Is your financial institution using valuable information available from your branch and ATM locator to make smarter decisions and to better serve your customers and members? Here are a few key strategies!
Using free mapping software often seems like the simplest and most cost-effective way to help account holders find your financial institution’s branch and ATM locations. But going for the least expensive option can have its drawbacks. If you send users away from your site and brand, there can be user experience and trust issues at play. If you embed a free map in your site, you allow big banks and other companies to advertise right inside your environment. However, one of the most significant drawbacks is the lack of data and insight.
If you think about it, your branch and ATM locator users share a wide range of vital information to view location results.
They are feeding your mapping application with their current GPS coordinates, an address or zip code where they intend to be in the future, or a critical location such as their home or office. But, other than a general idea of how many people performed a search, most of the available “free” options are unlikely to track or provide any of this data at all, let alone in any format that you can use to make more informed decisions about your bank or credit union’s future.
Here are four (4) ways your ATM locator should be feeding your financial institution’s consumer-facing decisions.
- Decision: Where should we open/close branches or place ATMs? – A robust locator will track where your current and potential account holders are searching for your services. It can then provide you that data to help you visualize this information with a heat map or consolidate it into spreadsheets sorting zip codes, counties, or other data points. These reports can then help you determine where your bank or credit union should potentially expand access, both at the neighborhood/market/zip code level, and even down to specific retail establishments and addresses.
- Decision: When should your branches have access available? – Your account holders might need to drop off deposits or use an ATM before or after hours. Maybe you have a specific location that would particularly benefit from some expansion to service hours. But you won’t necessarily know how often this happens if your locator isn’t tracking requests by the time of day.
- Decision: More branches or more ATM access? – The most popular “free” mapping tools don’t usually offer selective options for users, such as searching by ATM or branch. But knowing what type of account access your locator users are looking for can help prevent costly mistakes – such as placing a branch (even a mini-branch) where an ATM would have been more than adequate.
- Decision: Expanding ATM access through Surcharge-Free Networks? – Deciding to invest in a full-function ATM or ITM is a big decision requiring a relatively significant capital investment as well as ongoing maintenance and operational costs. But what if your locator could tell you just how widespread searches are across a particular MSA, zip code, or county and what they are looking to achieve? You might discover that it would be more prudent to provide multiple cash and transfer only options over a wider area rather than a full-function machine. What if you could identify specific markets nationwide that are of particularly strong interest for your customers or members. You might be able to pick a more appropriate surcharge-free ATM or retail partner to best meet those needs.
Financial institution expansion of any sort is an expensive decision, so it is essential to collect all of the data available before making such big decisions as changing hours, investing in surcharge-free, building or closing branches, or placing more ATMs. And the most informative option to keep track and report on this information is the location data your institution can receive from their online and mobile locator function.
Jason Green, Co-Founder
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