First Republic Bank has specialized in personalized relationship-based financial services for over 30 years. What originally began as a rebranding effort, turned into a complete overhaul of the ATM experience through the addition of touchscreens and personalized preferences that together reduced the average transaction time by 60%.
Withdrawing money from the ATM is one of those tasks that should just work. Most users probably don’t think about this process unless things go wrong. Because there was already an effort to update the ATMs for accessibility, upgrading the branding as well as the user experience at the same time was a cost effective way to achieve multiple goals. We knew that this was the perfect opportunity to revisit the entire experience and make sure that is was not only efficient but also carried over the personalized touch and care that our clients normally encounter in our offices.
After spending a few minutes standing in front of one of the machines, it became apparent that the major issues that plagued every machine was the physical buttons. For those not familiar with older ATMs, the machine has a numeric keypad for input as well as a set of eight, unlabelled multi-purpose physical buttons along both the left and right sides of the screen. During transactions, these physical buttons will have a label shown on the screen to signify different options or steps the user can take. Unfortunately, these buttons do not always have a function assigned to them and depending on the user’s height or viewing angle, the label and button alignment are not always easy to decipher causing frustration for users who just want to get their money and be on their way.
Knowing that touch screens were being used by many of the national competitors, I was surprised to find out that upgrading to a touch screen would be a plausible way to address the button alignment issue that plagued so many of the current First Republic ATMs. The price of touchscreens had been declining over the years, and the bank agreed that all future ATMs and current ATMs that needed to be upgraded for accessibility would be eligible for the touch screen upgrade as well.
After looking at the anonymous transaction amounts and interviewing both staff and clients, we found that 80% of users consistently withdrew the same amount from the ATM each visit. We already knew that the “Fast $100” option was popular because of how many steps it saved the user, but we wanted to see if we could push this concept even further by allowing users to set their own withdrawal amounts.
By allowing users to set their preferences, we reduced the average transaction time by 60%. Not only were we able to fix the button alignment frustrations, but we were able to do it in a more personalized method that our clients appreciated. Clients welcomed the new branding and especially loved the ability to set their own preferences.
Our primary focus was making sure the experience was seamless and personalized for our clients, but one thing I would do differently next time is spending more time to identify opportunities for prospects. Being located in prime tourists areas in major cities like San Francisco, Los Angeles, and New York gives us access to plenty of prospective clients that visit the ATMs and provides us with unique ways to target these people. We promoted one of our most popular products, ATM Rebate Checking, but I know there could have been more targeted messages we could have developed with a deeper study of non-client transactions.