Self-service systems are becoming more and more popular and finding their way into more and more commercial businesses around the world. The essential idea of these systems is to provide customers and clients with a way that they can serve themselves - by buying products or by getting information/checking in without actually having to speak to any members of staff working on the site.
This then has a large number of advantages not only for the business but also for the customers. For the customers it means that they can more quickly get in and out of the store, which means in turn that they waste less of their day waiting to be served and that they can buy items without making conversation if they don't want to.
At the same time self- service is highly useful for the business because it increases 'turnover' meaning your business can serve more people more quickly and that in turn of course means you make more profit by getting more people hand over their money in a short space of time. Of course this also means that you can hire fewer members of staff too and all this should also reflect well on your company's reputation.
Getting it Right
Of course this all only works though if you make sure that you get it right and if you make sure that your self-service machines are efficient and aren't going to break down on your customers which can be highly frustrating and potentially cause erroneous transactions.
At the same time you also need to make sure of several others things - for instance you need to make sure that your system is easy to use and that means not only for people who are used to working with computers and who are adept at operating systems, but also those who won't have much experience in this area. Windows-based OS solutions here have the advantage of being recognizable by everyone, but Apple and iPod based solutions are also popular seeing as they have such a minimal and intuitive touch interface and large crisp graphics which are useful for those with visual difficulties. Of course you might use a custom UI, but in this case it's still important then to make sure that you use graphics that are clear and easy to read and a navigation that is intuitive as possible - you need your users to know precisely where to click without any questions.
It's important that this also have restrictions to prevent your users from changing settings or browsing the web as otherwise this could confuse the next person to use your service (and potentially get your company into trouble depending on what they want to use it for). Another consideration is how you are going to catch errors and this can help you to provide a better customer service. Of course preventing the errors all together, or displaying a polite and helpful message can help - but failing this you should ensure that a member of staff is called.
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Alfred Chad works at Neo Products, for more information about their products and services click here
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