Inside The Self-Service Banking Trend

Let’s address the obvious first: optimizing your branch network is a must to stay relevant and successful in today’s changing banking environment. More elusive and ambiguous however, is the right strategy, technology mix, branch design and action plan to get there.

For many, in-branch self-service is a growing consideration, especially as more banks and credit unions continue not only adopting these solutions succesfully, but seeing huge ROI on their self-service investments.

 Why Are Financial Institutions Adopting Self-Service Solutions?

The retail banking industry is a whole different game than it used to be: deposits are on the decline, transaction costs are increasing, and client expectations are always changing. Financial institutions are in need of a solution that provides customers with the personal touches they require for a positive experience without requiring a costly 1:1 interaction with a teller or associate just to complete a simple transaction. Self-service solutions are what most financial institutions are turning to, and here’s why:

  To Decrease High-Cost, Low-Value Transactions

Let’s face it, it is more expensive than ever before to hire a full time employee (FTE). To put a number to it, the average FTE salary has risen 20% since 2000. And to add salt to the wound, in-branch transactions have decreased. This means you’re paying more for your associates to do less, making transaction costs sky-rocket.

Self-service solutions are an effective way to combat this negative trend, as they take low-value, high-cost transactions off the teller’s plates and empowers clients to complete these simple transactions on their own. In fact, a study by Accenture showed that it’s 95% cheaper to process deposits digitally than through a teller.

  To Satisfy The Modern Client’s Needs

Over the past decade, changes to customer service in the retail world have resulted in greater consumer expectations. Grocery stores, gas stations, movie theaters, and other retail industries have already adopted self-service solutions, which means your clients have already been enjoying this advanced level of service while going about their daily business and they expect the same in their bank or credit union branch. If your branch doesn’t stay updated, they will choose to go to one that does—especially a modern client.

  To Support The Universal Associate Shift

While universal associates (UAs) have been an up-and-coming trend the past few years, 2019 is shaping up to be the year that it shifts to a mandatory addition to any branch design project. Self-service solutions are helping financial institutions make that switch by breaking transactions away from the teller line and giving associates the ability to use their new universal skills when providing assisted-service.

 To Shrink The Branch Footprint

Big branches are out-of-style. Not only are they regularly empty due to an excess in size and decrease in branch traffic, but they cost a lot to keep staffed, serviced, maintained, updated, etc. That’s why financial institutions are on a mission to decrease their branch footprint, and that includes eliminating unnecessary technology, employees, and even square footage.

  Four Signs Your Branch Needs Self-Service

If you answer yes to any of the following questions, your branch is in need of self-service solutions:

Do you currently have plans to modernize your in-branch experience?

Does your vision of self-service go beyond the ATM channel and transaction set?

Would you like to have full choice of the multiple hardware solutions in the market and those coming in the future?

Do you currently have or have plans to add cash recyclers? Would you like the ability to repurpose this recycler hardware in the future to achieve a self-service model?

  The Different Self-Service Solutions

There is no shortage of ideas when it comes to self-service solutions in the retail industry, but there are only a few that operate well in the bank or credit union branch. Below are a few of the top-performers:

Move Over ATMs

You may be thinking, “self-service? Isn’t this what ATMs are for?”

If so, good question. ATMs were the first shot at self-service machines, and while revolutionary, they are no longer smart enough to get the job done right. Capable of handling only the most basic of transactions, like pulling cash in $20 increments, these machines regularly let costly, simple transactions through to your line of tellers and associates, simply because they aren’t as self-service as they claim to be.

For example, an ATM can’t print a cashier’s check or dispense cash in any denomination, meaning these transactions still fall on your staff and distract them from profitable interactions.

So basically you’ve invested a lot of money into ATMs, yet your teller line is still filled with people needing things like cashiers checks, or to have a $50 bill broken into $5 bills.

  Introducing NEXT

It’s time for ATMs to move over, because we created a better solution, and we call it NEXT: a self-service machine that provides your clients with the power to complete almost any transaction a teller could have assisted with, on their own.

