March 13, 2018

Post Office Self-Service Kiosk Strategies - Dos and Don'ts

Postal

Thinking of implementing a self-service kiosk in your post office? Escher has deployed kiosk solutions to some of the world’s largest postal operators. The following guidelines provide expert advice to ensure your kiosk project is a success.

 

 

 

Kiosk Strategies - Dos

#1 Determine what customers (really) want from a post office self-service kiosk

When gathering requirements, consult with different business groups (including those who represent the customer) to understand how kiosks will help their business.

When interviewing customer focus groups, it’s worth noting that what some customers say they want - and what they’ll actually will do – might be different.

To avoid developing a solution that misses the mark, use workshops, surveys, social media, and other approaches to identify the most urgently sought self-services. Prioritize these in the first release to encourage initial uptake.

#2 Assess the effectiveness of your kiosk

Will your kiosk provide value for money? How can you tell?

Before you install the kiosk, define targets and metrics to determine how the kiosk will justify its investment. Compare the speed, accuracy, and reliability of sending parcels via the kiosk versus the counter for customers.

#3 Examine how other posts have implemented their self-service kiosks

While preparing specifications, visit different posts to examine their approach to kiosk implementation.

If possible, meet with retail managers to understand what works, where issues arise, and which services customers use the most. Discuss staff training plans, communications methods to keep staff abreast of new features, and data protection policies.

As part of the drive towards an improved consumer experience, Posts are pushing the boundaries of what can be achieved using kiosks with a range of features such as automatic induction, peripherals, barcode readers, and loyalty systems.

#4 Experiment with the physical location to optimize its effectiveness

Where do you plan to put the actual kiosk?

Location is everything. Where you position your kiosk will have a significant impact on its uptake and usage.

If you place it right next to the counter, customers may feel obliged to go to the teller rather than ignoring them. Likewise, if there’s not enough elbow room at the kiosk for multiple parcels, they’ll go back to the counter.

Light can also be an issue. It the kiosk is too close to an outside window, glare makes the screens hard to read. This need to be taken into consideration whether deploying the kiosk in the branch or external locations such as shopping malls, universities, and convenience stores.

If you are not sure what type of Self-Service Kiosk to chose, check out our blog on the different options Posts have.

#5 Empathize with Customers

Even though I’ve used the Express Lane when shopping for over ten years, things still go wrong. Presenting the card too early upsets it. Maybe you’ve seen something similar.

So, when customers come to the kiosk for the first time, you may need to provide a little direction here and there. By helping early adopters use the kiosk, you’ll increase uptake. Hopefully, word-of-mouth recommendations will encourage others to try as well.

When developing kiosk solutions, Escher ensures the user experience is smooth, frictionless, and designed to meet different customer profiles.

An intuitive user interface that’s easy to follow and fast will encourage users for repeated use. The priority is a clutter free interface with easily recognizable icons. Don’t make users guess what a button means. Layout the screens so users can complete transaction as swiftly as possible and also provide help icons for tips. 

Examine kiosk-generated data to identify where users get lost, confused, or ‘bail out’ when shopping. Run data analytics reports to resolve bottlenecks and frequently occurring errors.

#6 Integrate the kiosk with the POS system

Is the kiosk part of your overarching Point of Service strategy?

Integrate the kiosk with other channels to offer customers a more tailored experience. Registered customers, or those who use customer loyalty apps, can avail of promotions, special offers, and other incentives.

 

If you want to see our Kiosks in action - Fionnuala Higgins, CCO at Escher, discusses the many customer-centric services available on our stand at Post Expo 2017 including the Self-Service Kiosks.

 

Kiosk Strategies - Don'ts

Follow these best practices to enhance your customers' in-store kiosk experience and generate more sales.

#1 Assume customers will know how the use the kiosk

Ever tried to teach someone to use a computer? A lot of what you take for granted is a mystery to them.

Steve Ballmer, former boss of Microsoft, asked his mother to test Windows 95.

"How do I turn it off?" she asked when finished.

Ballmer pointed to the start button. "You go to the start...”

#2 Examine Floor Space and Placement

If you’ve ever been to IKEA you’ll know that the store layout is very intentional. As you progress through the first floor, you’ll notice that goods are laid out in context — living room, dining room, kitchens, home office. Designed to maximize the shopping experience, the floor’s one-way system guides you towards the checkout.

For Posts, strategic design and user experience are essential to convert customers from full-service counters to self-service kiosks for sending parcels.

When implementing self-service kiosks, floor space, placement, lighting and other design factors require attention in order to achieve deployment targets.

In addition to the kiosk’s footprint, adequate space is required to accommodate both the customer using the kiosk, and the line forming behind them.

Posts should invest in rugged, durable yet stylish equipment that performs consistently even during the busiest periods. Using cheap devices and peripherals may save money up front, but will cost more later in maintenance, lost sales and brand erosion.

In addition, frequent breakdowns foster distrust even when kiosks are operational. If customers see that a kiosk (or a peripheral) is out-of-order, they may not use it the next time, even when it’s repaired.

#3 Overlook Staff Training

Provide staff with adequate training so they feel confident dealing with technical queries and coping with frustrated and difficult customers.

Negative customer experiences are quickly amplified on social media, which will damage your brand and staff confidence.

#4 Single v Phased Rollouts

Our experience when deploying kiosks is that a phased approach allows both staff and customers to become familiar with the unit.

Setup a pilot phase, then deploy, and follow with a full-scale rollout.

#5 Identify Demand

In some cases, self-service might not be a good fit. Before you invest in a large-scale deployment, check if customer demand will justify the cost. Don’t presume you know what customers want. What they say they want, and what they actually use could be different.

Ask customers what they expect from you; provide examples of planned offerings to ensure you’re on the right track.

#6 Forgetting the Customer

Finally, the one mistake you can’t afford to make – ignore the customer.

When developing a self-service kiosk, it’s easy to get wrapped up in seeing things from your point of view.

  • What transactions does it offer?
  • How much does it cost?
  • Does it integrate with the POS?

Step back and look at the kiosk from your customer’s perspective.

  • Does it make their life easier?
  • Are transactions quicker?
  • Are messages friendly and easy to understand?

After you’ve implemented the solution look for ways to get user feedback, in particular from customers who may be resistant to change or nervous with technology.

Encourage them to share what’s easy to use, where improvements could be made, and other factors which may have been overlooked.

Summary

By considering customer needs when designing the self-service kiosk, you’ll encounter less resistance while also ensuring faster adoption rates.

Before you commit to rolling out self-service kiosks, chose a partner that can provide direction, tools, and support.

As a total solutions provider to the Postal industry, Escher has three decades of experience in deploying kiosk solutions. Get in touch today.

 

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