Touch screen technology is everywhere and it’s just getting bigger by the day. The multimedia interactive technology offers consumers a modern platform which allows them to say good by to the keypad and hello to a innovative and compact technology products.
Although it may only seem that the touch screen interface has been around and about for the past few years, research suggests otherwise. Dating back to the 80s the touch screen was a new and exciting technological device that has been developed and improved over the years to mix into our every day world; and that development has proven to be a huge success with mobile phones, kiosk systems, computers and many more technology products adopting a touch screen interface.
So to give you an idea of the world of touch screen and how it all began, here are a few touch screen gadgets from years gone by.
In 1983 Hewlett Packard’s HP-150 was the first commercially available touch screen PC. The screen was fitted with a grid of infrared beams which were in place to detect finger movements across the screen; however the IR sensors often became clogged up with dust and dirt and required regular cleaning.
In 1993, Apple was still leading the way in handheld devices with its Newton PDA. With handwriting recognition it was years ahead of its time and even now the device is commonly found being sold on Internet auction sites for large prices.
In 1996 the Palm took over the touch screen market for over ten years with its Pilot series. The company then expanded its products to Smartphone technology getting rid of its operating system in favour of Windows Mobile.
The year 2000 saw the launch of Microsoft handheld ‘tablet’ devices. Bill Gates, founder, saw the potential of the touch screen device and launched the product with the Windows XP Tablet edition in 2002. Not many people bought the tablet PC’s due to the high costs.
2004 saw the introduction or touch screen Smartphones which have grown in popularity over the years. Handsets such as Nokia’s Symbian handsets, Windows Mobile as well as the Sony Ericsson’s UIQ phones have all driven the touch screen technology forward.
The launch of the Apple iPhone in 2007 hit the touch screen industry by storm. There was a lot of work that needed to be done to the device for it to meet to people’s expectations however the sleek and sophisticated design proved to be an overall winner which left many other mobile phone manufacturers struggling to play catch up.
2008 saw the touch screen industry move for a more commercial than home use. The new Microsoft touch screen controlled table was launched prices at a whopping £8,500. The new interactive system adopted a multi touch surface which allowed many users to interact at the same time.
Well maybe not 1000 but it can sure seem that way if a kiosk is deployed professionally. There are a great many ways in which you can deploy a kiosk system you just have to ensure you have the correct equipment and software as well as a company that you can trust to help you along the way.
To give you an idea of the different ways in which a kiosk can work for you, here are a few different ways a kiosk can be deployed and beneficial towards your needs and requirements.
If your kiosk is deployed in strategic locations such as shopping stores, entrances to shops, supermarkets as well as train stations and air port terminals then you can provide your customers with a convenient, instant access bill payment system.
An Internet kiosk is an ideal way to entice customers into your store. If they can receive free access to the Internet the more likely they are to come in and further browse in your store.
If you are providing information, help or advice through your kiosk, such as a way finder then you need to make sure it is positioned in the right places which is of use to the user. For example, if you have developed a kiosk system which allows users to learn about a product then there is really no point having the kiosk on the other side of the store away from where the product is being sold. A successful kiosk is always placed in a prime position for the customer.
Checking In/Update of Information
These types of kiosks are great for doctors surgeries or hospitals whereby the patient can update their information or check in for their appointment. This type of kiosk frees up staff members time and allows you to reduce the administration costs which can be time consuming and more costly than what they need to be.
More and more business are moving into the self service industry to reduce staff costs, expand their revenue and improve their customer service. They may set companies back a little bit of money when it comes to the manufacturing and deployment, but once this has been organised and the budgets have been set, kiosk systems are sure to improve the way your business is run.
To give you an idea of why kiosk deployment is successful, here are a few tips in how to go about deploying the kiosk and what you need to do to ensure that it is successful.
When deploying a kiosk it should cover these seven steps to ensure it is a successful business move.
The first stage is to grab the customers attention. Use digital signage, kiosk enclosures, banners and staff to help promote the kiosk. Large screens in stores directly grab the customers attention and engage passengers to look to see what services or products they are offering. Make sure the kiosk cover is designed to your branding and stands out in store. Don’t just put it in the corner, make sure it is in a prime postion for everyone to see.
Consumers will only be interested in information if it is to the point, clear and concise. Reams of writing and no illustration will instantly deter them away from your kiosk. A kiosk is meant to speed things up so make sure that you get to the point so customers can get on with their day and feel happy with the customer service they have received.
