Today, customers are constantly assessing brands based on the digital experience (website, social media channels, self-service kiosks, chatbots, etc.) offered. Such inclination has led a significant number of customers to value self-service more than interpersonal interactions with company staff.
For restaurants, telcos, banks, healthcare and others in similar service-based industries that have limited opportunity to differentiate their product offerings, self-service is an opportunity to drive a good customer experience.
The increasing adoption of self-service, contactless payments, and changing customer behavior is driving the demand for self-service kiosks. To unlock and maximize the value of self-service, digital kiosks could prove to be a low-cost, high-satisfaction solution.
What is customer self-service?
Self-service is a fast and easy way for customers to find answers to questions related to products or services. Self-service is a win-win situation for customers and companies. Customers prefer it because it offers the flexibility and convenience to find solutions in their own time and speed.
At the same time, this reduces stress on employees and frees up more time to deal with unique and complicated problems that require due attention. Plus, self-service allows companies to cut back on spending on staff. By placing self-service portals in the shape of kiosks and retaining top-performing personnel, businesses can see millions of dollars in annual savings.
Self-service kiosks for customers
Kiosks have been around for decades in one form or another. The origins of the first vending machine date back to the 1800s, when self-service kiosks were invented to improve time and cost-efficiency. Self-service kiosks began as modest machines designed to perform simple tasks like dispensing gum, postcards, and stamps.
Today, self-service technology, particularly self-service kiosks, has come a long way since. It is continually growing, allowing customers and businesses to get things done or be more productive without having to interact with another person.
Benefits of self-service kiosks include:
- Reduction in wait time
- Reduction in labor costs
- Better customer experience and satisfaction
- Reduce strain on frontline workers
- Greater privacy and data security
Self-service kiosks: Industry applications
Self-ordering in Quick Service Restaurants (QSR)
A restaurant kiosk acts as a self-order point of sale (POS) system. Customers browse the menu, place and pay for their orders at the kiosks. This enables a contactless and frictionless service experience. Customers enjoy the opportunity to skip waiting times and pay the bill with no delay.
In 2019, Taco Bell rolled out digital kiosks in its restaurants, with plans to add them to over 6,500 locations by 20201. The new kiosks provided customers an opportunity to explore menu options they might have tried before, improving the customer experience. Consequently, it also freed up staff time to improve kitchen efficiency.
Customer self-service kiosks in Banking
The digital revolution has changed what consumers want, including what they expect from their banks — convenience, simplicity, and superior customer experience. A bulk of the demand resides in retail banking and banks are concentrating on digital kiosk technologies in this consumer-led segment.
Digital kiosks in banks are equipped with numerous features, including:
- Depositing cheques
- Opening a new bank account
- Printing account statement
- Requesting a new cheque book
- Updating personal details
- Applying for a personal loan
Customers prefer to use digital channels for simple transactions but desire high-touch interactions for more complex products and services, such as home loans and financial planning. With digital kiosk technology, banks can spend more time on personal interactions without extending the number of staff.
For banks that are under pressure to adopt more digital channels and reduce their brick-and-mortar footprint, full-service kiosks offer an opportunity to reach out to customers in new markets and locations. This allows retail banks to cut costs through branch and staff operations.
Patient support in Healthcare
Health kiosks are cost-effective and multifunctional tools used widely in some countries to improve health indicators. Patient engagement is an important route for healthcare to improve their STAR ratings to generate additional bonus payments and potentially higher rebates.
Healthcare kiosks today are not limited to providing informational services but are geared towards hygienic, diagnostics, and medical services. Studies have shown that the use of self-service health kiosks has minimized healthcare weaknesses by:
- Streamlining patient check-ins
- Improving patient safety
- Reducing errors caused by discrepancies in medical prescriptions
- Minimize human to human contact to safeguard employees
Early in the pandemic, telehealth usage surged as patients and healthcare providers both looked for ways to safely access and deliver healthcare. Telehealth kiosk solutions have helped patients provide fast access to physicians via video calls, minimizing the need for physical visits.
Management of self-service kiosks
Interactive kiosks comprise both hardware and software that work together to provide the necessary customer experience. There are several qualified “turn-key solutions” in the market that include both software and hardware, but they may be unable to meet the unique demands of different industries. We recommend sourcing software independently to give more flexibility and security for managing the best possible solution as per the project’s needs.
Devices can be configured remotely to make sure they function properly and within the permitted usage policies. Companies do not need to deploy IT personnel on the field to physically configure these machines.
Instead, they can upgrade them and fix bugs remotely. This makes kiosks easier to manage. It also makes them more cost-effective and reduces maintenance costs.
This ensures minimum to zero device downtime and maintains customer confidence in the company’s services.
Scalefusion’s fully-integrated remote management system allows companies to provide remote support for Android, Windows 10, and macOS.
Kiosk lockdown mode
With kiosk lockdown mode, companies have the ability to lock devices with single or multiple apps or websites. IT admins can regulate the access based on the usage of the device.
For instance, single app kiosks in QSRs are used to run a single app either from the Microsoft Store (Windows), App Store (iOS), or Play Store (Android). When the app launches, customers using the kiosk cannot do anything on the device besides the desired operation.
Alternatively, two or more apps can be pushed on the device, making it a multi-app kiosk, allowing the customers to toggle between the available apps, blocking the rest. Companies can also publish and install their made-to-order enterprise apps on Scalefusion’s MDM platform.
Certain self-service kiosks are also capable of receiving a bill payment in exchange for a service or goods rendered. Such solutions handle and process sensitive personal information, such as credit card numbers.
Therefore, it is important for companies to check the security capabilities of kiosk software providers. Scalefusion allows IT admins to operate kiosks into single or multiple modes and prevent access to systems.
A strong password policy is critical to protect self-service kiosks from malicious attacks. Using Scalefusion, IT admins can configure strong passwords from their device management platform, ensuring settings cannot be modified.
Bad actors can potentially utilize USB ports to load malware and hijack kiosk devices. It must be ensured that USB ports remain inaccessible when devices are in kiosk mode.
Kiosk technology is adding new possibilities in moments of truth advertising. Since display kiosks are available in different sizes and configurations, they can be placed in an environment with heavy footfall. Besides advertising, kiosks also provide useful functionalities.
For example, the city of Houston, Texas, installed 25 kiosks as a part of its smart city initiative. These kiosks offer free Wi-Fi hotspots and feature dual-sided touch screens that display digital advertising. It also offers people location-based informational listings and interactive applications to promote local businesses and points of interest.
Businesses can put together the elements of their brand on kiosks to obtain stronger brand association. Device management platforms allow users to add brand associations such as name, logo, colors, fonts and more to reinforce their brand’s physical identity.
As more consumers become affluent in using digital technologies, the demand for self-service kiosks is going to rise. Besides offering value to consumers, improving self-service with effective kiosk management will help service providers minimize costs, create competitive differentiation, and manage demand fluctuations.