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Is your ATM a sales channel yet? And should it be?


My friends over on the Diamond Analytics blog posted an update to an old post today where they talked about some recent instances where the ATM is being used as a sales channel. Ron Shevlin had a good comment on the original post about the appropriateness of the channel given queues, screens etc. so I thought a post was in order.

As I said once before, I believe that ATMs will, indeed must, become better sales channels. Further I think that banks should be looking hard at the ATM experience and making sure that it meshes with the overall experience they wish to deliver to their customers. This means thinking about, and managing, the decisions involved such as:

  1. What to display for a specific customer when they insert their card
    A combination of personalization based on preferences and on predictions of likely behavior, time of day etc.
  2. What offer(s) to make a specific customer
    Probably pre-calculated based on behavior up to that point, possibly including the current ATM interaction
  3. When to make or not make an offer
    To address Ron’s point, rules to handle things like time since last customer as a surrogate for busyness etc. Customer preferences also.
  4. How to offer to fulfill the offer
    Based on the offer, known customer preferences, whether or not the ATM is at a branch etc.

The process of displaying information on the ATM must be integrated with these decisions so that fixed returns (always display the same screen) are replaced with dynamic ones. These decisions must also be tested and adapted over time to see what works and whether the cost is justified (another of Ron’s points). You must use adaptive control to continually try different approaches such as varying whether an offer is closed by a call back, email with a link to an online application or a request to come into a branch.

It is worth doing this, despite Ron’s valid worries, because it helps transition the ATM from a dumb machine that always asks the same questions to a personalized portal to the bank and its products. Current ATMs may be a bad channel but future ones need not be.

Next week I will be blogging from IBM’s IMPACT show – if you are there, come by the bookshop on Tuesday and you can buy a signed copy of the book! Later in the week I will write a couple of posts on the future of EDM so tune in.