As branch teller jobs morph into wider sales and service roles, banks will first have to make major technology upgrades, such as building out teller-image capture capabilities and workstation tools to both support and measure sales performance, according to a new report from TowerGroup.
With back-office image capture now commonplace, bankers will find they need to “take another step” in cost savings and efficiency goals—as well as fraud reduction—by moving capture out front to the teller window, where transactions can immediately flow into the teller platform and yield bottom-line benefits like the reduction of next-day exceptions. TowerGroup retail banking research director Tom Brogan, the report’s author, predicts 375,000 teller image capture devices will be online by 2014, putting the devices in 56 percent of all teller workstations.
This automation will free up tellers to pitch products and services and will change the way banks measure teller performance. While a number of mid-size and large banks have teller sales referral tools built into branch systems, TowerGroup notes most still judge their employees on customer satisfaction metrics instead of real sales numbers. Determining which tellers outperform their peers will become more crucial as banks downsize staffs, in a trend that already is clipping away more than 500 positions a year at institutions with more than 1,000 branches.
Transforming the teller position into a sales associate job will take more than pruning heads. Banks will have to invest in more training to support the “universal teller,” as well as enhance teller-technology platforms to work with business-process management and workflow applications.