Would you rather wait in a long line, not knowing where you are in a queue and if you have to go to another counter? Or, would you prefer to know how long the wait will be, where you are in a queue, who will be serving you, and how long your visit will take from start to finish?
If you're like most people, you'd likely opt for the second option. And guess what? Your customers, patients, or citizens do, too.
Removing the friction from any experience, whether you're a government agency, retailer, or healthcare facility, can go a long way in keeping them happy. It can also benefit you by streamlining operations, keeping staff happy, and attaining cost savings — a win-win.
So when it comes to identifying ways to improve the customer experience, investing in a self-service kiosk just makes sense. Here’s why.
Understanding the value of self-service kiosks
The concept of self-service isn't new. For decades, people have been working hard to understand how to deliver products and services faster. Recent technological advancements — particularly during the pandemic, think mobile pick-up and contactless menus — have given prominence to this trend.
Customers and clients have now come to expect and demand this experience when interacting with you. The more they can do on their own, the better. This is where a self-service kiosk comes in — both in relieving the pressure on your operations and delivering a frictionless experience. With a kiosk, you can enable your visitors to get in line for different services, check-in for appointments, and allow them to identify themselves before the visit for more personalized experiences. Creating an enhanced waiting experience and customer flow.
But that's not all. They're also extremely accessible and equitable, enabling you to serve a diverse customer base. Depending on the solution, you can enable multi-language support, configure the system to serve people with disabilities better, and provide services and information based on customer needs.
While self-service kiosks may seem perfect for retail settings, after all, it's where we have come across them the most. They’re great in many other environments and scenarios, too.
Let’s say you’re a healthcare facility. After reviewing patient feedback, you find that the main complaint from patients is long wait times. They have to wait to check in with the clerk, then wait to get service, and if they have multiple consultations, the wait time doubles.
A self-service kiosk in this situation could remove the need to check in at the counter. Likewise, it can print them a ticket with where they are in the queue, what waiting room to go to, and an approximate wait time.
In a government office environment, a self-service kiosk can work similarly. The visitor inputs all their needs into the system. Once the request is matched to the best representative, it produces an estimated wait time while providing visitors insights into where they are in the queue.
In both scenarios, the value is the same. Customers have more visibility into their customer journey, giving them a better sense of control over their waiting experience and reduced stress levels. This creates improved satisfaction for customers and the staff that serves them.
So what exactly is a self-service kiosk, and how does it work?
Knowing the value of self-service kiosks, you're likely wondering what it is and how it works. But you're more familiar with this technology than you realize. A self-service kiosk can be a tablet or an interactive touchscreen.
They're typically placed at high-traffic points such as entryways, aisles, or waiting rooms/areas. Sometimes they're also accompanied by digital signage that lets customers know where they are in a space and can provide details on how to use it and the information they can access.
Once at the self-service kiosk, customers can input information about their visit to request a service, check in for an appointment, identify themselves, prepay for a service, and enter multiple queues and services.
More advanced self-service kiosks can leverage mobile solutions, such as issuing a mobile ticket to the customer via SMS, email, or app and sending notifications when a staff member is ready to meet or if they're up next in the queue. Likewise, they can be connected with several peripherals like magnetic stripe readers (MSRs), barcode scanners, NFC card readers, keypads, cameras, etc.
All of the information gathered from the self-service kiosk is then recorded and stored. This data can then be used to identify additional ways to optimize the customer experience. But if you remember what we said earlier, the benefits of a self-service kiosk go beyond just the customer experience. A self-service kiosk can also help you optimize your workflows, resources, and operations leading to enhanced operational efficiency. Let’s take a closer look.
5 Benefits of a Self-Service Kiosk
Rather than waiting in line or looking for a staff member to answer a question, customers can check in at their own pace and find answers to their problems independently. With more control over their queue placement, customers can choose how they want to spend their wait time, as the system can send them a notification once they're up next in line via SMS, for example.
Improves performance A self-service kiosk enables staff members to optimize service workflows in real-time. Likewise, data collected by the system can be used to identify high-traffic times, transaction times, and collect feedback which can all be used to further optimize the customer experience and improve your operations.
Enhances customer service delivery
Self-service kiosks can indeed enhance customer service delivery in several ways. By collecting information about the customer's needs, preferences, and history, the kiosk can help staff to better understand and address the customer's needs when they meet face-to-face. This can lead to more personalized and efficient service, which can improve the customer experience and satisfaction. Additionally, by reducing the time customers spend waiting in line, self-service kiosks can help to minimize customer frustration and stress. This can create a more positive perception of the wait and the overall experience, which can contribute to customer loyalty and retention.
With insights into your most busy times and the type of service that is most requested in your organization, you can better allocate resources to further optimize your operations and improve service to your customers. Not only do you maximize your workforce, but you can also automate key processes — like self-check-in — which frees your staff to focus on other high-value tasks like problem-solving, relationship-building, and cross-selling. This can help to deepen customer engagement and loyalty, and drive revenue growth.
Improves Staff Satisfaction and Retention
With the automation of repetitive tasks and more information on how to help the customer, your staff is less stressed and more focused on delivering better customer experiences. More importantly, the information collected from self-service kiosks enables better work distribution, improving staff satisfaction and retention. And in areas where service delivery is key to better customer experiences, it's easy to see how this technology pays off.
Making the Move to a More Self-Service Future
The desire for a more self-service experience will only increase as technological advancements open the doors to endless possibilities along with a vendor that can generate more insights about the customer experience and how to improve it. Understanding how you can leverage self-service technology to remove the friction from your customer journey will help you attain a competitive edge and increase your profits in the long run.
As you look in the market for a self-service kiosk vendor, understanding its features and how it can benefit you and your business is key. Look for a vendor that takes the time to understand your customer journey to develop a tailored solution for you that improves your organization. You should also look at the quality of the solution itself. Anyone can create a kiosk, but it is key to pick a vendor that has a kiosk that is well-integrated with your queuing system, and that provides deeper insights on how to make the customer experience better for the people you serve.
For example, you may want to get insights into the reliability of the kiosk and how quickly you can get support should you experience any issues. A bonus factor to consider is whether the self-service kiosk provider can supply both the hardware and well-integrated software. Not only is this a safer option for you and your customers, but it also makes it easier to get support. After all, a kiosk is just one part of the solution, so pick one that has the experience and the knowledge to deliver an end-to-end solution.
At Qmatic, we've helped countless businesses across industries modernize their practices with self-service kiosks. With over 40 years of R&D work put into our solutions, we’ve taken the time to understand how we can make our solutions reliable and suitable for any environment. If you want to learn more about our process, how it works, and get a closer look at this cutting-edge technology, then contact one of our reps today.