Celent: Assisted Self-Service Not Catching on at Banks

June 4, 2018         By: Steven Anderson

When it comes to banking, there are increasingly two camps: those who want to bank with real people handling transactions, and those who are willing to embrace other concepts like mobile banking. The latest word from Celent, though, suggests that the first camp has more people in it than we expected, as assisted self-service options in banking aren’t catching on.

One of the biggest limiting factors the report cites is that banks wouldn’t touch it for quite some time, which means the whole process is largely in its earliest stages. Banks are beginning to grasp the concept as a way to offer expanded service hours or locations, but it’s still not gaining a lot of ground.

Customers are actually getting in the way, at least somewhat. Customers are walking past ATM systems to go into bank branches, not because they don’t know about ATMs’ existence, but because they’d rather do business with a person. This limits the overall business case for assisted self-service tools. Moreover, banks aren’t eager to get these systems in place due to cost factors and overall use levels. They’re actively working toward lower-cost alternatives, and that’s leaving assisted self-service out in the cold.

With mobile banking steadily on the rise, it’s easy to see that video-driven assisted self-service might not catch on in the amounts that banks might want. Though it’s not particularly hard to see assisted self-service get folded into the mobile banking concept, it may not take the form it’s currently taking. The combination of assisted self-service with other, established forms of use—as part of a help menu in an ATM, as a sidebar in a lobby for when tellers are busy, or even as part of a mobile app—are much more possible than expecting customers to just shift to self-service.

Self-service as an option isn’t a bad idea. It’s a great way to turn banks into 24 hour concerns, and allows customers to take care of business on their own time. Why banks are only open when everyone’s at work anyway is beyond me. But it’s a safe bet that self-service will never be more than an option, thanks to all the other options, from live tellers to mobile, that are already in play.