Automation has become such an integral part of life that people often don’t realize how many routine tasks are now accomplished through technology.
Think about it: When people need money, they typically withdrawal it through an ATM machine. When flying, passengers, for the most part, print out boarding passes at an airport kiosk – before approaching airport employees.
Automation saves businesses, and consumers alike, time that would otherwise be spent carrying out routine and oftentimes repetitive tasks.
Kiosk convenience services more customers
That customer convenience has paid off. At airports, self-service kiosks cut customer check-in time down to under a minute in some instances, according to the International Journal of Computer Science Issues, which released its findings in a May 2010 report. Passengers use kiosks primarily to print boarding passes and bag tags and kiosks can process 40 to 50 passengers an hour, according to the report.
Customers do not typically have a wait for kiosks as compared to lines of five people waiting to be checked in by an employee, the study found.
Automated processes through kiosks have become so commonplace in fact that everything from buying movie tickets to grocery shopping, dining out, appointments with medical professionals and more is initiated first with a touchscreen kiosk.
Kiosks technology powers auto repair shops
Building upon the success of kiosk use in other industries, automotive software development company BOLT ON recently released Welcome Station, which is believed to be the first-ever customer check-in kiosk developed specifically for the auto repair industry.
As is the case in other industries, this interactive tool empowers customers to check themselves in and make decisions about the services they would like to be carried out on their vehicles. In addition, it frees up service advisors to attend to more pressing tasks.
The foodservice industry, since introducing kiosk technology several years ago, has seen quicker and easier ordering and payments. At Boloco, a Boston-based group of 18 restaurants located throughout New England, ordering kiosks were added in 2010 to help keep lines moving and improve customer service, according to this report.
“The goal wasn’t for kiosks to replace our team members,” Jim Lux, vice president of IT, Boloco said in the report. “But we wanted to use our people differently, and have them focus more on enhancing the customer experience, and not on simply taking orders.”
Similarly, the interactive Welcome Station kiosk incorporates that same simplicity for auto repair customers through its illustrated step-by-step format. Both new and returning customers can input or verify their name and contact information, vehicles and note which vehicle is being serviced. The check-in center also features weather-specific alerts that ask customers to consider services based on current or near future climate changes.
Automation = more choices
The customer-led check in process gaining popularity in the foodservice, airline and auto repair industries, in addition to saving time, offers more choices.
Beyond printing out a boarding pass, self-service kiosks at airports, according to this article, give customers opportunities to change their seats and switch to an earlier flight – options that might not be as quickly, or as easily accessible in a person-to-person encounter.
Kiosks situated in hotel lobbies make check in, check out – and everything in between – possible with the tap of a screen. According to this article, hotel kiosks offer local restaurant and entertainment choices, lessening the need for front desk staff to double as quasi tour guides.
Restaurant chains, including Red Robin, Applebee’s and Chili’s offer tableside payment options via a kiosk, making it easier to pay a dining tab, particularly during busy periods.
At Boloco restaurants, kiosks allow guests to create their own burritos, or customize menu offerings. Seeing images and selecting which toppings to add, for instance, makes ordering seamless.
Implementing similar technology in the auto repair industry likewise makes vehicle servicing much easier. The Welcome Station kiosk reminds customers of pending, or past due services and makes service suggestions based on weather and popular services. Having that technology at a customers’ fingertips offers more choices, increases the likelihood of higher repair order tickets – and reduces the need for service advisors to up-sell services.
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