of a transformative branch footprint while the branch is operational, used as a cash recycler that reduces CIT visits and optimises cash management. If the branch is rightsized or closed, the ATM offers a way for the bank to remain in the community; it can actually “be” the branch. With the connectivity that modern ATMs offer, we can now build a banking ecosystem that enables the self-service channel to be far more than just a “cash and dash” mechanism.
Viewed through that lens, financial institutions must create an engagement model that enables consumers to interact with this physical presence the same way they would in their digital world, or in the branch itself. It’s more than omnichannel in this sense, because we can start thinking about what else a consumer may want to do – connect to third parties, other apps, etc. The ATM can be the vehicle that ties it all together and allows them to interact not only with their financial institution but also with peripheral or support services and offerings that may be outside of the traditional four walls of the bank.
Which means financial institutions have to take their ATM strategy to the next level, and re-examine their investment methodology. Are you looking at your ATM channel as a utility? Or as a strategic touchpoint? The lens you choose will inform how you engage with your consumers as banking evolves.
By Scott Anderson, connected-commerce visionary and brand evangelist for Diebold Nixdorf
Take the Diebold Nixdorf ATM Solution Fitness Assessment to find out: