Businesses are always eager to find ways to gain higher customer satisfaction which help obtaining loyalty and establishing a long-term relationship between businesses and customers. The customer retention is crucial for any business, studies have revealed that it is 9 to 25 times more expensive to acquire a new customer rather than selling to an existing customer. A self-service kiosk help businesses improving customer experience, reducing wait time, improving service quality and reduce the cost. It help streamlining the operations, minimizing per service cost and enable business effectively utilize their human resource which results in better productivity and higher profitability. Businesses can deploy interactive self-service kiosk at their existing service centers which will help them optimizing the operational cost of the branch. A self-service kiosk will act as the service counter without any need for hiring a new staff which is very expensive. Furthermore businesses can also deploy these interactive self-service kiosks at off-campus locations to expand their reach without going through the difficult and expensive process of opening up new branches and service centers.
What is a Self-Service Kiosk?
A self-service kiosk is an interactive computer terminal, usually with a touch screen which allow customers/users to perform desired tasks without requiring any help or assistance from the staff. Your customers can independently access to the information, make transactions, get services and even purchase goods via interactive self-service kiosks. Usually the interactive self-service kiosks comes with several software and hardware based features which enable customers to accomplish the tasks they want to perform and allow them access to the services and information 24/7 without any interruption. The kiosk enclosure or body house everything inside of it such as the touch screen, thermal printer, vending machine, cash and coin payment acceptors, RFID reader, Emirates ID scanner, QR/Barcode Scanner, Passport scanner, custom-sized printer and scanners, biometrics, facial recognition and much more. The body is sealed, strong and protected with different IP ratings and even fully weatherproof which can operate outdoor with full exposure to sunlight, rain, dust and elements. There are different types of interactive self-service kiosks with ability to customize them to align them with business needs.
How Self-Service Kiosk Works?
An interactive self-service kiosk is a combination of two parts, software and the hardware. The kiosk management tool or self-service kiosk software is a server-side application which runs on a server which is hosted online, or at a cloud or in local/in-premises data center. The self-service kiosk is connected to its server and it is locked to run only one application which is needed where it push and pulls information and data from the mainframe server application. There are computer-based interactive self-service kiosks with Windows OS and there are tablet based kiosks as well. Both Samsung and Apple iPad tablets are commonly used, other Android tablets are also used and in some cases Microsoft Surface (Windows) is also used to achieve specific functionalities. The customers can interact with the system using the interactive self-service kiosk and an intuitive multi-lingual user interface. The self-service kiosk take user’s commands and send them to the server the server then returns the output which is displayed on the screen or an action is being taken accordingly. That is how an interactive self-service kiosk works. The interactive self-service kiosks mostly used industrial grade components hence can operate seamlessly 24/7 which is a great advantage for both customers and businesses.
What are the Most Common Applications of Self-Service Kiosk?
There could be hundreds of different applications and use-cases for interactive self-service kiosks. Any business can use them to enhance customer experience and to optimize their cost. The interactive self-service kiosks are widely used in Dubai, Sharjah, Abu Dhabi, Ajman, and other emirates of UAE. Here are the most common applications of self-service kiosks in the country:
- Queuing Solutions: Almost all service-based businesses in UAE are using interactive self-service kiosks at their service centers to sing-up customers and to dispense their queuing tickets. The use of interactive self-service kiosk with queue management system is so common that it has become an essential component of modern queue management systems.
- Bill Payment Kiosks: The bill payment kiosks are some of the most common applications of the interactive self-service kiosks, you must have seen one in the shopping malls, in markets, and even in residential buildings. These kiosks are used for mobile top-up, making payments for utility services and a variety of several other services.
- Food Ordering Kiosk: The food ordering kiosks are also gaining huge popularity in the country, many international fast-food chains and traditional restaurants are deploying interactive self-service food ordering kiosks. As they are convenient to use, offer customers more freedom of choice and help businesses increase the per-order cost, upselling and also used to improve marketing and communication.
- Self-Service Registration Kiosks: The self-service registration and customer registration kiosks are gaining huge popularity over past few years. All types of businesses are using them to facilitate the customer registration process. These self-service kiosks improve customer registration process, reduce errors and make registration process more user-friendly.
- Self-Checkout Retails Kiosks: The retail businesses are rapidly adopting self-checkout kiosks. Because they are convenient, offer better customer experience, offer more freedom and control to customers, and help businesses in upselling and marketing. The self-checkout kiosks comes with specialized peripherals and in some cases with cash acceptance facility also.
- Information Kiosks: The information terminals and information kiosks are widely used by a multitude of businesses, government and private organizations, airports, mass transit stations, metro, bus stations, shopping malls, large facilities, offices and warehouses all around the UAE. The traditional information booth are usually crowded and offer limited information, however an information kiosk can provide access to a broader knowledge base with digital experience and features such as bookmarking or directly pushing information to users’ mobile or email.
- Wayfinding Kiosks: The self-service wayfinding kiosks are also very common in shopping malls, large facilities, warehouses, government buildings, and even in outdoor places as well. The self-service wayfinding kiosk allow the user to navigate to any location with ability to search by name, or via voice command. Businesses also offer interactive maps, 3D and virtual tours via wayfinding kiosks along with ability to push route and locations to a user’s mobile phone which is very helpful and can significantly enhance your visitors’ experience.
- HR Kiosks: Every business’s HR is one of the most important and essential part of the operations. The HR department uses interactive self-service kiosks to offer instant access to HR services for the employees which increase employee satisfaction and also help reducing the workload of the HR team. The HR kiosks are integrated with the HRMS and can offer access to HR services to both, employees who are deployed off-campus and employees who are visiting the HR.
The above are the most common and widely used applications of the interactive self-service kiosks. There are several other applications which are not listed but also gaining huge momentum such as hotel self-checkout kiosks, patient registration kiosks, customer feedback kiosks and many more.
Why a Business Needs a Self-Service Kiosks?
There are several reasons to deploy a self-service kiosk. An interactive self-service kiosk offers great benefits for both businesses and the customers. Here are some key advantages of deploying interactive self-service kiosks:
- Better Customer Experience: An interactive self-service kiosk offers a superior customer experience, it provide easy and 24/7 access to business’s services. The customers can easily schedule their visit, the kiosk will be available 24/7. There is literally no or very less wait time, which reduce customer churn and also help improving customer satisfaction.
- Reduce Operational Cost: An interactive self-service kiosk cost you just a fraction of opening up new service center, branch or even adding more service counters. It operates 24/7 and can serve more customers which help minimizing the need of human resource and consequently reduce the per-service cost. The self-service kiosk requires very less maintenance which reduces its operational cost and help businesses maximizing their profitability.
- Boost Sales: The interactive self-service kiosks are a great tool to generate more sales and also improve upselling which results in significant rise in per-sale value. Businesses who have installed interactive self-service kiosks have witnessed a whopping 15% to 30% increase in order size. Businesses can also utilize kiosks to personalize customer experience, communication and marketing which also results in increased sales.
- Increased Privacy, Security and Accuracy: The customers are always afraid of being judged by the sales/service staff and that is the biggest drawback of a human interaction. The interactive self-service kiosk let them feel free, allow them access to more information and product/service details, and it allow customers to input their personal and private information directly through the kiosk without sharing it with another person. Since customers are inputting their information by themselves and they are selecting orders at their own that is why the chances of errors are slim to none.
- Collect Data and Insight: The interactive self-service kiosks is a digital solution with an extraordinary ability to collect valuable business intelligence data which help businesses understand their customers’ needs, demands, desires, problems, market trends and various other insights. The interactive self-service kiosk can provide a wealth of valuable business intelligence data and it can also be used to collect customer feedback. The data can be analyzed and utilized in decision making and strategy building processes to make your business more customer oriented.
These are some of the key advantages of deploying an interactive self-service kiosks, different businesses implement different solutions and also customize these interactive self-service kiosks which provides them a great competitive advantage.
Can a Self-Service Kiosk Replace an Employee?
That is a misconception and it is not new, when the industrial revolution started, people were afraid that the machine might replace them, but it turned out to be completely opposite. Instead of replacing employees and workers the machines help improving their lives and making things easier for them. Similar is the case with the interactive self-service kiosks, they are not meant to completely replace the human staff. In fact businesses can utilize the interactive self-service kiosks to improve the work efficiency, performance and satisfaction of their employees. So, in short an interactive self-service kiosk will never replace your employees. Then the question rises, why a business should use it, first it is an “always-on” channel, doesn’t require a break and don’t need weekends, second its running cost is very low. But that is not a fair comparison. If you want to know when and where you should use an interactive self-service kiosk and where you should deploy an employee, you should understand what a kiosk is better at and what an employee can do which it can’t. For example, the interactive self-service kiosks are great at repeated tasks and simple workflows, the employees are great at building a connection, solving problems, listening to your customers, and negotiating with them. That is why an interactive self-service kiosk cannot and should not be considered a replacement of the employees, in fact it is a tool to boost productivity.
Businesses are always eager to adopt new technologies, solutions and methods in order to improve their offering to their customers. In the modern landscape a customer experience is one of the most important aspect of any business’s strategy. Delivering a satisfactory customer experience is crucial for almost everything. Happy customers become loyal, and loyal customers help minimizing cost, give repeated business and boost profitability. Happy customers also help building brand image which attracts more customers. However, whenever it comes to implement a method or acquire a new solution, the first concerns is always the cost and its impact. The interactive self-service kiosks are a great solution with excellent ROI. The initial cost is minimal, the operational cost is low, and self-service kiosks offer so many benefits which help businesses improve their operational capabilities and performance while at the same time minimizing the operational cost. This blog was designed to provide a better understanding of interactive self-service kiosks, their benefits and applications. If you want to learn more about the subject or if you want our help to build a tailor-made interactive self-service kiosk solution for your business, please feel free to contact us through our Contact Us page or leave a comment in the comment box below and we will get in touch with you soon.