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CETW: Award-winning self-service experts share tips for success

Integration was the buzz word during Customer Engagement Technology World's panel, "Reaching Consumers in Today's Self-Service Marketplace."

Bart Foster, CEO of SoloHealth, and Jared Miller, managing director of Self-Service & Emerging Technology for United Airlines, gave advice on how retailers can market to customers by combining mobile, digital signage and kiosks. Both men took home top honors from the Digital Screenmedia Association for their successful business models, which combine technology to engage consumers.

Foster describes it as the "Point of Interaction."

"We say that because if it's local, mobile, in store, it's relevant and it's contextual – that's what's gonna engage consumers," said Foster, whose SoloHealth Station designed for the retail setting allows consumers to screen their vision, blood pressure, weight, and body mass index, won Best Health Care Deployment this week. "It's not just one touchpoint, it's not just an email; it's not just a kiosk; it's not just a digital signage. It's all those melded together from an interaction standpoint, and you want those multiple touchpoints."

Foster said that very aspect is one reason Solohealth has been successful getting financial backing from big names, including Coinstar. Foster's already rolled out 100 machines, butn plans are in the works for 4,600 more in the next 18 months.

Foster said the company's ad model is multi-channel supported, which gives retailers multiple entry points to consumers. It collects consumer demographics, emails them test results, allows them to set up accounts to track results over time and access a database of local doctors. Doctors pay to be in the database, the retailers pay to host the machines and can use digital signage for branding.

"So, it's not just the digital signage, but it's the interactive experience from the kiosk, it's the mobile application and sending people to the website, capturing their email address, so now when we go to a brand, we can tell them we know something about the (consumer's) age, race and medical background," he said

That allows for targeting marketing, which is king for retailers.

"Because of that, the value proposition has been strong enough that we're getting fairly large companies to do charter sponsorships because they want their brands in front of the right people at the point of interaction, which is right in retail," Foster said. "And because we're six feet away from the products they want you to buy it becomes fairly important."

Miller, who DSA named as Industry Deployer of the Year for his work in helping United Airlines to adopt numerous self-service technologies, said offering services in a variety of channels has helped the airline meet customer needs. For example, travelers can check in at front desks, via kiosks, the Internet at home or their mobile phones. In fact, the airline was the first to offer the mobile check in and has just passed 10 million check-ins via phone.

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