How Self Service Revolutionized Online Banking

With more and more people switching their attention to online banking, it’s no surprise that computer interaction is quickly replacing talking with physical agents that most of us got used to.

Given that web-based banking advances day by day, users have got used to paying bills, making transactions and sending money without the need for human assistance, hence the reason why online self service banking is gaining increased popularity.

Business man with the text Customer in a concept image

Money is something we think about all day, so it’s not crazy to want to check our bank accounts at least once a week.

ATM’s are a kind of invented self-service in banking. We have the technology and tools to view our accounts online now, whenever we want, night or day, regardless of where we are, so why not make sure this also eliminates the need to contact the call center.

Everything can be done online and with more and more users being knowledgeable of their PFM (personal financial management) info, the use of self-service has becoming nothing short of vital.

Average hold times can be cut, call centers can save money on inbound calls and the service will be all round better because agents are dealing less and less with smaller queries, leaving time for them to help customers with big issues.

According to a Cisco survey published in 2010, users who are aware of their PFM and have their bank accounts at US Safe Credit Union are getting 3 times more profits than the normal online banking population. They also present an average account balance of US $14,500, compared to a medium of US $8,300 on non-PFM users.

Additionally, users knowing their PFM have an average time spending of 5.7 accounts, while non-PFM users maintain only 3.6 accounts.

What’s also to be noted is that the use of Internet banking globally has exploded recently, with Brazil, India, Russia and China showing the biggest growth thanks mainly to the high number of ISPs (Internet Service Providers) available in the area.

Online self service banking finds itself at the top of the list, with mobile banking coming quickly from behind.

Here are the most recent stats regarding Internet penetration:

North America – 78%
Europe – 61%
Asia – 26%
Latin America – 39%

With the aid of self-service channels, including ATM, mobile banking, phone alerts and Internet banking, banks are able to reduce costs and better monetize their audience growth.

Contrary to the popular belief, customers are not looking to go solely for free content, whenever it is available.

While true that free incentives can increase an institution’s popularity, customers are more than eager to spend little extra for personalized, premium services. In this regard, we can observe an increased number of banks who have embraced self-service online banking and are currently rejoicing from profits.

The most popular of them are:

Barclays bank – Based in UK, Barclays bank offers customers a variety of self-service means, which include a personalized online banking experience, mobile banking with Barclaycard management, free custom debit cards and more. They have been awarded for having the best App Store application in 2012. Additionally, they are highly praised for their innovative e-Commerce and m-Commerce facilities.


Charles Schwab Bank
– Based in San Francisco, CA, Charles Schwab Bank comes to address customers’ needs through multiple self-service facilities, including a worldwide account with no ATM fees. In addition, for individual and joint investors the bank offers a checking account with no minimums and no monthly service fees. They also offer various account and lending products, and also an innovative mobile banking product.

Capital One 360 – Following the Capital One acquisition, ING Direct is now known as Capital One 360 and offers an enhanced experience for customers interested in online banking and mobile banking. The service is fully operational 24/7 and offers customers the option to open an account online, deposit money, pay debts, fees, and make transactions, all in one place.

Chase Bank – Chase Bank offers an Internet banking protection best known as Chase Online, which protects bank’s credit and debit card owners from Internet frauds and e-mail scams. In addition, their online banking product offers plenty of benefits to customers, including paperless statements, account alerts, QuickPay, QuickDeposit (all achieved without human interaction) and more.

Natwest – Natwest provides banking opportunities adapted to every individual and organization. They also offer online and mobile banking which enables customers to view their account balances and statements from up to 7 years ago, transfer money and pay bills instantly, set up email alerts, manage standing orders, plan savings goal and more. All these are available with a single account.

Flagstar – Based in Michigan, Flagstar provides a wide array of banking services to businesses and individual clients alike. They offer online mortgage management, online banking with support for order checks and overdraft protection, and many more. Additionally, they have partnered with Norton to offer the highest level of security to their customers.

Outlining the different uses for self-service isn’t enough.  We need to explore and examine why you should be using self-service in your business, whether it is banking or any other form of customer engagement and perhaps more, how exactly did self-service revolutionized banking?

I believe the reason why self-service has revolutionized banking is because it gives control back to the customer and their money.  No one likes their bank enough to let all the charges they have to incur and them to be happy about it, but if they can see their money in a nice arena with details and be able to perform transactions freely.

This makes them feel happy.

The banks understand that people don’t have time to go to come to them and talk to someone, when they can do things on their own in minutes at any given time during the day, whether on their mobile decide on the train or in their pajamas at 2am.

They also understand that money is important to people.

So make their money accessible to them.  This combination makes a recipe for success and adoption.

All banks mentioned above and many others have successfully implemented self-service online banking as a response to customers’ ever-growing demands. Furthermore, clients seemed to response very positively and increase their number of transactions with the bank after the online service adoption.

As a result, more and more banks are expected to resort to this type of services.

Many companies are becoming aware of this revolution by adapting products to fit the self-service customer.

One very smart tool, called WalkMe plans to aid banks in their quest for self service. 

The tool acts as an online guidance system that tackles traditional FAQ’s and help pages and instead guides users through the tasks they need to complete in real time.

Users can complete any task without calling the call center. 

These benefits transfer to the business costs too.  Less and less people are clogging up call centers, and banks and this means that more time can be spent with customers who do call in.  The hold times are shorter for those customers who call.

The agents also get clarity and can be more focused if they aren’t so rushed for time to get to the next call.

Customer Engagement Tools

 

Stefanie Amini
is Specialist in Customer Success and chief writer and editor of I Want It Now, a blog for Customer Service Experts. Follow her @StefWalkMe