Interact with your customer throughout the process. Make sure that they can follow a step by step guide and don’t feel stuck along the way. It is highly important that you make sure the whole process is simple and that your customers feel engaged with the whole process and not left to feel confused by how the system works.
If your kiosk allows customers to purchase products and services, then a good technique is to provide related services and products that they may be interested in when it comes to purchasing their items. This is a great way of selling without harassing the customer.
The fulfillment of the order needs to quick and precise. Don’t leave the customer hanging around for their receipt. They have made their purchase and wish to leave as soon as possible. Once the transaction is processed don’t make them click through thousands of pages to sign off. The quicker the service is the more likely they are to use it again.
Don’t just leave your kiosk to rot away. Make sure you update it regularly and keep it in tip top shape. Add additional products and services and make sure that it is always running smoothly and keep the software updated.
The customer knows best so make sure that you listen to their feed back about the kiosk and whether you need to make changes to suit their needs and requirements. They are are the end user at the end of the day so you need to make sure it is directed to the type of information and services they want.
As soon as a customer enters your store the first thing they should expect to see is a kiosk system, which stands out, is inviting to use and can offer them additional services, valued customer service and a solution to their problem.
You need to make sure that your customer’s first impression of your kiosk is a good one and that they would happily come back and use it again.
Francie Mendelsohn, president of Summit Research Associates, a kiosk consulting firm, said, “If the software isn’t easy to use, I don’t care how gorgeous a kiosk is, (the kiosk) will ultimately prove to be a failure,” she said.
Many businesses tend to drag whatever is on their website and place it all on the kiosk failing to conduct usability tests which can result in the kiosk system failing.
Here are a few common problems that happens when it comes to the deployment of kiosks.
Some kiosk systems can be very overwhelming, particularly for first-time users. It is so important to make the kiosk as easy and simple to use as possible.
Make sure you receive user feedback when developing your kiosk, involving them in all stages. The worst thing you can do is leave customer feedback till the very end as the whole idea and kiosk system may not be in favour or the users and you will have to go back to the drawing board.
Many kiosk deployers like to have lots of colour, various screens and font sizes to add variety to the kiosk.
This is a bad move.
“Don’t completely change mid-stream what you want the user to do,” Mendelsohn said.
If you have a ‘next’ button make sure you keep it consistent and in the same place throughout so customers become familiar with the system.
With sound or without sound
If you work in a busy environment where there is a lot of sound then a kiosk with sound isn’t going to be too much of a problem. However, if you work in a quiet environment, the sound of a kiosk system can be annoying for staff and embarrassing to customer’s using it.
Sound is good in small doses, maybe a little ping here and there which can increase a kiosks usability.
Some users need to be walked through the process and sound can help them do this quicker by directing them to the next step and what will happen next.
“From a user interface standpoint, having the ability to put clicks and beeps or some other type of mechanism to validate that, yes, you have touched the button and it’s going to move onto the next activity can be very helpful,” said BobVentresca, Vice President of marketing for kiosk and digital signage provider Netkey Inc.
Website as your interface
Many people start off a kiosk by putting their website as the main page, when in reality a kiosk and a website are two very different things.
“Time and time again we have learned and our customers have learned through experience that that is not the way to do business,” Ventresca said. “That is not to say you don’t leverage your website and leverage the content and information that is on your website.”
A website is designed for people who have time to browse while a kiosk system is deployed in a retail and often very busy environment with the primary aim of allowing customer’s to quickly find product information or services that they require.
“With the advent of things like the Web services, you can still use all of the assets you have developed for your website – it just needs to be displayed in a different way, one that is most appropriate for an interactive, self service environment,” said Ventresca.
New technology can be an exciting and innovative new addition to your business if deployed in the correct manner. It is important to consider your customer throughout the whole process and ensure that the system you are developing will suit the end users needs and requirements.
Paying for bills, cashing in cheques were all at one point time consuming tasks that many people could never find the time to do.
It often meant that many people would have to nip out on their lunch break to stand in a queue at the local post office or their bank to cash in a cheque or pay their bills, leaving them no time for rest and recuperation on their much needed lunch break.
And then on a Saturday the banks tend to close at midday or some are not open at all, which can be a nightmare for people who work 9-5 and have no time to get to do daily necessary tasks.
Nowadays there are a growing number of ways in which people can make payments in and out of their account on a daily basis. Customers can pay via Internet banking, via phone or mail, post office and payment centres as well as payment kiosks designed to make life a whole lot easier.
Payment kiosks enable customers to make payments at a kiosk in their own time when is most convenient for them. These types of kiosks not only give customers a new way to bank but also cuts down the cost of opening payment centres and extra staff to process the bills.
