Digital kiosk software - what makes the difference
Digital kiosk is a sophisticated tool to deliver a truly omnichannel HoReCa experience. But, how do you determine if the device will be as good for your business as it claims to be?
After a long run of catching the subtle essence of the modern customer service, the omnichannel has transformed from being a broad buzzword to a narrow term referring to the real way of doing business. To put it simply,, omnichannel is founded on delivering a comprehensive and consistent experience on all channels available.
In the traditional way, channels are divided into the online and offline ones. In the offline world, there are brick-and-mortar stores or are located in shopping malls. Apart from the location, there are not many variables to take into account - usually the interior of the restaurants are the same as is the customer service process.
On the other hand, with a plethora of online channels, companies struggle to deliver a consistent brand experience. However the prey is worth the game.
According to Aspect Software data, businesses with great omnichannel experiences witness up to 91% better customer retention than companies that don’t deliver a consistent experience. Also, PwC (former PricewaterhouseCoopers) imply that by 2020 there will be the need for a nearly perfect omnichannel experience.
On the other hand, delivering an omnichannel experience is far from easy. According to the Accenture data, 89% of customers get frustrated with the need to repeat information during correspondence with the multiple representatives - on Facebook, via email, during a phone call or in the store. What is usually overlooked is the omnichannel’s potential to reduce offline flaws by applying innovative ways of solving problems. That’s basically what a kiosk designed for.
Omnichannel digital kiosk
When thinking about restaurants and cafes, the greatest challenge lies in delivering both the experience and the product offline. Although it is common to order food online, it is impossible to serve it that way. Also location is key to fulfilling the customers needs. An elegant restaurant serves a different purpose than the fast food outlet or cafeteria near a railway station.
So when it comes to delivering the omnichannel experience in the HoReCa industry, it is not only about reaching the customer in the online world. Rather it is about delivering online tools to reduce offline drawbacks. For example:
- Starbucks processes coffee orders in their mobile app or mobile web page, so the customer doesn't need to wait in a queue. They just drop in and grab their hot beverage, only interacting with a good user interface.
- Companies like KFC use interactive kiosks to process orders from customers in the restaurant, effectively tackling queues and reducing frustration.
- Shopping malls offer both mobile apps and free standing interactive digital kiosks that combine the food offers to enhance the experience and provide the meals faster. Online apps are usually designed to serve the customers placed out of the shopping mall, while the kiosk aims to process the orders from customers on-site who cannot decide which meal to eat.
- Last but not least, it will become increasingly popular to deliver an outdoor kiosk to further blend the online and offline world and deliver a better user experience when ordering meals on-the-go.
Digital kiosk in the restaurant
Digital kiosk is a powerful tool for any restaurant and fast food outlet, as it serves multiple purposes and fulfills multiple needs. In the simplest version it collects the orders and lets the restaurant process it. A more sophisticated device can process the payment with the integrated POS or connect with the loyalty program to get a more detailed view of the customer. However that’s not all.
Delivering the wow factor both for the customer and the restaurant is based solely on the addons and the flexibility of the software powering the kiosk. A good solution delivers:
- Seamless integration with other systems - the age of manual data management and countless hours of making the order in the system are far behind us. By delivering an API or a modern, open architecture, companies can (or at least should be able to) integrate any new device into the existing system. However, even with the simplest type of a kiosk with less sophisticated software that’s not a piece of cake.
- Data gathering and analytics - contrary to human staff, a kiosk gathers and stores all the interactions with the clients. Also, it can deliver the data in an ordered and actionable form, ready for use with the analytics platform. A kiosk can check which buttons are clicked most frequently, how a given type of promotion is resonating with the audience or which types of food are most popular in a given hour. A talented analyst with a good platform (especially supported by an AI model) can harvest an enormous amount of insight from the data gathered by kiosks.
- Supporting multiple scenarios of promotion - every business is unique, yet there are repetitive scenarios seen in many companies that offer different products and services. Thus, it is convenient to find ready-to-go promotions to use in a digital kiosks. Also, delivered sample campaigns enable the company to source from the experiences of others and find inspiration in various ways of promotion one could not even think about.
- Easy new scenario creation - on the other hand, being different was always a way to stand out of the crowd. Thus, the kiosk needs to be ready to deliver the tools to build new ways to serve the customer. It can be about delivering a product presentation as a video or a 3D model, innovative ways to combine products or basically anything a company can invent to attract new customers. Delivering limiting software with no way to come up with something new is the best way to be stuck on a “mediocre” level.
- Cooperation with the existing systems (the other way around) - a truly sophisticated and flexible kiosk is not only a tool to be integrated with the system and to send orders to the POS or kitchen display. The key is to enable the device to communicate two-ways, not only to send information, but also to receive it. A company may need to use ad-hoc promotions based on the weather or an event (Los Angeles Lakers did it! A free rooster for winners!). A restaurant may need to dynamically adjust the menu based on the time or queues. A need to manually adjust the information in the kiosk would hamper the whole idea of q dynamic and agile way of doing business.
A digital signage kiosk is a heavy duty electronic device packed into a sleek design. A bold crossover between a Porsche and a Tank (fun fact - there WAS one and it was good). Customers are rarely gentle and delicate - they punch the device, sometimes spill a drink on it, touch it with dirty hands and so on. Thus, good hardware for a kiosk stands for half of a success