Economy of action: The No. 1 consideration before a self-service deployment
My last blog detailed a poorly developed kiosk solution that was in an Ann Taylor retail store, and it got me thinking about some of the main considerations organizations should think through before implementing interactive projects.
Too often, self-service solutions are an afterthought, used more for aesthetic purposes than for practicality — "If it looks pretty then people will like it." Before interactive technology reached the ubiquitous status it now holds in most people's pockets, this mantra may have been true.
With all of the access we as a society have to cutting edge technology, a self-service solution needs to provide something more than a novelty. More importantly, it has to work. With that in mind, I thought of number one thing organizations should consider before even discussing the finer points of how to do a proper rollout of a self-service solution.
The number one consideration is economy of action. In other words, is a self-service solution providing a quicker, more efficient way of performing an action than other methods? That is the main function of any successful self-service solution. I use self-checkout kiosks in retail stores if it helps me leave the store more quickly. If there's a line, and it's quicker to check out via a traditional cashier, then I'm not using the kiosk solution. It's a very practical thought process in my head. I'm not worried about the aesthetic of the kiosk; I just want leave the store faster.
If a self-service solution cannot provide the requisite efficiency, then you have to ask yourself; why have a self-service network at all? In the end it will become a novelty that people use once and not come back to.
Take some time to address the question of efficiency and it might become apparent that maybe the problem you originally intended to solve doesn't need a self-service solution. Going through this thought process might even shed light on another aspect of your business where self-service solutions would be a better fit.
Michael Ionescu Since 2004, Ionescu has built a proprietary software/hardware package for state tourism and hotels. Ionescu believes successful kiosk networks are built upon ongoing collaboration between the client and provider to develop flexible systems that clients and users are happy with for years. www