Are Kiosks Enhancing The Value Of Employees?

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?

The employee

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.

Self service

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

  • Create more time to interact with customers 
  • Build relationships
  • Increase performance with unique sales opportunities 
  • Provide one-to-one support 
  • Focus on customer service and meeting specific needs

Customer service

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.

Touchscreen Technology Is Bettering Customer Service

Providing a quality service and building a rapport with customers is at forefront of most businesses, despite the recession. There is focus on empowering employees and technology is changing the way they engage with customers. 

Kiosk technology is freeing staff from the shop counter and allowing them to cater to the individual customer’s needs. As a result, is the counter becoming obsolete? Automated reception kiosks, for instance, provide hotels with self-service points for visitors to register their arrival. This minimises the need for a manned reception and reduces staff costs.

  • ‘Customer facing technology’ such as self service kiosks and digital signage, are used to display immediate information meaning that there is less need for customers to interact fact to face with staff. 
  • ‘Employee facing technology’ refers to when the technology allows a salesperson to focus more on delivery of customer service. For example, with a digital kiosk deployed in store, an employee can be more available to help with specific queries and concentrate on the individual. The employee is able to flourish in productivity in sales and customer service.

Before now, a salesperson would have to trawl through catalogues to look up products and check availability of stock. Now, with digital screens in retail environments, the customer has more control. Self-service kiosks allow consumers to browse through an entire product range without assistance. This means product lists information can be instantly updated in real time. Furthermore, with efficient access to a product range, there is less necessity to stock all products in store, saving space. 

Implementing touch screens at the point of payment improves overall efficiency and speed of services, as the task of processing payment is made easier for staff. Hand held touch screen devices are also being used on the shop floor to process sales away from the counter. Reducing queuing times and accelerating process within busy, demanding environements is the key to a happy shopper.

The UK Employer Skills Survey (2011) has estimated that, on average, training a single new employee can cost £3275 and take up to 9 days. Training staff to navigate a self-service kiosk is estimated to take 15 minutes. Establishing kiosks is highly advantageous for businesses as it minimises training costs. Employees would require basic training to become familiar with the touch screen technology, to know how to navigate the system.

Kiosks can be utilised to provide HR functions for employees, for example they assist with clocking in and out of work, managing a team of employees and general administrative tasks. Implementing a kiosk in a business place can add value to aspects such as employee relations and financial management. The benefits lead to reducing costs and improving overall communication strategies.

In all, touchscreen technology empowers employees in providing the opportunity to maximise the quality of customer service, gain customer satisfaction and boost sales.