Self-service kiosks are interactive devices that feature a screen allowing customers to access information or services, such as making a purchase, without the need to interact with a sales assistant. This technology is only increasing in its use and can be found in various sectors, from supermarkets to healthcare facilities, restaurants, cinemas and banks, among many others. Keep reading to find out the pros and cons of self-service kiosks.
67% of those who have used a self-service checkout say they are convenient. Millennials as an age group have taken to them the most, with a quarter of this generation wanting to be able to use self-service technology at checkout.
This demand for automation brings with it the question of how it will affect your business. Self-service kiosks can help with reducing queues in stores and improve the customer experience for those looking for a quick automated checkout. However, 53% of shoppers want to see at least one member of staff in a store overseeing self-service checkouts as they can become frustrated if the technology isn’t working.
Pros of self-service kiosks
1 Reduced waiting times
In terms of the pros and cons of self-service kiosks, this is one of the most important effects these devices can have on your business. Self-service kiosks are a proven method for reducing customer waiting times. Retailers offering self-service options have seen a 40% decrease in customer wait times. Customers who know exactly what it is they are wanting to purchase or the information they are looking to attain can do this much quicker using a kiosk than by speaking with a customer assistant. This is because at a self-service kiosk they would not have to explain what it is they are looking for, they can just press the options they want. As a result, queues are reduced as customers are able to complete this process much faster, which keeps the line of customers moving.
Self-service kiosks that provide a checkout or purchasing system, offer your customers an alternative checkout route that is typically much quicker. In fact, if kiosk ordering is available, 30% of customers prefer to order from it versus a cashier.
2 Increased revenue
Self-service kiosks allow you to serve more customers, giving you the opportunity to gain a higher revenue. This isn’t the only monetary benefit these devices offer though. Your operating costs will be lowered as staff who would have provided this service for your customers can be freed to undertake other important duties. The overall efficiency of your business will be increased by this, meaning you have less waste and lower general expenses.
When looking at the pros and cons of self-service kiosks this will likely be the deciding factor. When implementing this technology the main question you will have is how it will affect your income. As mentioned above self-service kiosks offer you the chance to boost your sales.
As well as this, self-service kiosks also offer improved upselling capabilities compared to traditional methods of service. This increases the potential for higher profits. For example, with a LamasaTech Guida Kiosk, you could provide advertisements for KPI products while your customers use the kiosk to gain information as seen below.
This would help to increase the sales of these products. Or in a fast-food environment, you can visualise your menu items on the self-service kiosk. Consumers believe that visually appealing food tastes 29% better and they are willing to pay up to three times more for it.
3 Improved customer experience
When you combine the other benefits of self-service kiosks together you get an improved customer experience as a result.
Customers are often most irritated by long lines for checking out. Self-service kiosks help to keep the lines moving which aids in maintaining your customer’s overall satisfaction levels. This is why 66% of consumers prefer self-service over interacting with an employee because it is faster and less stressful.
It’s not just at the end of their time interacting with your business that self-service kiosks can help to improve a customer’s experience. These devices can be used to give customers access to information on your products and services without personal assistance. Instead of having to wait for a member of staff to be available, customers could access a kiosk and find the product information themselves. For example, if you have a freestanding kiosk placed in an easy-to-spot location, customers will be able to quickly gain all the information they need from that and then return to shopping, as seen in the example below.
This not only reduces waiting times but also enables your customer base to be more informed about the products you offer.
Cons of self-service kiosks
1 Customer frustration
If you are looking at the pros and cons of self-service kiosks then customer frustration is one of the main drawbacks you will come across. Using technology like this is not something everyone is comfortable with. Millennials are an age group that appears quite capable of using self-service kiosks, however, that may not be the case for all of your customers. 43% of shoppers would likely need help from store staff when using a self-service checkout which indicates that just having self-service options may push some of your customers away from your business.
Even if a customer is comfortable using self-service technology, sometimes the system has an issue or doesn’t work, which can also lead to frustration. A well-known example of this is the dreaded “unexpected item in the bagging area”. This occurs when shoppers, typically in supermarkets, are checking out using the self-service tills. When a customer scans an item they then place it in the bagging area, however, occasionally the system will not register the scanned item properly and believe that there is something that has been wrongly bagged. This then stops the shopper from continuing to complete the checkout process until the issue has been resolved, usually by a member of staff.
To counteract this issue you should ensure that there is always a sales assistant on hand to help in case your customers have any issues using your self-service kiosks. This will help to limit any customer frustration and produce a positive experience that will encourage them to return to your business.
2 Lack of human interaction
If you are evolving your business to incorporate self-service kiosks to automate your processes, it’s important to remember that this will drastically reduce the human interaction your business offers. Your customers may be looking for a personal approach and feel more comfortable dealing with a sales assistant rather than a kiosk. 82% of consumers want more human interactions from brands. Losing this human element from your business could discourage customers from returning and going to a competitor who offers face-to-face assistance.
Positive human interactions also have the potential to lead to increased sales. Although self-service kiosks are able to upsell while a customer is using the device, a sales assistant can help a customer no matter where they are in the store. A customer that isn’t near a kiosk but needs help may become frustrated and leave without making a purchase. However, a sales assistant can approach the customer and help them, providing a positive customer service experience. It has been found that 42% of customers bought more after a good customer service experience.
This indicates that it is important to have a balance of self-service kiosks and a human element to achieve the best results as some customers will just prefer to deal with another person rather than a screen.
The inevitability of any technology is that at some point it will need downtime for maintenance. This will be the case for your self-service kiosk. If your kiosk is placed in a high-traffic area, it will see a large amount of use. Standard wear and tear will take effect over time, though if your kiosk is made from commercial-grade materials, like the LamasaTech Guida kiosks as seen below, this will be reduced.
Eventually, the kiosk will require maintenance to ensure the system functions as intended. As a result, you will have to stop customers from using this device meaning it is not helping to generate income for your business and is reducing the ROI for the kiosk. Buying your kiosk from an experienced provider of quality products will help to reduce downtime caused by continued use.
Overuse and system errors are not the only cause of downtime. Self-service kiosks are placed in environments where anyone can access them which means they are vulnerable to vandalism. The damage inflicted, particularly to the screen, would require unanticipated maintenance and downtime for your device. Not only would the device not be functioning and generating income but you would have to cover the costs of the repairs as well. To reduce the effects of vandalism, make sure that the provider you choose for your kiosk uses commercial-grade materials to increase durability. As well as this, a well-designed display enclosure helps to make protect the screen from vandalism.
Ready to add a kiosk to your business?
After looking through the pros and cons of self-service kiosks, are you now looking to implement this technology in your business? LamasaTech is a leader in digital display technology with over 12 years of experience. We support customers across a range of industries including retail, military and defence, government and public sector, technology, hospitality and education.
You can explore our kiosk range here.