Self-service is an increasingly common concept in many industries, with developments in technology giving customers the power to save time and avoid inconvenience by completing simple tasks themselves.
In no sector is this trend more notable than banking. Where once customers had to go into a branch to transfer money between accounts, check their balance or make a deposit, now these tasks can be completed quickly and easily online or at an ATM.
As self-service methods become increasingly familiar and more widely accepted, there is greater scope for banks to achieve the ultimate goal of improving customer satisfaction while lowering costs and increasing efficiency.
One channel that looks set to play an increasingly important role in the self-service revolution is mobile banking. Given the ubiquity of smartphones in modern society, what better way for customers to engage with their banks, whenever and wherever they want?
Is mobile the future of self-service?
Market research firm J.D. Power recently released a report examining retail banking satisfaction in Canada, one of the conclusions of which was that mobile is “changing the banking world”. The findings showed that more than one in three Canadian customers (34 per cent) have used mobile banking this year, up from 27 per cent last year and 20 per cent in 2014.
Paul McAdam, senior director of banking services at the research provider, said the growth of mobile is having a transformative effect on how customers expect to interact with their banks, which means financial institutions are having to evolve and adapt.
He added: “Self-service makes banking more convenient for customers, with mobile technology being a key element of self-service. Despite the growing number of digital channel interactions, there is more that banks can do to drive customers to self-service channels for routine transactions, which make it easier for the customer and more cost-effective for the bank.”
There is still plenty of scope for growth in self-service banking, with the J.D. Power research showing that 57 per cent of 22 to 34-year-olds still go into a branch to make deposits, while 42 per cent prefer to make withdrawals in this way.
The mobile channel has many areas where it can improve, too. A survey by customer experience management firm Clarabridge found that 41 per cent of Americans cited the inability to easily transfer money to people at other banks as their biggest frustration with mobile banking. One of the consequences of this is a reliance on third-party apps, when many consumers would prefer to use an app provided by their bank.
The mutual benefits of self-service
For banks, one of the biggest advantages to be gained from the self-service revolution is lower costs. According to analysis by professional services group Accenture, it’s 95 per cent cheaper for a bank to process deposits digitally than through a teller.
What’s more, if your branch staff are spending less time handling routine transactions, they can focus more on revenue-generating activities like sales, and delivering the best possible customer service in areas where it’s needed. Fewer people coming into branches also means shorter queues, which contributes to a positive customer experience and stronger brand loyalty.
As far as customers are concerned, self-service banking delivers maximum convenience by giving people the power to manage their money without leaving their home, or while going about their daily lives. Research has suggested that self-service capability is making a significant contribution to levels of satisfaction with banks.
J.D. Power’s report evaluated retail banking satisfaction on the basis of seven factors. Self-service was the second most important measure of the overall customer experience, behind product. The results showed improving levels of satisfaction in all areas, with positive views on automated banking machines and mobile the main drivers of a better self-service experience.
Self-service banking is clearly set to experience ongoing growth, which could go hand-in-hand with further expansion and evolution in the mobile channel. Keeping up with these trends could prove crucial as you seek to maximize efficiency and deliver the convenience and personalization so many of your customers want.