The benefits of self-service kiosks
Self-service kiosk benefits are numerous. Depending on the sector in which they are utilised, these could include:
• Less human staff being required to serve customers/passengers, resulting in resources savings for the business
• Staff free for personalised/enhanced customer service
• Less queuing or reducing waiting times for customers/passengers, which also helps reduce stress for any remaining counter staff
• More people served in a shorter space of time, increasing efficiency and related profits
• Improving the customer experience by giving them control of finding information or checking in/out
• Providing an adaptable and evolving solution, as the technology used can be upgraded without needing to replace the whole kiosk, in many cases
• Offering multiple features and functions; the same kiosk can offer information as well as take payments, print tickets and generate more revenue through upsells and advertising
• Smaller kiosks, such as tablet kiosks, can often be adjustable, which is great for ergonomics, accessibility and means they can be moved when required to meet the needs of your business.
The disadvantages of self-service kiosks
Anyone who has ever had an issue using a self-service kiosk will know that it’s not always the time-saving and straightforward experience it should be. Some of the disadvantages can include:
• Customer or passenger frustration if they don’t understand how to use the kiosk, or if it isn’t functioning properly – an ‘unexpected item in the bagging area’ perhaps?
• Large kiosks with heavy hardware tend to be fixed in place, so cannot be easily moved around to meet changing needs of the business.
• Unattended kiosks can result in an increased risk of shoplifting, which that means other measures have to be introduced, such as security staff on-hand in the self-checkout area
• Hardware or software failures or downtime. Occasional technical faults and failures are an unavoidable part of using this type of technology and regular maintenance is needed
• The costs of initial outlay for the kiosks can be significant
• Non-standard transactions, or those which require age verification e.g. alcohol sales, still need staff to be on hand
• Person to person interactions are limited. Whilst it may make many cheer, some people in society enjoy and gain great benefit from the human interactions they experience when going about their daily activities, and self-service kiosks reduce this