‘What time does the bank open?’ and ‘Can I come in for an appointment?’ aren’t popular questions like they used to be. In fact, online self service is fast becoming an expectation rather than an option.

So what does this new age expectation mean for businesses?

Nodifi takes a look at the evolution of self-service technology and the implications on businesses of today.

Self-Service Stats:

  • Across all industries, 81% of customers attempt to take care of matters themselves before reaching out to a live representative.
  • 77% of consumers report having used a self-service portal.
  • 70% of consumers say they prefer messaging over calling for customer support.
  • 86% of buyers are willing to pay more for a great customer experience.

Self-service technology explained

Think about the last time you went shopping. You may have paid for parking with an automated ticket machine and boom gate after scanning and paying for your own groceries – all without human interaction.

Flown recently? Self service again offers human-less options; check-in, bag drop, seat selection and accessing boarding passes are easily done without needing to speak a word. Most can be done via an app.

Self-service technology allows companies to streamline processes and reduce labor overhead costs.

Social media messaging powered by AI

More and more traditional companies are opting to communicate with customers via social media. Most social media platforms offer customisable chat bots powered by AI, to guide customers down a path to quickly answer their questions and/or point them in the right direction.

Facebook Messenger in particular is fast becoming the norm, with website integration allowing customers to instantly engagewith a business via Facebook Messenger. Problem resolution, booking appointments and FAQs are common functions of Facebook Messenger chat bots, all of which can be done autonomously.

Brokers and dealers can certainly leverage this function to offer a better customer experience and to align with a heightened level of customer expectations.

Humanless tech increasing ROI

Setting the scene
The fast food industry realised early on in self-service’s existence that the tech increases consumers willingness to spend.

Confirmed by a 2004 experiment by McDonald’s, customers using self-service kiosks spent 30% more on average. That extra spending went to upsizing meals. The fast food giant concluded that people were much more willing to upsize when there was no human behind the counter judging their choices or getting impatient while they browsed menus.

The finance industry
Giving consumers the perceived privacy of self service isn’t only noticeable in fast food.

“Some people like to have a very private experience. So, if I’m going in and buying something that’s maybe a personal item, I might prefer to buy it on my own without help,” says a senior project manager at Fujitsu, which makes self-checkout machines.

Now, think about that in the lending space. Imagine a world where consumers could come to your website and complete a virtual asset finance application. They could do it on their own terms, and possibly seek larger loans should they realise their capability of servicing such a loan. Integrations with lenders and reporting agencies would deliver instant, accurate quotes.

In actual fact, this world isn’t too far away.

Technology adoption fast-tracked in 2020

As pointed out by Nodifi’s Chief Product Officer, Chris Sims, COVID exposed businesses who weren’t already providing decent digital experiences to clients. Furthermore, the ‘new norm’ pushed consumers to adopt technology, such as the use of QR codes to check-in at designated locations. B2C interactions were also largely reliant on virtual meetings.

What this did was open the mindset to try new technology, something which can sometimes be met with resistance. Again, this has led to a new level of consumer expectations.

According to a recent survey by FinTech Futures, loan applications are one of the five banking activities best handled by digital self-service.

Although many borrowers would still prefer some face-to-face (or phone) assistance, providing a seamless digital experience where a client is contacted by a human only at a precise point is ideal.

This allows some parts of the loan application to be self service and some with human interaction. The benefits are the time saved and private user experience when entering information, then the explanations of options provided by a broker.

What’s next?

Predicting the future of anything is notoriously difficult, but due to the rise of Intelligent Personal Assistants (the non-beer meaning of IPA) and machine learning capabilities, it seems this is where we’re heading.

Siri, Google Assistant and Amazon’s Alexa, among others, are quickly gaining and improving their ability to learn from their users. For example, suggesting apps at certain times of the day an individual user often accesses them, scheduling recurring appointments or learning and predicting groceries based on past preferences.

Combine this with the increasing knowledge IPAs have (or can have) of our personal information and financial details. Some experts predict that it won’t be long before borrowers are telling brokers, ‘talk to Siri, she has all my details’.

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