As the rain pours down and the winds blows every direction, instead of spending your lunch hour in the warmth of your centrally-heated office, you’ve got to go to the bank.So you trudge out into the cold, your umbrella turns inside out immediately, and by the time you arrive at the bank you are a soggy mess.
Can you get your transaction done quickly and return to work in time to dry out and have something to eat within the hour? No chance: the queue is enormous and every single person seems to either have a lengthy problem or wants to pay in the contents of their child’s piggy bank.
Welcome to the world of traditional banking – even though you pay a small fortune in interest charges, you’ve got your mortgage, life and home contents insurance with this bank, you still have to stand in line.
The New and Improved Kiosks
In other parts of the world, there are banks who are more enlightened and tuned in to the needs of their loyal customers. MISYS, the financial software company, says that the Bank of the Philippine Islands (PBI) have recently introduced kiosks called BEA, into their branches and it has revolutionised the queuing system.
You still have to wait, but not as long. You simply key in your account details and what you need done that day into BEA, the system produces a number, and when that number flashes up on the system, you are ready to be served. When your turn comes, the transaction has already been processed: all you do is take the cash if you are withdrawing money or give the money to the cashier to pay in if you are making a deposit.
This method would no doubt be popular with business owners who prefer delivering their money themselves, as it would save them a significant amount of time without having to sacrifice the security of a person-to-person interaction.
Time is Money
Another innovative service using BEA is its appointment system. For those that want to schedule their bank visit in advance, you can arrange an appointment online, get a number, and simply turn up at the bank at the stated time – yet another way to ensure your transaction gets dealt with even faster.
An added bonus about this type of kiosk is that it gives the bank a chance to do some marketing. While you’re waiting for your number the bank can flash up information about their services and products on the big screen, which if you’ve forgotten your phone at the office, you might find yourself browsing to help pass the time.
In the UK there are already self-service kiosks in many bank branches. It’s not the same as the BEA system in the Philippines, but it does speed up the time you spend in the bank. These kiosks allow you to withdraw cash, pay bills, view transactions, transfer money and deal with direct debits.
Get Money Anytime, Anywhere
The money transfer company Western Union already has payment kiosks in many US cities and also in the United Arab Emirates, which allows their customers to quickly send and receive money all over the world hassle-free. They also have kiosks in various locations – not just outside the bank branch – such as inside supermarkets, hospitals and petrol stations.
Whilst people will still find the need to visit a bank branch, customers today are demanding a better customer service experience and if they don’t get it they will go elsewhere. Nobody wants to spend more time than they have to in the bank and kiosks provide an efficient alternative to traditional cashier desks.
Time is Money, so Let’s Not Waste It
The use of kiosks also enables bank staff to give a more personal service as they can concentrate on customers who want their personal attention, as people in a hurry or with no need to speak to a cashier can use the kiosks for their everyday transactions.
Going back to the MISYS article mentioned earlier, it also points out that kiosks are a cheaper to run and transactions are more accurate as the human error factor has been eliminated.
Branches in the future should be places where technology and traditional methods of dealing with customers flow seamlessly and kiosks will definitely provide customers with a better service.