How Different Industries are Leveraging Self Service Technology

Self Service Technology

Ever since the pandemic began, self service has been on the forefront of service delivery innovation. This was because it answered all of the questions businesses had at the time. It allowed businesses to remain operational amidst lockdowns and outside of standard operational hours. Self service was also received very well by customers that used the technology. In this blog, you will know How Different Industries are Leveraging Self Service Technology.

QSR Pioneered Self Service

Self service technology initially became popular in the quick service restaurant (QSR) industry to reduce stress on waiting staff and optimize flow of customers through the restaurant. Self ordering kiosks in restaurants were very successful, so much so that McDonald’s decided to introduce the technology nationwide in the US and many other countries.

Seeing this success, the technology spilled over slowly into other industries as well such as Telecom and Banking where self service was used as a secondary channel for service delivery. However self service didn’t really boom until after the first wave of the pandemic where many businesses were shut and only those that had invested in alternate delivery channels were able to serve customers.

From Secondary to Primary

People observed this and after the first wave many industries invested heavily into self service technology and alternate delivery channels such as online stores. Suddenly, self service kiosks became a primary channel for service delivery; just as important as having physical stores and service centers. Most notably, the QSR, retail, telecommunications and banking industries cashed in on the self service hype.

Banks and Self Service

Banks have had self service for decades now; yes, I’m talking about the ATM. However, the ATM hasn’t seen any real innovation or advancement in recent years. The technology is sound and does what it needs to. It operates 24/7 outside banks, in public locations, and dispenses cash reliably. Drawing off the success of the ATM, banks wanted to offer more of their services outside standard operating hours.

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So they introduced cash deposit and cheque deposit kiosks. Cash & cheque deposits and cash handling take up the majority of the time of tellers at bank branches and can be very tedious tasks. This also causes long queues and extended customer wait times within branches. So, it was a no-brainer to automate these tasks and offer them 24/7 as well since many aren’t able to visit banks inside office hours.

Telecom Service Providers

The telecom industry was another early adopter of self service. In regions with high volume of prepaid customers and massive mobile money networks, trips to telecom service centers or telecom agent stores are frequent, be it for a SIM card, a tariff change or mobile wallet top up. These regions include Sub-Saharan Africa, a huge chunk of Asia and the Middle East among many others.

Famous locations for tourists also see a lot of prepaid SIM usage as travelers prefer temporary one time cellular plans. To service this huge market of telecom customers, SIM dispensing kiosks were introduced. These kiosks are able to register new customers with full KYC capabilities and dispense new and replacement SIM cards. They can also provide mobile money services such as mobile wallet top ups, transfers and bill payments.

These free standing kiosks have large touchscreens and can accept payment via cash, card or mobile wallet. They can be found in public locations like malls and shopping centers or outside your telecom provider’s service center. However, unlike the service center, the kiosks can operate and provide services to customers 24/7.

Retail Automation

After COVID-19 hit, retail establishments were having a real hard time as retail involves interaction with different surfaces & employees, as well as exchanges of cash and cards. This made the retail experience a huge hazard with a high chance of catching or spreading the virus. Many strict SOPs were imposed on such stores such as the use of masks, social distancing, frequent sanitizing, temperature checks and so on.

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self service technology

Self checkout technology isn’t a recent innovation by any means but it became very popular and caught on all over the world during the pandemic. It became very necessary in some regions and customers started preferring this way of checking out their groceries or goods. Large department stores were quick to implement self checkout systems and aisles with smaller retail establishments following.

QSR Industry

The quick service restaurant industry has been using self service for a few years now in the form of self ordering kiosks, ordering tablets and salad bars too. However, the emphasis on this technology grew significantly when restaurants reopened after the first lockdowns. If restaurants already had self ordering kiosks, they installed more.

self service technology

McDonald’s already had the largest deployment of restaurant self service so they invested money into improving their existing technology and making it more accessible by including braille labeling on buttons and adding the screen magnifying feature to name a few. It’s safe to say that these accessibility features will probably trickle down to most self-service technologies with time.

Customers Expect Self Service

It has been nearly two years since the first wave of this global health crisis and most major industries have implemented some form of self service or an alternate delivery channel. Consequently, people have started using self service so much that they now expect self service options when they go out for groceries, for shopping, to their banks, when dining out or even when ordering in.

Offering an omni channel experience with self service technology has become a necessary installation in the service delivery strategy of most businesses as it heavily influences customer purchase decisions. Without self service and ADCs, businesses can’t compete anymore so it wouldn’t be a surprise if we saw self service technology be implemented in more industries with time.


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