Increased investment in self-service solutions has created an even greater need for businesses and organizations to stand out and engage with their audience. Through our work, we have learned the best customer experience is a customized experience. Here are a few ways kiosk-specific applications help businesses engage with their audience, and in turn, increase ROI.
Integration with Kiosk Components
While the software platform will control everything from security to monitoring to integration, the kiosk application is designed specifically to interact with users and provide customized kiosk functionality. Businesses and organizations can choose to simply lockdown a specific webpage to act as their kiosk or digital signage content. However, an application allows control over the devices within the kiosk, like a printer or camera, and creates a more customized user experience.
A true software platform integrates with a software development kit (SDK), a set of software development tools used to create applications for the software platform. For example, a visitor check-in kiosk in the lobby of a government building may use a camera, VoIP phone, printer and scanner. All of these components are integrated into the software platform. Software platforms that offer an SDK will allow the company to develop their own application to determine how users interact with each of the components to successfully complete the check-in process. Or, it may allow developers to later build on an existing application, adding more components and functionality as different needs arise.
A software platform with an SDK gives businesses and organizations the opportunity to create a user experience in line with other marketing initiatives. Users appreciate an experience that matches their expectations. Businesses that leverage such technology also enhance and extend their brand in the process. Customers ordering food at a restaurant will expect the self-service kiosk to have the same look and feel as the in-store menus, online promotions, commercials, etc. When users’ expectations are met they will be more likely to engage with the kiosk again, increasing ROI.
The customer experience should be customized based on the audience and purpose of the self-service solution. For example, a student paying their tuition at a kiosk will want a different experience than a traveler buying a bus ticket at a station or a customer choosing their insurance policy. When building an application, it’s important to think about the user and what will make the experience most enjoyable. For example, larger buttons are easier to use on a touch screen and we recommend limited scrolling for ease of use and customer satisfaction. It
s also critical to collect user feedback by doing user testing; a pilot can provide a great platform to test an application in the field as well.
It's important to consider kiosk-specific applications when choosing a software platform. Once the kiosk hardware and software platform are chosen, the SDK can be used to create a kiosk application to create an exceptional customer experience. If you have a compelling business case that requires a self-service solution, deciding on software should be a primary consideration. In the end, the software application will be paramount in determining whether or not your business case will be compelling to those who engage with the kiosk. Customized software applications will enhance user experience; but what about off-the-shelf applications? We will dive into that question next time.
/ Chris Gilder, CEO and founder of Meridian Kiosks, brings more than 20 years of entrepreneurial successes to the senior management team. Meridian has been recognized as a leader in the self-service kiosk industry and an innovator with the development of the Self Service Technology Center in partnership with Intel, HP, Microsoft, Zebra Technologies and Storm.