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Customer Intuition Failure: ATM Machines

AtmWhy is it that the bank that sends me statements in English asks me everytime I use an ATM machine if I feel like giving it a go in Spanish? Guess what bank? I'm going to select English every time.

Wouldn't it be better if you could just select a prefered language and have it programmed on your ATM card so the machine never had to ask you again?

As more and more self serve kiosks and automated systems take over the customer interactions there needs to be a common sense approach to their interface design. Just as people need to be intuitive about their customers so to the machines.

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November 6, 2005 in Blog Outsourcing, blog publish, Brand enhancement, Building B2B Relationships, Building Customer Community, Business Marketing, Business newsletter, Web/Tech | Permalink


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I've always been of the opinion that until the percentage of Spnaish-speakers in a given area is much closer to that of English speakers than it is in most of the country right now, all machines of any sort should default to English and require Spanish-speakers to proactively opt into Spanish (via a highly-visible control of some sort, naturally). It's not discrimination--it's removing a step that doesn't serve most of the population. Some ATMs in my area do this; I wish they all did.

In any event, though, you make a great point; we're well past the point of technological advancement where this information could either be in your card, or in a database that the machine pings when it reads your card.

Posted by: Max Leibman | Nov 9, 2005 12:05:46 AM

Bank of America recently switched to an ATM system that learns and remembers your language (and other) preferences, and loads them when you insert your card.

Sure it only saves a few seconds, but it's the thought that counts.

Posted by: Sharif | Nov 16, 2005 10:29:28 PM

Bank of America seems to be getting it right. When a user pulls up to an ATM that is out of service they are shown a screen that not only informs them the machine is out of service it provides them with a list of the, I belive, 5 closest alternate ATMs. The next logical step there would be to provide the user with a printable map or text based directions.

Posted by: Matt | Dec 12, 2005 11:38:38 PM