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Self-Service Kiosks Offer Convenience, Cost Savings for Various Use Cases

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Self-Service Kiosks Offer Convenience, Cost Savings for Various Use Cases

April 24, 2015
By Paula Bernier
Executive Editor, TMC

Self-service is on the rise, and not just in situations in which people are alone at home using their computers. Increasingly, people are also handling transactions themselves via kiosks at airports, hotels, libraries, restaurants, and theaters.

Kiosks can be beneficial for consumers, who as a result may be able to complete their task of paying for goods, checking out a book, or getting through customs more quickly. And for businesses, leveraging kiosks can help lower costs by decreasing human resource requirements. Indeed, one report indicates that 40 percent of customers prefer self-service options over having to interact with another person.

In addition to the airline kiosks with which many of us have been familiar, and the bank ATMs that are now widespread, such well-known organizations at Cinemark, McDonald’s, and Westcorp now are using kiosks. And some have seen an increase in spending as a result.

For example, Cinmark’s self-service kiosks increased per person concession spending at theaters for 32 quarters, according to a recent report.

McDonald’s also has seen positive results on this front.

“At one store, 10 or so years ago, [McDonald’s] found that the average check size was a dollar higher – a 30 percent increase at the time. And they found that 20 percent of customers who didn’t initially order a drink would buy one when it was offered. Kiosks, of course, never forget to upsell,” says Ryan Buell, an assistant professor at the Harvard Business School.

Image via Shutterstock

However, while self-service kiosks can save on cost and frustration, Harvard Business School also notes that the use of kiosks can lower customers’ overall satisfaction due to a lessened sense of connectedness with a brand.

Nonetheless, the self-service movement is clearly here and continues to grow. Self-service usage increased from 67 percent in 2012 to 76 percent in 2014, according to research firm Forrester. And Gartner (News - Alert) believes that by 2020, customers will manage 85 percent of the relationship with an enterprise without interacting with a human being.

Miami International Airport, which first installed kiosks from SITA in 2013, recently added 44 self-service passport kiosks to expedite the customs and immigration process. And at least 22 airports in Canada, the Caribbean, and the U.S. are using BorderXpress ACS (News - Alert) kiosks for the same purpose, improving processing time by up to 50 percent and enabling border patrol and customs to handle up to four times more passengers in the same window of time.

Westcorp, meanwhile, is using Ariane Systems’ technology to allow hotel guests at its Bonnyville, Alberta, location to check themselves in via kiosk. 

Speaking of room access, a company called KeyMe now has kiosks at select Lowe’s locations that enable customers to store a digital copy of their keys in the cloud and, if they lose the physical keys, use one of the kiosks to create a new one.

Edited by Maurice Nagle

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