Delivering a World-Class Customer Experience: Drive-Thru Lanes

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The window to interact with clients in your branch’s drive-thru lanes is brief, so every moment counts. Time is of the essence, as are accuracy, security, and quality of the customer service interaction. While the transactions in drive-thru lanes are typically quicker and less complex than those inside a branch, your clients still rely on this brick-and-mortar banking experience to process withdrawals, make deposits, make payments to loans, and more.

Enter Wittenbach, the experts in branch security and drive-thru maintenance. Below, we’ll outline several ways to delight your drive-thru clients while keeping your exterior-facing teller staff safe.

Delivering a World-Class Customer Experience: Drive-Thru Lanes

Optimizing drive-thru touchpoints

To better understand the relevance of drive-thru banking, we will return to its advent. Hagerty addresses the debate as to when the first banks and credit unions adopted the drive-thru format; some of their sources indicate Chicago in 1946, while others contend it was much earlier in 1920’s Dallas.

Even in the early days of drive-thru financial transactions, tellers were protected from exterior safety threats and adverse environmental conditions. Bullet-resistant glass provided protection against attacks and high winds, and fortified transaction drawers allowed for the safe exchange of documents, currency, and other small items. Today’s drive-thru lanes employ many of the same concepts to keep business flowing, although the technology has significantly modernized and products have become more durable, ensuring a lasting return on your investments in branch security.

Drive-thru transactions have remained in constant fashion since the beginning; however, they’ve come back in greater force in the post-Covid era. Clients who need to withdraw or deposit money, or those in need of socially distanced teller support, have utilized drive-thru lanes to a greater degree as they offer a personalized experience without a close physical interaction.

Delivering a World-Class Customer Experience: Drive-Thru Lanes

ATMs (automated teller machines) and ITMs (interactive teller machines) are the highest-touch products in your drive-thru lanes, providing customers with a quick and reliable means of handling cash transactions and basic loan payments. The most modern of these machines, including the Hyosung 8300-series ITMs, has cash recycling capabilities to reduce the frequency of cash-in-transit replenishments, and offers video teller features if your clients are in need of further assistance. In video teller scenarios, an offsite employee can answer any transaction-related questions, and even inform the client about available loan or credit products if the interaction is suitable for this kind of discussion.

In a recent blog post, we discussed four main best practices for ATM and ITM fleet uptime, which is critical to the health and function of your drive-thru operations. The term “uptime” refers to the availability of your machines to transact, and the current industry standard is north of 98% of the time. ATM Marketplace also recommends accounting for the percentage of successfully completed transactions as an ATM/ITM health indicator.

Delivering a World-Class Customer Experience: Drive-Thru Lanes

Pneumatic tube systems may seem archaic on the surface, but they are quite a useful tool in transporting cash, documents, and other small goods between the client’s vehicle and the teller inside the branch buildings. Modern pneumatic tube units such as Hamilton’s HA1000-XLR can even include video capabilities so the drive-thru client has another available point of service to be seen and heard. These systems use compressed air or vacuum technology to move the cylinder and its payload from place to place. Wittenbach strongly recommends configuring pneumatic tube transportation via “upsend”, when the cylinder is sent up through the ceiling, instead of “downsend”, when it is sent underground, as subsurface issues can arise if the load is too heavy. When a modern pneumatic tube system is installed by experts and properly maintained by your branch, it expedites your clients’ drive-thru transactions with ease.

Delivering a World-Class Customer Experience: Drive-Thru Lanes

Bullet-resistant glass provides the security that your tellers need to conduct transactions with exterior clients. An annual FBI report on bank crime statistics illustrated that drive-thru lanes represented only about 2.5% of the 1,964 domestic U.S. bank and credit union robberies that occurred in 2021. However, since a higher percentage of those branches maintained bullet-resistant glass, the data shows that this can be a crime deterrent, or at least a lesser point of vulnerability in your branch footprint. Hamilton Vision Series glass can outfit the exterior of your branch, including drive-thru windows, where both the laminated glass and its frame are certified for ballistic- and hurricane-proofing regulations. When your tellers have peace of mind, they perform at their peak, which subsequently translates into a satisfied client.

Transaction drawers or “deal drawers” are another mechanism for security and efficiency when processing clients’ drive-thru transactions. Built into the glass window between the customer and teller employee, these stainless steel drawers can protect the lives and assets within the branch while allowing for easy exchange of currency and other items. Hamilton transaction drawer models 400DD (standard) and DCD-18 (oversized) include easy manual push-button function, insulation from cold outdoor air, an extendable drawer, and the ability to fit either a newly constructed branch or an existing one.


When you equip your clients and staff with the right tools for seamless transactions, their sense of confidence and partnership swells. Clients entrust your branch with valuable currency, items, documents, and time—and in turn, your opportunity exists to provide support that is both fast and thorough. Contact Wittenbach today to discuss best practices to optimize your drive-thru operations and products!