“To use skilled employees to count change may not be the most efficient use of their time,” said Jim Bennett CEO of Tulsa, Oklahoma based US Payment Systems company. “It may appear to be a good service, but most agree dealing with more complex customer service issues is the best application of (those employees) talents.”
From a customer service point of view a bill payment kiosk delivers consistent, valuable service 24 hours a day, 265 days a year. These types of kiosks offer extended business services which many customers need.
Payment systems can also reduce personnel and overhead costs if further deployed in convenience stores which can function as a satellite office but without the overheads.
Reconciliation costs are also greatly reduced as there is no longer a need to manually count deposits and reconcile them to accounts paid.
It can also further reduce the amount of thefts as well as the miscounting of money as fewer hands actually touch the funds.
Bridget Debus, Senior Accountant of Administration for Kansas Gas Service, said, “Payment kiosks offer uses the convenience to conduct business transactions on demand. Payment kiosks are user friendly and convenient.”
And by partnering with other brands such as convenience stores or petrol stations, you are able to establish your brand further than your current company locations.
There is so much that can be gained from deploying self service kiosks as payment systems for your customers that missing out on this new and exciting opportunity limits you and your business and the services you offer to your clients.
To learn from other customers mistakes so you don’t make them, we at Protouch have listed the top ten reasons why companies kiosk deployment fails.
A kiosk need to be situated in a prime location so that it is clearly visible and easily accessible to the customer. Stuck behind a shelf or wall will not do you any favours and you can say goodbye to that return of investment before you have even started.
If you haven’t the floor space why not consider a wall mounted kiosk.
Everyone judges a book by its cover and most people do it within the first 30 seconds.
Kiosks systems that make a bad first impression:
Make your kiosk system simple and easy to use. Provide easy to use steps and don’t bombard your customer with reams of information which will be of no interest to them.
Work or play
A kiosk to many equals a computer and most people often associate that with work and stress, and are more likely to carry on walking by. To attract your customers attention you should carefully design your kiosk to make it user-friendly with bright colours and non-standard shapes making it more engaging and encouraging to use.
More is more
We understand that people’s budget doesn’t stretch that far when it comes to new applications an systems, but if you can afford it, then we recommend you spend it. There is nothing worse than having to queue to use a system that is supposedly designed to make you processes quicker and easier. Install multiple kiosks where and when you can.
A turn of phrase that most people hate and won’t go down well if written on your kiosk screens. Make sure you keep on top of your product and its software. Check that it isn’t running slow and your server can handle the information. Try not to keep them waiting for more than 0.5 seconds, else they are most likely to walk away.
Many companies think the bigger the screen the better the system; but not necessarily. If you are running a healthcare company or doctors surgery, for example, it’s not wise to have a huge screen advertising your patients details to the world and its dog. Think about your customer and what information you are displaying and how much privacy they need.
Kiosks asking questions
Many kiosks already deployed have failed due to the millions of questions they ask the customer. A kiosk is meant to provide the support and help for the customer but that won’t work if they feel they are doing all the hard work. Install a system that allows your customer to feel happy with the service you are providing.
Most browsing pages on kiosks appear clumsy and irritate the customer. Many display tiny pictures of their products with about 12 displayed on one page which leaves the customer clicking here there and everywhere to find all the pictures and information of the actual product they want to purchase.
Scrolling mechanisms work brilliantly as customers can scan through the products rather than clicking on and off pages which usually slows down the process.
A search bar generally allows customers to type in a word or question and results will appear on the page. While this is an effective tool, any misspellings or words the kiosk doesn’t recognise can bring back irrelevant results or no results at all.
A good idea would be to display the results in real time, meaning when a person types in a word,suggested results appear below. For example if a customer is typing in “shop” results below would appear, “shops” “shopping”.
A website is designed for a person sat at a computer with a mouse and keyboard with a little bit of time to browse. A kiosk system is completely different and you need to make sure that all information, links on their system is easy to navigate around and provides the relevant information and no waffle.
Internet kiosks are a great idea but provide access to sites with relevant and to-the-point information so your kiosk is quick and easy to use and accessible to all customers.
For more information about kiosk systems today visit Protouch, Europe’s number one manufacturer and distributor of touch screen equipment.
Kiosk systems are all the rage but what is it they do and how can they benefit your business?
However, there are a wide range of kiosk systems out there and it is important to understand which one will suit you.
Firstly, it all depends on what type of company you are and what services you provide to your customers.
Kiosks can perform a whole range of services and can make a big difference to improving customer service as well as freeing up staff time.
