Self-service; The future?

Who still goes to their bank? My father rants about 'the good ole days' when if you wanted a loan you spoke to the bank manager in person

Who still goes to their bank? I mean inside the actual building? My Father often rants about ‘the good ole days’ when if you wanted a loan you took a stroll down the road and spoke to the bank manager, writes David James Pickering

Back when deals were built on handshakes!

I can try in vain, through tears of frustration, to explain that things no longer work that way in our hectic jostling lifestyles. That technology has dragged us into a more organized and (hopefully) stable future where money itself is digital and less tangible than ever.

How then, do I hope to explain or justify the ‘Self Service’ concept that is permeating our culture?

I, for one, applaud the initiative that many banks have rolled out.

I can access and utilize my account at any time of the day or night, apply for a loan and get an instant decision online, transfer funds and so much more from a huge myriad of devices!

Even within the banks things are a changing.

Instead of a long row of windows populated typically by just two or three tellers, now there are rows of fully working; shiny efficient machines that don’t get upset if a customer is curt or standoffish; that don’t need a toilet break or have outside interests that could potentially influence their work and productivity!

Beautiful machines!

However there is an underlying current of doubt that tugs at the edges of my mind.

Where will the personal touch go? The one that my Father loved so much in days gone by?

At present, banks involved in self-service have a great deal of staff front of house. Their role is to assist customers as we get used to these new channels of interacting with our finances, but how long will they last?

Liken it to this of you will.

Once upon a time you called up a company and got through to an actual person who you would talk your issue through with to a resolution.

Of course we all know how things work now. You call a bank, insurance agent, estate agent, leisure center-anywhere really and you are straight through to an automated message or option system.

Now you may or may not get through to a real live person eventually but it will definitely take a while (or an eon if you use the same mobile phone provider as me and want to talk with them).

So the important question is, following this honeymoon period of self-service where help is at hand to learn how to use these wonderful machines, in branch anyway, will we then be left to fend for ourselves?

Doomed to wander the bank in confusion, searching for a human representative to help us for all of time?