American Banker: Consumers Will Allow Video Surveillance If It Gets Them Better Service

September 27, 2011 | Coverage

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Using video surveillance analysis to immediately greet branch customers by name may seem like a creepy, Big Brotherish move. However, new research shows consumers are comfortable with the idea. Consumers are accepting of non-security use of surveillance video when that video is used to speed up service and make engagement with bank staff more personal, according to research from Zogby.

The research firm reports 69% of the 2,153 U.S. adults it polled in August say their customer loyalty is positively affected by bank tellers recognizing them by name instantly upon the consumer entering the bank. Also, customers support the use of advanced technology to deliver customer service — 78% of those surveyed say they are comfortable with banks using cameras in their branches to improve customer service.

That comfort isn't lost on banks."Video has provided a significant impact on our security operations, allowing us to solve crimes and reduce investigation times," and "we see additional promise for the security platform that we have deployed," says Bill McNamara, a senior vice president at Union Savings Bank, a $2.5 billion-asset bank headquartered in Danbury, CT.

The bank licenses video technology from 3VR, a San Francisco firm that designs and manufactures video search, analytics and biometrics tool that perform facial surveillance and motion analytics. It runs a search engine that allows it to match images with other analytics — an image of a check can be matched with an image of the person who deposited that check, for instance, along with information on how many times that person was in the bank.

Using this technology, the bank can spot someone passing bad checks or trying to commit fraud. It can also be used to send a teller a person's name and recent transaction activity before greeting the customer.
At the start, Union Savings Bank will use the surveillance analysis technology to gauge traffic and transaction times at branches and to identify customers by name. This identification can then be combined with customer relationship management systems to aid in real-time customer service.

McNamara envisions further customer service purposes for the 3VR software. "We are exploring the opportunity to gain additional value by leveraging a variety of analytics that allow us to provide better customer service within our branches and create operational efficiencies," says McNamara. "If we can use video to enable staffing that reduces wait times or better identifies our best customers, we can bolster the ROI of a solution that was initially purchased just for security."