Self-serve V Human.
In 2009 Tesco announced the opening of the UK’s first “self-service only” store! Obviously there is still a degree of human interaction, for example, if you have simply no idea where the microwave dinners are. Is this automated self-service really the way forward? Human interaction seems to be becoming increasingly mythical, people would much rather catch-up over text than over coffee. This is not helped by most people having all of their friends in their pocket just a Text, Tweet or Facebook Message away.
We are complaining about technological advances, far from it! All we are doing is highlighting that human interaction is part of life and is something not to be avoided. The vast majority of people would much rather purchase something from a friendly face as apposed to a nameless cold machine. When you provide a service or a product your point of sale is key to your brand image, herding your customers towards a self-service kiosk will surely just irritate them?
Supermarkets have stated the reason they are deploying the self-serve kiosks is to increase store efficiency and reduce queuing time. However it just seems to increase the wait time for the manned terminals making peoples perception of the queue far longer than it actually is. See MIT Website link (bottom of the page). The same can be said for self-service passport control in airports. The automated system is actually far less efficient, at this time, than the human counterpart. This Guardian article from 2012 (located at the bottom of the page) seems to suggest that technology like this needs more time in development.
Currently self-service is an unwanted item in the publics baggage area, however they are rapidly heading in the right direction. We at Qudini are all for customer service and efficiency. One day soon self-service kiosks will become the solution to improving the experience and decreasing waiting times in various types of crowd management scenarios. Hopefully this can happen without loosing the personal touch that excellent customer service requires.
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