Being competitive in the financial space means keeping pace with customer trends and meeting your customers’ needs. The right financial self-service offerings can streamline your bank operations and make day-to-day management easier for you, your staff, and your customers.
Long gone are the “ways we have always done it,” of branch management. Innovation and branch transformation are today’s drivers for customer satisfaction. As an answer to these industry trends, more self-service options continue to enter the marketplace to make each customer’s banking experience personalized, convenient, and efficient.
In this blog we will explore how self-service offerings can streamline your branch operations and fuel customer satisfaction. What are these self-service offerings, and how can they aid your financial institution?
What Is Financial Self-Service?
The idea of financial self-service may seem perplexing. We think of self-service options for checking out at a grocery store or buying tickets for a movie, but the idea of banking self-service may trigger questions such as how can self-service banking work, let alone, be safe?
Across the US, in cities and towns, self-service banking is becoming a reality. It has become a key solution to customer needs which do not involve the help of a branch representative. Self-service banking provides customers with the resources, real access, and the ability to activate banking solutions independently and securely. As such, customer demand for self-service banking is driving innovation for financial institutions big and small.
To get a greater understanding of how different financial self-service options work, and how they are helping streamline branch operations, we first need to understand key self-service solutions and how they are evolving.
One of the most obvious ways financial self-service has streamlined operations is also one of the oldest: the ATM. In fact, according to Investopedia, the first ATM was installed in Rockville Center (Long Island), New York, in 1969. From there, the rest is history – ATMs changed banking forever.
It is no wonder that ATMs were so well-received. Prior to the ATM introduction, in order to conduct transactions such as cash withdrawals or getting money from the bank, a customer needed to visit a bank or branch in-person. Often, visiting a physical location would require hours out of a person’s day: driving to the location, waiting in line, speaking with a teller or bank representative, and then watching these professionals deposit a check or access funds for withdrawal, or conduct any other transaction on your behalf.
Eventually, some banks offered telephone banking, allowing customers to access their accounts and make transactions via the phone. They would then have to go to a physical location to pick up their funds or have them mailed to them.
Likewise, bank-by-mail allowed customers to mail in a withdrawal slip to the bank and receive a check from the bank in return.
Wire transfers allowed for transferring funds from one bank account to another. This was convenient for transferring funds to other countries or regions.
However, all of these service iterations and their unique benefits do not compare to the convenience, ease, and access of automated teller machines, ATMs. ATMs let a customer check bank balances, withdraw funds and even make deposits, within minutes. As ATMs increased in popularity, banks installed them in locations apart from each branch. Today, ATMs can be found in convenience stores, restaurants, college campuses, malls, one-off event locations and more.
Today, ATMs have become more common than individual branches, thereby extending a bank or branch’s service area without investing in buildings and the staff required to operate each location. ATMs now offer a variety of services, too, beyond just accessing or depositing cash, including transferring funds, giving branch managers more tools to streamline operations.
As revolutionary as ATMs were, ITMs, or interactive teller machines, are much more versatile, offering many more self-service options for customers. ITMs have evolved from the ATM to offer the same convenient services, and more, including real-time video chat options with a teller. This way, even if a customer is having an issue completing a transaction, they can seek help from a qualified teller. Customers get the satisfaction of getting personalized, professional service, without the hassle of making an appointment, driving to a branch, or waiting in lines.
Much like ATMs, ITMs allow for a bank to expand its reach, without having to open a new branch location. Check out our full breakdown of ATMs vs ITMs for more information on the difference between the two machines, and how to find the right one for your location.
Today, the revolution of service offered by mobile banking is in full force. Mobile banking offers many customers the convenience of self-service wherever they are. Its popularity is evident: in a survey, 89% of respondents said they use mobile banking. For the Millennial demographic, the number jumps to 97%.
Mobile banking allows customers to check balances, transfer funds from one account to another, pay bills, send money, and even link to vendors to schedule automated payments. Some of these services are open bank offerings, where a customer’s data is shared with a third party, in exchange for additional services such as account aggregation.
Streamline Your Branch Operations with a Financial Self-Service Solution
Embracing the many self-service solutions available to financial institutions today can help streamline operations on a number of levels, as discussed above. Keeping staff well-trained to help troubleshoot a customer’s experience when using any of these self-service options has become a key component of any branch, bank, or credit union’s success. One thing remains clear: there is no one size fits all financial self-service solution. Each community and branch location presents its own unique needs and differences.
What financial self-service offerings are right for your branch? You may require one solution or multiple solutions. You may want to expand your offerings at one branch location or multiple branch locations. You may want to offer self-service solutions at locations that are not banks but could benefit from having an ATM or ITM on-site.
Regardless of what your needs are, our experts can help you find the right solutions. We have nearly fifty years of experience helping transform banks throughout the Midwest and East Coast.
Get in touch and find out how we can help expand your financial institution’s business through self-service offerings. You can even schedule a visit to our Solutions Center and experience our product offerings firsthand.