Next Normal of Retail Banking: Self-Service Banking
Raman Sharma

It is said that change is not an option but a necessity, not to win the world but to thrive in the world, and that’s why Fortune 500 CEOs say their biggest challenge is “the rapid pace of technology change”. The pace of technology change is a major driver for the changing nature of banking or digital banking. As demanding customers’ expectations continue to evolve, retail banking has followed the same path of innovation, leading to an era of digital banking and, recently, self-service banking.

Customer centricity is the new buzzword that is taking away all the attention of the industry with all the valid reasons as it helps companies to build trust & loyalty by putting the customer first and at the core of the business. Likewise, retail banking is also undergoing major disruption, as transactions are turning into experiences, and the traditional way of making money is eroding very fast, leaving no choice other than pacing up to provide the experience their customers are looking for, that is “digital banking on pillars of trust, sustainability, and fairness.” It will enable banks to harness the power of customer engagement and stay relevant in the fintech & digital-only banks disrupted industry.

Self-Service Banking is a user-centered and interaction-focused approach to banking that leverages a suite of solutions such as cardless banking, mobile banking, ATMs, etc. It is a result of the amalgamation of “banking with retail” and “consumer indication of preferences for on-demand banking services” like on-demand commerce & retail experience that consumers have been experiencing since the last decade. Self-service banking journeys should not be limited to only online/digital banking but rather an integral component of overall bank omnichannel digital strategy to enable experience banking at a broad scale.

Embrace Self-Service Banking 

There is a paradigm shift in banking behavior toward digital, and the pandemic only expedited the push. Multiple studies have highlighted the fall in physical branches and the meteoric rise in digital banking channels. Gartner has specifically called out the top three factors that impact customers’ experience in self-service

  • Clarity – How easy it is for any customer to understand or act on the given information
  • Confirmation – Assurance that indicates the resolution
  • Credibility – The utility or relevance of the information

Two other critical factors explicitly applicable to banking would be:

  • Connected – How well the self-service experience is across the channels
  • Round the clock – Self-service banking portals should be available round the clock with a world-class support system

Ways to enhance the self-service experience:

  • Audio video interface – Audio-visual interface on mobile apps or other digital banking channels helps customers to interact with banks almost like human interactions. It also assists banks in reaching out to more customers and increasing the touch points by providing meaningful offers, sending reminders, etc.
  • Say No to Broken Customer Journeys – Many customer journeys for self-service banking are broken today as they re-route the customers across different channels and are against the principle of self-service. Even the simplest of tasks, like updating the contact details address or applying for a credit card requires the customers to visit the website or the branch and thus lead to broken customer journeys. Banks approaching self-service should make sure to fix these broken customer journeys.
  • Say Yes to Automated Digital Workflows – Banks should move away from current siloed IT systems to complete automated digital workflows, as siloed systems require significant human efforts & don’t integrate well with existing systems. Automated workflows should be designed to eliminate the digital silos and legacy processes, ensuring that the “self-service” is complete till the end without too many digital touchpoints.
  • Redesign Physical channels – Banks should redesign physical channels like branches, ATMs, and all physical means of transactions to resemble the digital channels and fix the broken legacy processes & systems.
  • Support System – Banks should create a robust and customer-friendly support system that addresses frequently asked questions & usually encountered issues. They should categorize the content into easily recognizable categories for the end user.

In a nutshell, banks’ self-service should be on pillars of speed, efficiency, and convenience such that self-service banking becomes a transformation lever for banks in the digital world. As per a Gartner report, an overwhelming 96% of customers become disloyal after having a high-effort interaction, which indicates how critical the three pillars are for long-term customer loyalty.

Use cases for self-service banking

  • Hyper personalization – Self-service banking, in any form, provides a wealth of customer data that banks can leverage for customer insights and position personalized products & services as per the end customer. This will help banks to increase NPS and customer loyalty.
  • Enhance ATMs Service capabilities – Banks can offer ever more personalized interactions, deposits, transfers, bill payments, mobile pre-staging, and even targeted marketing through ATMs leveraging self-service banking. Banks can provide intuitive interfaces, two-way video banking capabilities, and contactless ATM services using QR codes or pre-staged transactions (initiated via a mobile phone/tablet and completed at the ATM), etc.
  • Digital Payments – With a decrease in the number of branches and less reliance on cash, customers are increasingly adopting digital payments. Self-service banking can help banks to tap into and penetrate digital payments further.

There are multiple other use cases such as “Get Rid of Overworked Call Centers & Inefficient Branches”, “Human touch from a distance”, “Move to as a service”, etc.

Benefits of Self-Service Banking

Advantages for Banks

• Deeper digital engagements with customizable journeys providing a richer experience to end customers and able to launch new products & services faster.

• Cost savings on physical Infrastructure (branches) and reduced transactional costs associated with the banks.

• Reduce the bridge between digital and physical experience into a seamless experience.

• Focus on complex customer needs by accelerating self-service banking.

• Transition from transactional banking to financial advisory leading to possibilities of more business opportunities with customers.

Advantages for Customers 

• On-demand access to the majority of banking services.

• Less waiting times for support services and reduced dependency on support executives.

• Easy and convenient access – round-the-clock access to essential bank services.

The process of implementing self-service banking can be time & resources consuming and thus need strategic planning towards it. Banks can work with digital technology partners to integrate and leverage all the technologies at their disposal to provide an efficient yet differentiated experience.

About the Author


Raman Sharma

Working as a Senior Consultant, Product & Platform Engineering at Brillio. GTM Strategy & Consultative selling professional with 5+ years of industry experience advising business & technology leaders on solving business problems by leveraging technology in innovative ways. He has vast experience in CIO advisory, alliances & analyst relations, large strategic deals, and business development.

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