When you think about government agencies, you probably imagine long lines, unhelpful tellers and a significant amount of red tape. In a previous story, I mentioned how my father passed out in a DMV line due to the intense heat. However, it doesn't have to be this way, and U.S. government agencies are attempting to improve customer experience with self-service kiosks. Let's take a look at three key examples.
Reducing lines and improving security
Many DMV branches have begun to deploy self-service kiosks for users to perform several tasks. For example, at the Ohio DMV,drivers can use the kiosk to print out license registration stickers. In addition, Fayetteville, North Carolina uses kiosks to allow drivers to renew their driver's licenses and ID cards. By diverting traffic to these kiosks, front desk workers can handle more complex problems and reduce the lines. In addition, it also helps free up the workload of security staff. "These kiosks free up security staff to perform their primary duty instead of directing visitor traffic and being the default information booth," said Chris Paul, account executive at RedyRef Interactive Kiosks.
Providing pertinent information
Amber alerts are certainly serious occasions where the community needs to get the accurate information to possibly save lives. Information kiosks can offer updated information from centralized gathering places in communities. For example, Santa Rosa County, Florida has deployed information kiosks that display images and text about amber alerts and active fugitives. As a less serious example, kiosks can also be used to display tourist information and allow local businesses to advertise their services. "Kiosks can provide accurate, up to date information in multiple languages with text, video, and photographs to visitors in a timely manner," Paul said.
Provide bill payments and government tests
Bill payment kiosks, as mentioned before, can help reduce lines at government agencies. However, they can also be placed at retailers off site, which has a positive effect for both retailers and customers. Customers can get important tasks done such as paying appliance bills, and retailers will benefit from the additional time customers spend in the store. "Kiosks can also assist bill payers by automatically emailing a receipt or forwarding the payment information to a particular end use," said Laura Miller, director of marketing at KioWare Kiosk Software.
In addition, some state governments are using kiosks to help citizens perform certain necessary tests. For example, in Maryland, residents have to bring in their cars for emission tests. If their car fails the test, they may lose their license and car registration. Maryland is making this task easier by deploying a self-service kiosk that allows users to plug in an On-Board Diagnostics test deviceinto their vehicle's diagnostic computer. The process is designed to take five to 10 minutes and only cost $14
Government agencies can get a bad reputation for bad service and slow wait times. However, with self-service kiosks, it can create a good interactive customer experience. However, just like with retail kiosks, manufacturers and agencies need to keep in mind the do's and don'ts. If the touchscreen is inaccurate or customers can't find the kiosk, it loses its ability to deliver a useful self-service solution.
/ Bradley Cooper is a Technology Editor for DigitalSignageToday.com. His background is in information technology, advertising, and writing.