Self-Service Video Banking
Technology You Can Bank On
Video banking allows customers to speak directly to a bank representative through a kiosk or off-site ATM. Deploying a remote video connection provides a more efficient and personal level of service, bridging the gap between self-service and full service.
By Neil O'Sullivan
Video banking builds on the existing ATM network to enhance the customer service and expand the reach of financial institutions into new markets. It combines self-service with personal interaction with a teller at a remote location. The teller completes the transaction and answers any questions the user might have.
Video banking tellers work in remote call centers, where they are able to service several banking locations from a central site. This lowers the operational costs of staffing and means branch staff can focus on up-selling and customer service rather than performing simple tasks. Using self-service video banking, banks can reach out to new markets without all the overheads of traditional branches. Video banking kiosks can be located off-site, such as in an office complex or shopping mall. This also means customers would be able to access banking services out of hours. This fits into the trend for ATMs to add more services, such as account management and queries.
Remote video banking features Experticity and Tandberg offer video conferencing-type applications. UGenius Technology has a proprietary hardware and software platform, the uGenius Personal Teller System. The system allows customers to interact with live tellers in a call centre via a two-way audio and video connection to conduct banking transactions and allow the teller to take control of the transactional devices so the customer experience is similar to a branch visit.
For financial institutions, Experticity’s system can integrate card swipes, scanners and printers. Experticity’s solution is hardware independent, and the company offers its solution on NCR and IBM platforms, among others. With the Experticity system, consumers can communicate with a live financial expert via two-way audio and video. The expert, who is provided by the institution or a third party, can then answer questions and solve problems. Experts in a variety of languages can be available as needed. To extend personalised customer service into the home, the Experticity@ Home platform enables customers to have a live audio and video dialogue with the onscreen customer service agent via their personal computer.
The uGenius Personal Teller Machine is a remote transaction machine that is used by a customer when connecting to an off-site teller. Although at first glance it looks like an ATM with a large video screen, it accepts cash and cheques, dispenses coins and cash and prints cheques. The machine serves as the teller’s virtual hands by accepting, verifying and dispensing viable media for a broad range of transactions.
“This is assisted self-service. The customer doesn’t have to know how to operate the machine or put in their account numbers,” said Jed Taylor, executive vice president for uGenius Technology. “The Personal Teller System is the only solution in the marketplace that allows the teller to complete a bank transaction for the consumer.”
One of the largest current users of the technology is Coastal Federal Credit Union in Raleigh, North Carolina. In the last year Coastal deployed over 41 units into 13 of its 19 branches and services these 13 branches with 22 tellers located in a centralised video call centre. Coastal has used the technology in afterhours vestibules to expand branch hours by 44% while increasing the pay grade of its centralised tellers by two levels, and reducing total teller labor costs by 22%.
Case Study: Coastal Federal Credit Union
Coastal Federal Credit Union in Raleigh, N.C., was searching for a technology that would help it lower the cost of transactions in its branches, while improving service for members.
Willard G. Ross, senior vice president at CFCU, explains why they selected video banking technology using the Personal Teller System from uGenius Technology. “We were looking for a system that would help us lower costs and effectively extend our hours for the convenience of our members.”
CFCU has deployed 36 units across 10 of its 19 branches, with 4 to 5 units per location. Eventually, the units will be deployed at all branches. With the 10-branch evel of deployment, CFCU sees benefits of the economies of scale in teller staffing and other cost categories. Members’ perception of service has remained very positive as well.
“We can do almost everything that an across-the-counter teller can do, and we can do certain things better,” he added. When CFCU converts a branch to the video banking model, no tellers remain in the branch. Only managers and sales people remain on-site. “For this to make sense, we have to reduce the teller count,” Ross said. "As we convert more branches to video banking, we won’t need to add very many tellers to our call centre.”
Ross estimates that once CFCU fully converts to video banking, the teller force will be only about 60% of the original size. Members benefit from better service because more tellers are available, especially during busy parts of the day. “The branches aren’t all busy at the same times, so the system from uGenius enables us to match the staffing to the peak demand and keep wait times pretty constant across e branches,” he said. One unexpected benefit has been a more personal transaction through the video interface. Even though it might seem impersonal, the teller and member interact through a video feed focused on the person. That eliminates distractions and allows the teller to interact solely with the member in front of them.
“Because the teller is not looking at the next person in line or someone coming in the door, it’s actually a more personal experience,” Ross said.
Members also appreciate the extended hours available through the Personal Teller System. Traditional branches are open 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. on weekdays, but in nine locations with the video banking system, the hours are 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. CFCU relies on standard ATMs at every branch to provide 24/7 service.
In some branches, the transition to video banking has been easy for members. CFCU used the remote teller system, in which tellers at the branch used a video screen to communicate with members and transactions were conducted via a pneumatic tube system, at several locations. Ross says at those branches, the transition to the Personal Teller System has been easier.
At other traditional branches, CFCU introduces a PTM into the branch six to nine months before the full conversion. That first unit is typically installed in the vestibule for extended-hours access. “By the time we do the full conversion, most members have already used the Personal Teller System,” Ross said.
The uGenius Personal Teller System allows CFCU to open branches on-site at member groups’ locations. For instance, CFCU opened a branch in a high-tech manufacturer’s headquarters. One employee is available to open accounts and make loans, but the members can conduct transactions any time.
Video banking offers face-to-face interaction between a consumer and a remote teller. Typically, the video system is housed in a kiosk-style fixture in a bank branch or at an off-premises location. Through a video link, a consumer can complete traditional teller and customer service transactions a ask questions.
For the ATM industry, platform-independent video banking may be a few years away, but it is surely coming soon. Video banking is the next big channel, an extension that builds on the self-service, remote foundation created by the ATM channel. Independent ATM sales organizations looking for ways to differentiate themselves in the marketplace may very well jump on the video banking bandwagon.
Tuesday, January 25, 2011