Kiosk Marketplace defines a 'self-serve kiosk' to improve public understanding

| by Elliot Maras
Kiosk Marketplace defines a 'self-serve kiosk' to improve public understanding

Photo courtesy of iStock.

Need a handy definition of a "self-serve kiosk?" Kiosk Marketplace has one, based on reader input.

Readers were recently asked to select one of five suggested definitions in the interest of establishing a uniform definition. A uniform definition will improve public understanding of kiosks.

The Kiosk Marketplace definition of a self-serve kiosk is:

"An interactive, self-serve device provided by a venue, not the user, that helps the user do something that is informational and/or transactional that streamlines, automates or eliminates wait or cost."

Back in January, Kiosk Marketplace conducted a reader survey on customer understanding of self-serve kiosks and found that readers believe there is widespread misunderstanding of kiosk capabilities. In May, in another survey, Kiosk Marketplace asked readers to help create a definition after realizing there was a need for such a definition.

As technology creates new capabilities for self-serve kiosks, the industry will benefit from using terminology that facilitates communication with customers.   

The need to improve customer understanding dovetails with the challenge to identify and dialogue with new kiosk clients.

Five definitions proposed

In the May survey Kiosk Marketplace asked readers to vote for one of five proposed definitions. The five proposed definitions were developed using suggestions from several kiosk industry veterans.

The winning definition was the only definition that states the device is provided by the venue, not the user. More than 40 percent of the readers selected this definition, making it clearly the preferred choice.

The second and third selected definitions were more than 10 percentage points behind the top choice, and were only about five points apart from each other. Nearly 30 percent of the voters selected "An interactive device which allows users to initiate and/or conduct automated activities that would otherwise require on-site assistance," while 25 percent selected, "A self-serve, purposed device that is configured to allow users to securely interact with a website or application, conduct transactions or perform a particular task."

Less than 5 percent voted for "An interactive computer terminal that offers products and/or information," while none selected "A freestanding structure that holds a computer terminal and provides specific services, such as information and check in/checkout."

In the January reader survey the results indicated that a 68.6 percent majority of Kiosk Marketplace readers believe the general public and the audience the industry markets to do not sufficiently understand the term "kiosk."

Nearly half of the respondents (46.1 percent) in the survey said the problem is “marginally important” while 41.2 percent said it is "very important." The 102 respondents included kiosk operator/merchants, manufacturers, distributors/resellers and "others."

As new functionalities enter the market, many kiosk providers believe customers need to be better educated about what kiosks can do. While kiosk providers don't expect a term to communicate everything about a product's capabilities, many believe new functionalities call for a better definition.


Topics: Communications, Customer Experience

Elliot Maras

Elliot Maras is the editor of and

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