CSP Happenings

Consumers (Sometimes) Like Self-Service

Self-service opportunities in banking can streamline a customer touchpoint, increase utility of your brand and allow your organization to provide more value by focusing on complex tasks customers truly wouldn’t be able to handle themselves. The key is knowing when and where to utilize self-service, and any pitfalls that can change this approach into a burden.


Simple tasks with a minimal amount of time between beginning and end are ideal for self-service. In other words, having to rely on a bank representative should feel like an inconvenience, because the service is simple enough that it doesn’t necessitate assistance.

Obvious examples include things like internal back transfers, bill pay, and other tasks which have become self service with the advent of mobile technology, such as depositing checks via an app. 


The largest shortcoming with self-service is quite obvious — that it puts impetus on the customer to accurately and efficiently complete a task. Organizations need to be careful about when they choose to create self service opportunities, and why they’re created. Self-service should always be in the interest of the customer, genuinely creating something that is easier for them to complete themselves than the effort that would be required to get on the phone, online or in a branch with a representative.

Some organizations utilize self-service as a cost cutting mechanism, replacing an activity that would be better suited for a financial institution representative with the customer’s own leg work. This runs the risk of hurting the customer experience, making brand interactions feel arduous, and creating more subtle losses in the long run in terms of lost revenue and opportunity due to poorer customer experience.

Complexity of Task Dictates Self Service

Simply put, customer experience directors need to take a critical look at processes to understand whether they can be utilized in a self-service environment, and whether that experience adds value to their customers.

  • Can it be completed in a single sitting? Customers should be able to complete a task and move on, requiring only a notification that the task was validated later.
  • It is achievable for customers? Can customers easily complete this task without much education, a learning curve or potential confusion?
  • Is it verifiable? Once the task is completed by the customer, can a hands-free process take place to verify the actions they took, without creating difficulty for them?
Branch Interactions Matter

Among discussion about self service, it’s important to note the value of branch experience. The world of financial services will never be completely self-service because the importance of regulation and inherent complexity of personal/business finance will always require navigation by experts. Refocusing your organization and staff on those complex tasks, reviewing the self-service process and improving both adds value to your customers and gives them the services they want in a deliverable package that is most convenient to them.

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