Monday, 5 April 2010

Self-service - the "how not to do it" workshop

My bank's changed it's self-service paying-in system. In doing so it has provided an object lesson in how not to design and deliver a self-service solution.

Up to a couple of months ago it was dead simple:
  • Go to the bank.
  • Pick up an envelope.
  • Put the details of the payments-in on the slip attached.
  • Put your slip and cheque(s) in the envelope.
  • Seal envelope.
  • Put envelope in the box provided.
  • Go away and get on with your life.

From the customer's point of view this was good:

  • No queueing
  • The transaction took a minute or two tops.

From the bank's point of view it was bad:

  • Anybody who wanted could could fill in spurious details on the receipt slip and claim that the transaction had taken place as described.
  • Employees of the bank had to manually retrieve the slips and cheques then effect the transaction.

The balance of power lying with the bank, not the customer, the system had to change. So we now have these self-service machines to use. Which means that you now:

  • Queue to use the machine
  • Log in with your bank card and PIN
  • Stare at a menu providing a choice of options, most of which are not appropriate to the function. Paying in is the second from the bottom on the right.
  • Feed the slip and the first cheque into the machine.
  • Get a member of staff to help you work out why the papers were accepted the first couple of times of trying.
  • Wait for a scanned copy of the cheque and slip is printed as a receipt.
  • Repeat the above for each cheque being presented.

These days I queue up and pay in with the cashiers.

"Do you know that you could do this with the self-service machine?"

"Yes, that's why I queued up to be served by a cashier."

"Why's that?"

"Three people have used the machine since I came in. I'd still be fourth in the queue waiting my turn."

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