Self-Service Kiosks Are the Future of Customer Interaction

Estimated reading time: 2 minutes

Everywhere you look self-service options are becoming the norm. This is due, in large part, to the increased availability of kiosks. Before we get too far into this let’s make sure to define what we mean by a kiosk. According to Deanna Salas of Forbes, “an interactive, self-serve device provided by a venue, not the user, that helps the user do something that is informational and/or transactional that streamlines, automates or eliminates wait or cost.” This is important because it rules out applications downloaded on phones, since in that scenario the device is provided by the user.

So what is driving this change? Well, the short answer is a lot of different things.

The first factor driving a shift to interactive, self-serve kiosks is that they limit clerk input error on an order. This is a factor in almost every industry, from retail to hospitality. If you’ve ever ordered a burger with no mayo only to receive double mayo instead, you can empathize with customers’ desire to have more control over their own interactions at the point of sale. This clerk error is eliminated with self-service kiosks. If the customers mess up the order, they only have themselves to blame.

Additionally, the kiosk will never be tired or lazy and fail to offer an up-sell item or offer a higher margin alternative item. Some businesses have seen increased check sizes of 20 percent as a result. Kiosks also bring with them the benefit of decreased wait times. There can be four or five customers placing orders with kiosks instead of having two cashiers taking orders. This naturally begs the question of what happens to those two employees. They can be reallocated to the back of house assist with order assembly, or placed elsewhere on the sales floor to engage the customers while they shop. It frees up employees to perform more crucial tasks, or aid other departments in the case of a rush.

The benefits of self-service kiosks are so attractive that we see the kiosks supplementing traditional cashier service at quick service restaurants such as Panera, McDonalds and Taco Bell. It is not only restaurants that are implementing kiosks but also where services are rendered such as the US Postal Service, Walmart, state DMVs, Redbox, airline check-in counters, arenas and amusement parks.

A kiosk can be implemented wherever a traditional service encounter between a clerk and a customer takes place. It might require a specialized machine like Redbox or peripherals like a scale at the post office but there are countless software vendors (ISVs) with whom you can partner in order to offer merchants a complete solution. If you have a solution but need help executing it, reach out to your BlueStar representative.

Co-Contributor: Shane Hutton

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