25th September 2013 / Tom Pryor
The debate continues that businesses are turning to technology to augment services, lessening employee value. Automated kiosks are being deployed in a wide variety of sectors, such as retail, airports and hospitality. Kiosks are beneficial to businesses in reducing costs and increasing revenue, but are they adding value to employees?
Kiosks are getting things done quickly, efficiently and accurately, which is minimising the number of staff required. Nevertheless, it can be argued that automated systems are now empowering employees. With kiosks in place to automate time consuming tasks, staff members are given more time to focus on the delivery of customer service. In addition, kiosk applications can create sales opportunities for staff, encouraging higher performance.
Face to face customer service still prevails, but customers have a growing appetite for self-service systems. The notion of self-service is predominant, especially in the retail sector. Kiosks are being deployed in more and more retail environments to streamline processes and enhance the customers’ shopping experience. However, a certain level of staffing is still required even with touch screen kiosks in place. If there is an issue or malfunction, there has to be someone at hand to attend to the user’s needs.
Key benefits for employees
There is dispute as to whether automated systems are taking the personal touch out of customer service. For instance, a visitor can now check in to a hotel without talking to a receptionist and a customer can pay for their shopping without interacting with an employee. On the other hand, kiosk systems offer the customer a self-service channel that enhances their experience, through speeding up processes and reducing queues. With certain aspects being taken care of, staff members have the unique opportunity to interact with customers and develop relationships.
Whilst interactive self service kiosks allow for less staff on site, they are also enabling employees to focus on providing quality one-to-one customer service. Employees still have a valuable role in customer service. As the use of automated systems increases, they should grasp the opportunity to maximise their potential and add value to the business.