Financial services were traditionally associated with expert knowledge and human intervention, non-conducive to delivery models such as self-service or automation. But over the last few years, there has been a visible shift in attitudes – culminating in the need and even preference for digital services during the pandemic.
A recent survey by Deloitte revealed that 72% of customers are eager to explore online transaction pathways not only for day-to-day banking, but also for more complex financial services like investments in mutual funds, and buying insurance products. This indicates that the potential for self-service in the financial service (FS) sector is quite promising.
What Are the Applications of Self-Service in FS?
Self-service use cases in the FS sector range from improvements to CX through greater choice/flexibility for the customer, to stronger security via self-authentication, and effort reduction by eliminating the need to travel to a physical branch or for banking agents to physically visit a client location. Here are the top application areas to explore:
- A personalised account experience – As customers use the mobile or web portal to perform common tasks and FS transactions, the platform can collect analytics and personalise the experience accordingly. For example, the app/portal menu can be personalised to reflect the customer’s most frequent actions and preferences
- Self-service alerts and reminders – The customer can set up alerts to check on low account balance, upcoming transactions, overdue payments, completed wire transfers, etc. FS providers can also keep the customer informed using push notifications, potential fraud updates, etc., that are all actionable – either redirecting to a purchase or a live agent
- Online application tracker – Customers can track the progress and check the current status of various applications, from insurance products to investment accounts and more
- Identity verification – Authentication and KYC verification are among the top use cases for self-service in financial services. Given the large number of customers that an FS provider deals with, verifying identity and regularly updating the verification requires a lot of effort. Self-service through biometrics and voice-based authentication can simplify the process
- Consent and data management – FS providers must comply with rules like the GDPR and PCI DSS when managing customer data, and consent (and the right to revoke it) is central to compliance. A self-service portal would provide customers with easy-to-use tools for revoking consent and request the erasure of personal data
- Locating a physical office – The self-service portal can include an online location finder to help customers quickly locate a physical branch or office if they want in-person assistance
Benefits of Self-Service in FS
Self-service has a number of benefits for both the customer and FS firms. The first is standardisation and compliance – due to lesser intervention by human personnel, there is less risk of variance in service quality and protocol adherence. The CX also improves, as customers gain from more personalised experiences, greater engagement due to more options, and omni-channel availability. Finally, self-service equips FS providers with useful analytics insights, helping to create more effective products and fine-tune the quality of service.