Kiosks - A Solution to Queuing in the Branch

Going to a branch is something I try to avoid like a plague. Given I work in branch software, it is a controversial statement – but let me explain…

Going to a branch is something I try to avoid like a plague. Given I work in branch software, it is a controversial statement – but let me explain…

Like many people the world over, most of my banking transactions can be done online. Going into a branch would mean enduring long queues. It can easily take thirty minutes or more just to complete my transactions in my local branch in Manila.  Unfortunately, for cash and cheque transactions, there often isn’t a choice.

Like many people (and especially as my boss will be reading this), if I have to go to the bank I usually go during my lunch hour. Unfortunately, everyone has the same brilliant idea and goes at the same time, resulting to waiting, waiting, and waiting. Most of that time spent on my feet. It is a complete waste of time but unfortunately normal.

However, there is light at the end of the tunnel!

Kiosks have been instrumental in taking the load off payments and deposits transactions that would normally be done in the bank during peak hours. They are used as payments and deposits drop off, are accessible 24/7 and reduce the need to go to the bank and interacting with a teller.

Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI) in the Philippines is a great example of what can be done. To help manage queues, BPI introduced kiosks in their branches called BEA - BPI Express Assist. A customer walks in, goes to BEA, keys in the transaction details, e.g. cash deposit transaction, account number and the amount. BEA then issues a queue number and the customer sits on a sofa and waits until their number is flashed on a tv screen. At the counter, they give their number and the teller will then process the transaction which is done automatically - i.e. the teller does not key in the transaction anymore. At the end the teller counts the money, prints the slip and/or passbook and hands it over to the customer.

There are several advantages offered by kiosk solutions like BEA:

Time – Waiting time is reduced by automating processes previously done manually. Tellers no longer key in the transaction to the system.

Efficiency - Total transaction time is cut by 33%. In addition, customers no longer have to fill out those slips by hand. This improves the customer experience and improves staff efficiency.

Accuracy - Chances of the teller making a mistake in entering the transaction is virtually eliminated because the system defaults the data to the transaction. The customer and the teller also have more time to check the transaction.

Comfort - Instead of standing in a queue, customers can sit down on sofas while waiting for their number to be called.

Marketing strategy - Numbers are called by flashing them on a tv monitor. The bank can market their products by showing them in the monitor and customers watch while waiting.

Queue jump online – BPI’s BEA solution has been extended so a customer can set an appointment online by selecting the date and time they want to go to the bank, enter the transactions they want and receiving a queue number in return. They then go to the branch at the appointed time, further reducing the wait.

Cost – Kiosk solutions are cheaper than costly fully-automated deposit machines. A secured wireless tablet device and ticket printer is the only hardware that is required.

Trust – Many customers don’t trust drop boxes for cash and cheque transactions, so a face to face transaction is still their preference.

Segment – Banks can now prioritize the queuing of more valuable customers or transactions. Certain transaction types can also be directed to the most experienced tellers. This helps the bank to deliver a more targeted and efficient service.

Kiosks can help modernize the service provided in branches. It is certainly interesting to explore how else their functionality could be extended. Integrate kiosks with smart phones and tablets? Why not?

*Image below is from http://www.jobonsol.net/2011/08/event-bpi-shares-bea.html