Over the past few weeks, we’ve discussed the many additional benefits that can be realized by utilizing self-service kiosks in many different environments — especially those that would be most affected by government-mandated minimum wage increases. This week, we’ll take a look at the downsides of kiosk deployment, and demonstrate how smart advance planning can help eliminate some of the typical pitfalls we’ve run into over the years. Self-service kiosks have existed in different forms for decades. Some of the earliest adopters of this type of technology were banks, and many still remember the excitement that Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) caused when they were first rolled out en masse. Never again having to stand in line to withdraw your own money and 24/7 access to boot? Brilliant! Seems like an obvious thing now, of course — ATMs are ubiquitous, with an 350,000 machines in use in the U.S. alone. This demonstrates just how quickly self-service kiosks can catch on; but the key to success is to be sure that the product is solving a problem not just for the company deploying it, but for the customer as well.Speaking of problems, when a client comes to us to discuss their kiosk needs, an issue that’s often raised is the cost of managing and maintaining the machines once they are deployed. Truthfully, it’s a valid concern. When self-service kiosks first became popular, they were notorious for being expensive and difficult to service; however, the dawn of the Internet Age changed all that as it enabled remote kiosk management. It’s important to note that although the Internet enables remote management, it’s not the primary consideration. What’s most important is designing or selecting the right software for inclusion in the kiosk. New developments in this area have made it possible to create a kiosk that’s practically maintenance free. For the most part, gone are the days of expensive repairs and frequent crashes. Simply understanding what type of software will work best in the machine and its environment and then making a well-informed choice is often all it takes to ensure a successful kiosk program, instead of a very expensive disaster. Great kiosk software also makes kiosks an excellent source of customer data. The ability to keep track of customer data, from purchases and shopping behavior to patterns of usability, gives companies the chance to fine-tune product offerings and marketing messages, as well as easily and conveniently capture consumer questions and comments when relevant. Finally, we come to the most important factor, and that’s setting appropriate, specific goals for your kiosk program at the very start of the concepting process — long before it ever deploys. This means having a clear understanding of the consumer you wish to serve, being unafraid to ask questions, and being absolutely certain what it is you want your self-serve kiosk to do. Failure to do adequate research and spend sufficient time on this aspect of kiosk development is likely the most common reason we hear that a program has failed. Want to know more about how RedyRef, a provider of vertically integrated kiosk solutions, helps businesses stay competitive, lean and agile in an increasingly global marketplace? Simply submit a request for proposal online or call (800) 628-3603 today for more information.