Jul 31, 2019 | Technology & Innovation | Reading Time: 6 minutes
Self-service technologies (SST) allow customers to get a service without interaction with service providers. It is a big part of our lives, whether you are 6 or 60 years old. Some of these technologies are already well established in the market, while others still fight against resistance.
The truth is that self-service technologies bring many benefits to both customers and businesses. The customer gets what they want faster and easier; the business sells more, reduces costs, and improves customer satisfaction, creating a loyalty bond between them.
Even if you don’t love SSTs as I do, you cannot deny their presence. And if you are a business owner, you should definitely consider having this technology, if possible, to increase your revenue and make your clients happier.
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Here are my top 10 self-service technologies that I just love to use and that, I think, might help you and me daily.
1. Airport self-service
They are part of the journey already: self-service kiosks in airports. Especially loved by travelers with little luggage (which is often my case), they are real time-savers for check-in and baggage drops.
Airport self-service kiosks speed up formalities and take away a lot of the stress involved in the airport environment. With a plane to catch, we don’t want the possibility of missing our flights. We just want to get to our gate fast.
So buckle up and have a nice flight!
ATMs (Automated Teller Machines) were the first self-service machines introduced to the public. To be exact, the first ATM was introduced into the UK in 1967. They are the best example of a self-service technology that is well established in societies all around the world.
ATMs have made our life much easier. They can be placed in a musical festival or in any street. Nowadays, we take them for granted, hardly considering a time when they didn’t exist. But it took them some time to get our trust.
Yes, we all love a cash machine (when our bank account is not in the red)!
3. Hotel automated service
Slowly but surely, the hotel industry is adopting self-service technology. Many properties rely on hotel management software that often has check-in and check-out kiosks, making guests‘ arrivals more pleasant and less turbulent. More convenient, digital self-service cannot be neglected in the modern world.
But kiosks can be quite expensive, and they are not the only way to speed up the hotel check-in process. Another way that self-service is being incorporated in hospitality is through automated customer service (chatbots) on hotels’ websites.
Not to mention that pre-stay is a crucial part of the guest experience and can benefit a lot from self-service. Less stress for hotel staff otherwise overloaded with questions and more convenience for the tired guest who has just arrived.
Just get your key room and enjoy your stay!
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4. Self-ordering technology in restaurants
Self-ordering technology in restaurants is a growing trend. This kind of technology increases operational efficiency as well as improves customer service by taking off the pressure of standing in a queue.
McDonald’s is one of the big names that already adopted self-service technology. Their kiosks have been in test since 2003 in the United States and as of 2020, they will be implemented at all U.S. locations.
So from now on, you may take your own order and add yourself that extra-fries!
5. Self-service gas station
Self-service gas stations are a controversial topic. A self-service gas station is the one where customers fill up their vehicles themselves. Most countries operate self-service gas stations, but not all. In the US, for example, not all states allow it either. However, in Europe, most people prefer self-serve gas stations to full-service gas stations.
There are many economical and social aspects of this subject. I prefer to take Andrew Clark’s funny (and superficial) analysis of this feud: full-service gas stations are for lazy people; self-service for desperate people who are looking for an excuse to get out of their cars!
Full service or self-service: which one are you?
6. Self-service parking
Self-service kiosks make life easier in many scenarios, including airport parking. They allow drivers to check in and out through a fully automated system, helping late passengers to catch their flights.
Specifically for air passengers, the quicker the process to get to the gate is, the better their experience becomes. Making it simple to park the car, passengers feel less stressed and their journey is off to a good start!
No more traffic on the parking plot!
7. Post office technologies
Many Posts all over the world are investing in self-service technologies in order to close the gap between digital and physical. Canada Post and Singapore Post are some examples of it.
I’m not sure if letter mail and post stamps will disappear forever (I do love the nostalgic feeling that they bring), but it is undeniable that the service experience is changing in the post office world. It is great not to have to stay in line just to send a normal package or to be able to track a product that you bought on e-commerce.
Mr.Postman, you don’t need to check if there is a letter for me anymore!
8. Supermarket kiosk
Supermarkets have also started to introduce technology for customers to scan and pay for their shopping. Self-service checkouts are more efficient and clients like them! Besides, they have language options, which are great for foreign customers.
Furthermore, those kiosks save time for both customers and employees. Employees can focus on other important tasks, like stocking shelves, and customers skip chatting with strangers while shopping.
Read the code bars, pay and prepare your dinner!
9. Museum and art gallery kiosks
I love museums and art gallery kiosks! They are a simple and fast way to engage clients and make clients’ experiences richer. They can be used in ticketing, wayfinding, interactive exhibits, and guided tours.
Furthermore, the kiosks should be placed in the right spot, to get maximum traffic flow and to be an integrated part of the exhibition. If people don’t understand its purpose, it will be a waste of money.
If you need more information, please press the button!
10. Ticketing kiosks
Another self-service technology that I love is the movie theater kiosks. Theater kiosks can encourage loyalty programs, collect customer data and make theaters more profitable.
Ticketing kiosks are especially great for people that are always late, like me! In a matter of a few minutes, you can select the movie, the showtime, the seat and pay for your ticket. There is no more need to arrive early to guarantee the perfect spot to watch the movie.
Skip line and grab your popcorn!
Self-service technology: fast but not furious!
It’s increasingly difficult to find retail shops, restaurants, and public spaces that don’t utilize self-service technologies in some form.
We all want to get things done fast, without having to stress over how the service will be done. That is why more and more frequently, businesses are implementing self-service applications to improve their customer service and reduce costs.
Besides, if you are still not totally convinced that self-service is the best way to be served, many companies are adopting the combination of self-service technologies with human service. That way, they satisfy both needs: speed and personalized service.
One thing is for sure: do things fast, but don’t make your customers furious!
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