Why Won’t They Go Online? The Surprising Story Behind Lost PINs

Every day, thousands of bank customers stroll up to an ATM, type in their PINs, and receive a prompt that the code entered was invalid. According to one major bank, this happens on average more than 442k times per month. What happens next serves as a cautionary tale for any business that relies on delivering good customer service while controlling the cost of that service.

While 75% of those customers simply re-enter their PIN correctly and successfully complete their transaction, nearly 78k customers per month subsequently turn from the ATM and enter another channel of the bank to resolve their PIN issue. In an effort to reduce interactions involving more costly resources, such as bank branch locations or the contact center, the bank had invested significantly in a web-based process for resolving PIN requests. Yet analysis showed that this resource was underutilized.

Looking closely at the web process, the bank found that a significant percentage of customers who tried the online process failed. The immediate assumption was that the web process was flawed and required more work.

An Obvious Problem Hides the Elusive Truth

When a company offers what it believes is an effective customer service response through a digital platform, it’s naturally frustrating to discover that the vast majority of customers still turn to more expensive channels. There’s a reflexive tendency to place the blame on the web user interface, particularly when there is evidence of failure.

While there was evidence of problems with the web process, bank analysts were not convinced they’d gotten to the heart of the matter. Using ClickFox, the team began to examine the paths of customers who initiated a PIN reset journey. The system enabled analysts to examine the journey across multiple bank service channels: mobile app, declined transactions, self-service kiosks, ATMs, brick-and-mortar transactions, web site, and more.

Unexpected patterns emerged from the data. For example:

  • Nearly 22% of ATM visitors who incorrectly entered their PIN once or twice then exited the ATM and engaged with a bank employee within 7 days (44% engaged the same day).

  • Nearly 30% of those customers requested their PIN.

  • The percentage of customers engaging bank employees drastically increased to 72% when 3 invalid PIN attempts occurred at the ATM. More than half of these customers requested a PIN.  

But what wasn’t happening as a result of these PIN-related issues? More visits to the web-based solution.

Customers Choose the Path of Least Resistance

Through their cross-channel investigation using ClickFox, analysts had come upon a surprising and valuable insight. Prior to looking at how customers were flowing through their channels, the organization held a belief that was partially accurate but misleading. The bank’s presumption had been that customers tried online, failed, and thus turned to higher cost channels. The truth was that customers didn’t know the online option existed. They simply followed what, from their perspective, seemed the next, obvious step. That meant walking into the bank or phoning for help.

In other words, no amount of work on the web process would reduce the impact of PIN-related issues on branch banks or the call center.

Proactive Steps to Change Customer Behavior

Using journey science techniques, the bank was able to see a myriad of detail that led customers everywhere but the digital self-service option. In addition to improving the web process, the bank made the decision to introduce new alerting systems that took advantage of digital platforms before customers locked themselves out.

Even for an organization that collects a considerable amount of data, it is surprisingly easy to accept the assumption that customers follow the path that has been prescribed for them. Instead people will take the path of least resistance and the nature of that resistance may not be readily apparent. Customer journey analytics highlights the divide between assumptions and facts.

It can be difficult to recognize when a company is asking the wrong question. Step back and ask if the question is artificially narrow. If the organization offers an omni-channel experience, but the question focuses on just a single operational silo, it is reasonable to re-evaluate the scale of that snapshot. Similarly, if an initiative or business question is itself embedded with untested hypotheses, there is an opportunity to apply journey analytics to explore data sets that can prove or invalidate those foundations.

Customer Experience Branch Migration

Written by Will Holloway

Will Holloway is a Senior Consultant within the Business Solutions division of ClickFox. Will joined ClickFox more than four years ago with previous experience in consulting. In his current role at ClickFox, Will delivers analytical insights across a variety of enterprise channels and industries including wireless, utility, and banking resulting in reduced operational cost and improved customer experience. Looking to the future of journey science, he is applying his expertise in customer behaviors and journey mapping into non-traditional journey management.