Feb 14, 2023
It’s hard to believe it’s been nearly a decade since video teller machines were introduced to financial institutions. Initially, these machines were very similar to automated teller machines (ATMs), with minor tweaks to their design, giving a repurpose to kiosk technology. Needless to say, no one was quite certain of the future of the video teller machine. Today, many banks and credit unions are adding new branches, leading to a growing need to bolster staffing and accommodate the needs of an increasingly “self-service” world with video teller technology. But what needs to happen to deploy these machines — especially in drive-thru environments — to ensure staff is on the same page and there is no damage to both the customer experience and the financial institution’s reputation?
Before addressing questions about best practices for deployment, it’s crucial to establish the differences between the teller machine technologies. Let’s start with the old, familiar ATM.
According to a History.com article, on September 2, 1969, America’s first ATM made its public debut, dispensing cash to customers at Chemical Bank in Rockville Centre, New York. This was a revolutionary idea in the late 1960s as this specialized computer allowed financial customers to complete transactions without the need to see a bank representative. As with nearly all game-changing ideas, adoption took some time, but by the 1980s, ATMs became the norm, providing banking customers with 24/7 ubiquitous access to cash. But as times change, so do the banking needs of consumers, which leads to the next evolution of the ATM, the video teller machine.
Financial institutions looking for a competitive advantage or to address operational and cost efficiencies (a.k.a. automating more transactions) — or both — seem to be the ideal candidates for implementing video teller technology. This technology was created by modifying the designs of ATMs. Specifically, designers kept the ATM base but changed its hardware and software to include video capabilities and additional communication. Most importantly, a remote call center is staffed with tellers to assist customers or members with transactions through video.
Video teller machines must offer most, if not all, of the services your branch provides. Obviously, services like safe deposit boxes aren’t viable, but loan, account, and money management services must all be on the table. If those services can be provided through video technology, deeper questions about customer experience and adoption can be asked.
The most important thing to think about when considering investing in video teller machines at your financial institution’s drive-thru lanes is the customer experience. Is this technology something your staff is excited about and willing to embrace? How will your customers respond to it? No one knows their staff and customers better than the financial institution, so take care in answering questions about the customer experience and staff expectations.
From there, other discussion points should be examined, including:
These, and other questions, must be answered by high-level decision-makers at the financial institution to determine if a video teller machine is the right choice for the branch.
Education on brand-new technology and how to use it is critical. Financial institutions must take great lengths to bring customers awareness of and educate them about adopting a video teller machine. This can be done in numerous ways — in-person, digital advertising, television and radio advertising, marketing materials, and signage. Extensive signage in and around the branch and its teller machines that include new technology instructions will also prove beneficial by providing precise information to potential users.
Both illuminated direct-view and backlit LED signs are a great way to raise awareness of the presence of video technology in a financial institution’s drive-thru lanes. These signs allow motorists to see which lanes accommodate the services they’re seeking, whether it be an ITM, ATM, live teller, or specialty/multi-use lane. Having these signs visible above the drive-thru canopy early in the decision-making process of drive-thru customers is a simple way to promote a positive customer experience.
Illuminated variable message signs, like the RGB Rebel Series, can provide step-by-step instructions on how to use ITMs. These signs are also very good at branding the financial institution and reinforcing its reputation. This bolsters customers’ trust in the video teller machine and helps encourage use now and in the future.
Adopting video teller technology in the drive-thru often means virtual teller/call center hours differ from brick-and-mortar branch hours. This creates confusion regarding when certain signs should indicate a lane is open or closed. Our smart sign system allows financial institutions to set schedules for their lanes’ and adjust them remotely to ensure 100 percent accuracy of drive-thru hours, further enhancing the customer experience.
Illuminated signs are an excellent choice for both raising awareness of the presence of a video teller machine and providing instructions to use the new technology. Signal-Tech — the leading LED signage and systems solutions company for the financial industry — is ready to provide banks and credit unions with the proper signage to ensure ITM deployment and adoption runs smoothly. Contact us any time to learn more!