 Repurposing Cash Recyclers

Unlike traditional ATMs, part of NEXT’s hardware choice includes re-purposing cash dispensers and recyclers that you already own. These mechanisms are the heart of every self-service solution for cash processing, so through re-purposing the cash automation you already have in place, you save cost, gain flexibility in design, and can provide different levels of self-service based on the true needs of the specific branch or location. It also provides a smoother path to upgrade, add and delete as those needs change.

 What Is NEXT Capable Of?

With a simple interactive display and a module built to feel private, yet approachable, clients can:

Log-in using their debit card, driver’s license or even biometrics

View account activity and print account history and receipts

Deposit cash and checks, as well as withdraw cash in any denomination

Make change, to the penny

Print cashier’s checks

Transfer money between accounts and pay bills

Request associate assistance

 Mobile Banking

Mobile banking puts the power of self-service in the palm of everyone’s hand. Gone are the days of going to the bank on Friday or during a lunch break—banking can now be done from anywhere at any time thanks to browser, mobile and other application-based banking methods. Need proof? In-branch transaction volumes have declined more than 45% since 1992 and the use of mobile banking has increased even more drastically. So what’s this mean for you? Basically: if you don’t have some sort of mobile banking available to your clients, you won’t have them as clients for much longer.

Video Banking

Video banking is leading the assisted-service banking trend, by capitalizing on the modern client’s desire to gain advisory services and complete necessary transactions, while still taking full advantage of the comfort and flexibility tele-banking provides. And if you’re concerned about the quality of your services or that self-service machines could actually get in the way of successful transactions, NCR’s research shows a live video teller at a self-service machine can complete 80% of the transactions typically completed inside a traditional, teller-driven branch.

When it comes to the different self-service options available to banks and credit unions, there are a lot of offerings but only a few that actually provide a high ROI. Three of those solutions include:


Also known as Interactive Teller Machines, ITM’s are regularly replacing ATM’s in modern branches looking to step-up their self-service game. Not only do they provide the capabilities of a traditional ATM, but they also have two-way video communication capabilities—meaning clients can interact with a teller or associate from anywhere at anytime.

Proof Point:  According to NCR, ITMs enabled the $798 million, Beaverton, Ore.-based Rivermark Community Credit Union to increase its accounts by 52% within 18 months and serve members an additional 25 hours per week with no increase to teller staff costs. The credit union also saw a 60% reduction in service time for customers using drive-thru facilities.

Taking assisted-service to another level, is a web and mobile video software solution that allows for financial experts to complete transactions using the client’s mobile device. By connecting clients with bankers to allow for fully-mobile transactions, setting up an auto loan (inluding signing and all) can now be done from the comfort of the client’s living room.

 Expert Nearby

Imagine giving your clients the ability to connect with a financial expert whenever your doors are open, giving your clients access to a range of banking specialists in most financial areas during times that fit their busy schedule, not your limited number of experts’ schedules. With Expert Nearby, small offices can be turned into video conferencing rooms where your financial experts, such as loan officers or CPAs, can live-stream directly to any branch to provide immidiate assisted-service. No more losing walk-in clients to lack of around-the-clock in-branch specialists.

 Training To Self-Service

Installing self-service solutions in your branch will be a huge waste of invesment if you don’t train your employees and branch visitors how to use the new technologies.

 A New Way Of Interacting

No longer are tellers and associates the gatekeepers of transactions in a branch that has self-service solutions. Instead, clients can now visit a branch with self-service tech and handle all of their simple transaction needs without ever interacting with an associate.

While this is helpful for decreasing high-cost, low-value transactions and freeing up associates for more valuable interactions, it can also leave the traditional teller or non-universal associate feeling confused on how and when they should interact with that client who is using a self-service solution. That’s why you need to properly train your associates the new way of interacting with clients, which includes:

Approaching all client interactions as an advisor with helpful financial advice

Using information gathered from interactive displays and self-service solutions to tailor financial advice

How to align your FI’s products and services with your client’s financial needs without coming across as a sales person

The difference between self-service and assisted-service, and how to appropriately approach both situations.

