This post originally appeared in CU Insight during the week of June 8, 2015
Managing a credit union today can be a delicate balancing act. Increasingly, members are drawn to the efficiency and privacy of self-service transactions in the branch. However, there are many instances when they benefit more from a personalized service model.
Knowing when to let members serve themselves – and when to step in with full-service assistance – can be fundamental to a credit union’s success, especially as newer, more advanced technologies make their way into branches.
“Studies show that while the self-service banking segment is growing rapidly, most consumers that stop using a brand’s products or services do so over a bad customer service experience,” said Amanda Atcheson, Product Marketing Manager, CO-OP Financial Services. “So credit unions walk a fine line. In order to ensure high service levels all around, they need to thoughtfully and strategically blend self-service venues into the branch experience.”
Atcheson cites deposits, withdrawals and transfers as examples of activities best handled through self-service channels. For more complex transactions, such as managing mortgages, car loans and investments, a face-to-face approach is clearly needed.
“Automating routine transactions allows members to get in and out of the branch quickly,” she said. “However, for more complicated activities such as financial planning, members may feel more comfortable working directly with an associate. Focusing employees around higher-level services allows them to deepen relationships with members and inspire their loyalty as well.”
Personalized service shouldn’t begin and end there, though. “Regardless of how the transaction takes place, the goal is always to create a superior member experience,” she said. “We recommend locating an employee near smart ATMs to walk members through their transactions as needed, especially when new technologies are introduced in the branch. And make sure the ATM platform is both highly intuitive and delivers the functionality required.”
CO-OP offers a range of self-service options to help credit unions transform their branches, including the state-of-the-art In-Lobby Teller. Powerful and easy to use, this innovative ATM features a colorful, 19-inch touch-screen display and offers advanced shared branching features and ATM check imaging for automated deposits of notes and checks.
“The In-Lobby Teller’s touch-screen navigation makes it feel more like a tablet than a traditional ATM,” Atcheson said. “It also uses conversational language to guide users through transactions for even greater consumer appeal. It closely simulates the experience members receive from a live teller.”
To ensure a high-touch experience, a “Video Teller” option is available. This feature allows users to access a live teller via video conference at any point in the transaction. The optional ATM Visual Control allows credit unions to customize displays with branding elements and marketing messages.
While smart ATMs such as the In-Lobby Teller benefit members tremendously, they also enhance the lives of branch associates.
“Branches that have embraced automation can transition employees into more rewarding sales and service roles,” Atcheson said. “This allows employees to connect with members in more meaningful ways, and they are more engaged in their jobs as a result.”
She continued, “While consumers continue to value self-service technologies, there is no substitute for the human touch. A branch transformation strategy built around this dynamic both serves members well and positions a credit union for future growth and success.”