An innovative kiosk system taking the health care industry by storm are survey kiosks. Mainly used for patient feedback, a survey kiosk is a fantastic way of gathering data and information first hand from your customers, so you can improve and expand your business.
A survey kiosk in action can provide:
Collect point of care feedback faster and more efficiently. You can identify problems quickly and make the necessary improvements to your business.
Improve your service by feeding back positive and negatives, improve customer retention, create loyal customers who will further recommend your products and services.
Businesses are always looking to expand and grow into the ever changing technology-driven world. And from time to time companies stumble across a savvy solution and everyone else jumps on the bandwagon.
Well now is the time for kiosks and the retail industry are clocking onto it.
Their success is stampeding through clothes stores, supermarket chains etc and it’s only going to get bigger.
However, there is a problem and that problem could have a negative impact on the deployment of the kiosk.
A successful kiosk solution is one that creates an iconic value for the kiosk. In other words, the kiosk needs to be given its own identity. The look and feel of the kiosk, its software as well as its overall ability needs to immediately attract and relate to the consumer and stand out as a kiosk that your company owns.
Basically, customers who have an affiliation with your brand will be more inclined to utilise the kiosk over and over if your brand is splashed all over it. It encourages loyalty to your company and allows customers to access your company as and when they please.
Take a photo kiosk system, for example. A customer is going to feel more safe and comfortable with using it if they recognise your brand. If it’s simply a kiosk situated in a supermarket with no branding, customers are inclined to distrust who the company is and seek the service they need elsewhere.
We may be moving into a technology driven society, but this has brought fear and fraudulent activity to our lives where people are less inclined to trust others unless they recognise and know the brand.
“All of those factors are interrelated,” said Ronald Bowers, senior vice president of business development with Frank Mayer and Associates. “The success of a kiosk solution is composed of media advertising, support materials, signage, even simple things within the store before you get back to the kiosk. That branding experience is a critical aspect of the acceptance or the failure of that solution.”
When kiosk systems first took centre stage, many businesses went for cool, cutting edge designs in hope that the cutting edge technology would entice customers to use the systems. However, they failed to acknowledge brand loyalty and lack of trust for new technological products which left people unsure of what to do or how to use them. They just weren’t holding enough identity to make people try them out.
Nowadays, retailers are moving away from integrating kiosks simply as a new technology and learning to comply with their consumers needs.
“For years and years if you were a brand marketer and a retailer attending a kiosk show, you would be overwhelmed that this is a technology show,” Bowers said. “It was a bunch of card readers and money changers and digital signage providers, but there was no body stepping up and telling you, ‘This is a branded solution.’”
In short, the solution to the problem is to simply create a kiosk that successfully solves a customers problem, but more importantly, branded well enough to show what services it offers. In doing this, it’s smiles all round. The retailer has installed a system that sells their brand, provides extra services for customers and in the long run reduces staffing hours. And the customer is happy as it knows it can trust your brand, it’s receiving top service and more importantly they feel like they are trying something new in this technology driven world.
For more information about installing kiosks into your business and how to brand it visit the Protouch website for more information.
The condensed pack features an array of information to answer all your kiosk needs as well as keeping the leisure industry in the loop on how to expand their demographic and explore new means to attract more customers.
Their tips cover:
There are so many different uses for a kiosk and the Protouch leisure industry guide covers them all. From cinema payment systems to an internet kiosk, the Protouch guide masters the basics behind kiosk technology; the first step in achieving a successful kiosk deployment.
So get access to your FREE copy of ‘Mastering Kiosk Deployment within the leisure sector’ by clicking here.
Wherever you go, self service kiosks are taking over the town. From petrol stations to airports, everyone is jumping on the kiosk bandwagon and whether you like it or not, you are having to learn how they work to keep up with this ever changing society.
While kiosks are being deemed as the way forward, some people are still a little unsure of the concept and are not keen on the idea of purchasing products and obtaining services through a machine.
So to settle this little debate, we at Protouch have listed the pros and cons to kiosk installation, leaving you to answer the question; are you being served?
Okay we may be a little biased about kiosks (considering we sell them) but we know that people have had a few queries and problems with self service kiosks and here are a few.
Companies are fully aware that not everyone is keen on kiosk but the installation of self service systems and simply there to give people the option.
“We’d never get completely rid of manned tills,” a Sainsbury’s spokesperson has said. “For us it’s all about offering people the choice. Self-service checkouts are very popular with the customers who use them a lot, but we realize people either like them or they don’t.”
So there you go!