 Self-Service vs Assisted-Service

An important part of the self-service model operating successfully in a branch is training associates the difference between self-service and assisted-service interactions, and how to handle both.

For example, in a self-service situation, a person has come into your branch and chosen to not-engage with an associate but instead use a technology to complete their transaction. Here, your associate would only approach if they notice that the client is stuck on something or in need of support. This is not normally the right scenario to engage in advisory or ‘selling-style’ interactions. On the other hand, in an assisted-service situation, someone has selected an option on the self-service solution to interact with an associate (whether that be in person or via telecommunication), therefore the interaction can be more advisory and it is appropriate for associates to try and align products and services with the needs being demonstrated in the assisted-service transaction.

  Introducing Self-Service Solutions In The Branch

The first step to succesfully launching self-service solutions is properly introducing it to your branch. From the client’s point-of-view, self-service solutions create a shift in the way they have traditionally banked, which requires a shift in mindset from relying on a human to complete transactions to using technology to complete their own transactions. Also known as the ‘help yourself mentality’, this requires encouragement from in-branch messaging.

One of our preferred ways of introducing new self-service solutions in-branch is through interactive displays.

With digital signage displays and interactive kiosks that host marketing materials. Promotional messaging, games, financial calculators and more, clients are able to explore the. Services and products your financial institution offers on their own, not only introducing them to the new self-service solutions but giving them confidence and the needed education to then use them.

Maximize the value of your in-branch signage investment and give your associates. The data they need to have valuable interactions, all while the client interacts with the digital displays on their own. How? With Service Sidekick.

Designed to take the anonymous activity completed on your interactive digital signage. And turn it into actionable interest with real-time alerts and analytics, Service Sidekick is placed on the back. End of your interactive digital displays and kiosks so the moment a client interacts with a product or service. On your digital signage screens, associates immediately receive a notification to their wearable device. (ie: smartwatch), tablet, or PC to alert them on what was viewed. By enabling Service Sidekick,  bankers are not only empowered with tools and. Information to provide assisted-service, but also to accurately advise to client interests; meaning they can eliminate the guesswork on what clients need. Personalize conversations based on real activity, and spend less time engaging in cold conversations.

  The Delivery Defined Program

Developing a training program is a lot of work. (it’s a full-time job on its own!), and new self-service initiatives within the branch are too important to let slip. That’s why CFM offers a program called Delivery Defined to help you support your staff and. Maximize the success and benefits of your new self-service and assisted-service solutions.

Delivery Defined allows for your associates to get involved in the training process. Compiles extensive research on your market and desired branch state, and packages. Up everything you need to flawlessly adopt self-service solutions, customized to your branch. This includes:

Hiring process, including roles and profiles


Talk tracks

On-site reources to train your staff

Role playing and other exercises

Branded playbook to map out every transition or situation that could happen (trust us, we’ve seen it all!)

If you’re interested in learning more about bringing the Delivery Defined program to your branch(es) to simplify the. Introduction of self-service technologies and solutions, click here to get in touch with a member of the CFM team.

  Ask An Expert

When it comes to properly adopting self-service solutions, there are a lot of moving parts that need to be managed. From design and build, to tech, to digital signage, to training, and beyond. You could attempt to balance all these factors on your own. Or even worse: you could hire multiple vendors to handle the multiple pieces of the project. And cross your fingers they communicate well enough to independently put all the pieces of the puzzle together. Or you can instead hire a full-service branch transformation firm, like DBSI and. CFM, for peace-of-mind that your shift to self-service will be a successful one. Capabale of not only balancing every moving part of the pivot, the turn-key approach. To our solutions makes putting together the puzzle easier (and faster) than ever.

CFM and DBSI have seen it all and guided several financial institutions on in-branch self-service strategies with:

A process for understanding and answering key questions

A comparison of the pros and cons of self-service solutions available

How to decide which solution best aligns to strategy

Designs that complement this new service model

Want to learn the right way to bring self-service solutions into your branch network? Just click here to contact us and a. CFM advisor will work with you to make customized recommendations for your unique needs.

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