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Subject: Re: UKNM: ATMs
From: Nick Sweeney
Date: Tue, 27 Oct 1998 18:02:33 GMT

> On the contrary, the introduction of ATMs is an excellent example of
> technology being used to provide a higher level of customer service and at
> the same time increasing customer expectations. Until ATMs were introduced,
> people expected to have to queue up in a bank between 9.30am and 3.30pm to
> get at their money whereas now they expect to go no further than their
> nearest hole in the wall, want telephone banking 24 hours a day, etc.

Call me a bleeding-heart paternalist, but don't you think that in spite of
the pseudo-personalisation that ATMs, telephone banking and the like
offer, this disintermediation is actually an increased intermediation
which accentuates the distance between customer and bank? In short, once
you get your wages paid into the bank and use your cards to access it, the
only time you're likely to engage in personal contact with bank staff are
at times of urgency or of critical importance--and, often, when things go
wrong. Which, as the increase in complaints suggests, is where the banks
are failing, because when you have to see someone about a loan, or because
the computer has miscalculated your balance, they know you not as an
individual, but as a series of transactions that are themselves processed
and pre-judged by the same computer system. I speak from three months of
personal experience this year.

> Far from abolishing customer service, ATMs have helped create an environment
> where customer service must reach new heights for businesses to continue to
> be competitive.

Well, I'd be less inclined to disagree if I didn't know from the horse's
oatbag that NatWest switched to an NT-based ATM system:

a) because it was pretty much forced upon them by MS
b) because it allows for the introduction of advertising on ATMs

and then blamed their staff rather than the OS when said system regularly
broke down because it wasn't as scalable as the old one.

Net marketing may be about a "one-to-one future", as Michael Sippy has
frequently mentioned; but the task is recognise that personalisation
ought to apply as much to the service provider as to the customer.

Nick Sweeney
"A letter always arrives at its destination." - Jacques Lacan

  Re: UKNM: BOUNCE [email protected], Ray Taylor

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