Bank tellers' smartest move to win the hearts and minds of customers may be through the incorporation of technology.

Why Embracing Tech May Be Tellers’ Saving Grace

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The digital revolution and the associated transformation of the physical branch is the here and now in banking. Given this, is there still a seat at the table for the bank teller? In a word: Absolutely. How so? By embracing technology, namely cash recyclers.

On the surface, this may sound counterintuitive. Won't embracing the technology simply lead to teller replacement? Absolutely not. Not if the financial institution looks more deeply at what that teller and the equipment can accomplish in tandem. Optimizing their people together with their processes can ultimately help banks and credit unions enhance the customer relationship. It is time for the teller to be redefined and reinvigorated.

Online banking certainly is all the rage these days, and why wouldn't it be? It enables consumers to seamlessly check their account balances, make deposits and withdraw funds from just about anywhere. However, they still prefer the human interaction that they don't get from ATMs or mobile apps. Indeed, according to recent polling data conducted by Gallup, just 7% of customers use digital technology to open an account or apply for a loan. In fact, even when it comes to learning more about digital channels, human interactions are three times more helpful compared to other methods, based on the testimony of customers. 

"Once inside the branch, cash is counted seven or more times."

So, you may be wondering, what's the problem? More specifically, how do cash recyclers fit into this equation? Two words: cash management. Tellers currently spend inordinate amounts of time manually counting, collating, stacking and handling cash. In fact, once inside the branch, cash is counted seven or more times, on average, before it's eventually withdrawn by customers, or shipped to centralized processing units. Granted, tellers are highly skilled in multitasking, but it's virtually impossible to handle customer questions, complaints and concerns, never mind leverage positive and profitable opportunities, and simultaneously accurately manage and move cash (the key word being accurately). Since the customer experience is the foremost priority for approximately 75% of banks and branches, according to an Accenture survey, tellers can and must shift their focal point from currency to the consumer.

Few feel connected to their bank
This is partly because the customer-teller relationship isn't as strong as it could be. In the previously referenced Gallup study, just 20% of customers feel "emotionally connected" to their primary bank. This may come down to resourcing. With only so many people on staff whose responsibilities can pull them in all directions, certain goals are bound to slip through the cracks.

Indeed, as a BAI study of approximately 200 financial institutions showed, more than half believed they were coming up "woefully short" in meeting customers' expectations in terms of satisfaction. Facilities would be wise to redouble their efforts in making the people they serve their top priority, as fully engaged customers hold the potential to raise revenue by 23%, according to separate Gallup research.

Vibhas Ratanjee, senior practice expert at Gallup, said businesses have to walk the delicate balance of using digital in concert with human interaction.

"When your digital channel is a customer's first – or only – experience with you, it creates the first (or last) impression of your brand promise," Ratanjee explained. "So, define your brand promise [and] design a customer experience that integrates it."

Again, it may seem counterintuitive, but it's the embracing of automation technology and equipment that allows you to place more of a priority on your customers and what they need at the very moment they need it. This must be complemented with process changes to better manage consumer expectations and those of your staff.

The LTA-350 is one piece of the customer satisfaction mission. Able to quickly and securely identify and validate denominations and banknotes, this state-of-the-art machine provides the multifaceted resource that your staff needs to roll up their sleeves and go to work. For more information on how we can help make your facility operate like a well-oiled machine, please contact BranchServ today.