Self-service technology is having a transformative effect on the world around us, particularly on consumer behaviour and the way we interact with businesses. More than 85% of consumers have used a self-service kiosk and according to a SOTI survey, given the choice, consumers are more likely to tap self-service technology versus employee-led options.
Self-service is growing exponentially in all areas of retail, hotels, restaurants, healthcare and banking environments with customers increasingly opting for, and increasingly expecting self-service technology options. So, what is it that makes self-service so appealing to customers?
Self-service is faster
A problem that customers have when using the traditional route of assisted service is that they must go somewhere to use it and have to wait in line in order to get the service they need. But with self-service technology, it was designed to increase convenience. Evidence shows that kiosks reduce the time customers wait in line. The airline industry witnessed a 60-second drop in service times when they incorporated self-service kiosks, while a number of restaurants have noted that kiosks cut the time to take orders by nearly half and similarly, rental car brands such as Alamo and Enterprise report that self-service kiosks also reduce check-in times by half.
Reducing service time not only improves the customer experience but also increases sales. A Harvard Business Review study shows a 7 second reduction in average service time, which has been linked to an increase in market share of up to 3%. Research by Taylor and Francis points to a “positive and significant relationship between [self-service technology] and service quality, loyalty and behavioral intentions.” The result is usually happier customers who are more willing to try the service again, leading to increased sales.
Self-service allows customers to take control
Customers want more control over their interactions with your business—and the more you can put them in the driver’s seat, the happier they’ll be. While the concept of self-service may, at a glance, seem to contradict the everyday luxuries associated with the hospitality experience (having staff dote on each guest), many guests now crave more control throughout each touch-point preferring a more convenient, frictionless experience. In many instances, having complete autonomy over your user experience and the way you interact with a brand is, in fact, perceived as a luxury.
Not only that but self-service offers a more personalized option for the consumer; because self-service technology can be configurable to match the changing needs/situation of a consumer, it can adapt and be in flux with consumers’ changing needs, desires, behaviors, etc. letting the guest have full control over what they want their experience to be.
With self-service, there’s less room for error
Even well-trained, experienced workers can make mistakes when interacting with the customers. Mishearing a customer’s order or service request can lead to mix ups and consequently increases the number of irritated customers. However, when using self-service technology, the margin of error shrinks significantly and there is an increase in the accuracy of consumer transactions. Because the customer is the one in control of the transaction in self-service, the customer does not have to rely on an employee to make their service request or transaction accurate. By doing it themselves, customers are taking charge of how they are using a service and are less likely to make mistakes.
The truth is, automation exists because we want it. Customers are increasingly opting for self-service because we love the convenience, the efficiency, and the accuracy. When done right, self-service provides a more personalized and expedited experience.