Has anyone noticed a shift from automated services to human-centred ones? The recent project that we undertook for a bank made us think about this seriously. So much has been done to de-humanise the banking service for general public users in a quest for service efficiency. It’s a ‘get it done and quick’ mentality that the service providers have been trying to get right for us. I am totally on board with this, I love online banking; great. I think the app has a huge future; great. Those auto machines in branch that make you wait for your number to come up before you go to a cashier, well that’s good service – at least you can take a seat while you wait – nice of the bank to think of that for us.
But when I stop and think, I ask whether the banking industry may have been missing a trick – the human part. How can a bank remain efficient and yet still make a touchpoint with the user that creates a sense that we are still in a world where people talk and interact and that has huge VALUE? A touchpoint that we can connect with in some sense. Can our bank branches become places where real people can interact and not be confronted with such strong brand presence it overpowers everything else? Is there a place for being real and feeling at ease to handle our money? Where is the sense of place and belonging? It’s lost in the corporate world that is bank branding. I think that something can be done about it. What is the missing element in those services that are technically efficient and digitally fandabbydozy? I note that one of the high street banks is actively highlighting that customers can call up and speak to someone ‘in person’. Maybe they’ve realised the gap.
At Insight Service Design, we examine the elements and complexities of a service that are either interactional or relational. We might challenge those and innovate ideas around how to bring change for improvement. Services need to be reviewed and changed as our consumer world puts more and more value on the experience that they have. Services also need to adapt to digital solutions that need a fluid and flexible approach that allow for testing, reviewing and change.