According to recent market research analysis, self-service technology examples will account for around £25 billion of the global economy within the next few years. This statistic, alone, shows you just how much such technology has become the norm. Those businesses which are not embracing the power of automation in self-service are missing out on what could be a distinct competitive edge for others in your sector.
Of course, not all self-service technology examples have a place in every industry. That said, every public-facing sector of the economy has found multiple uses for the sort of self-service technology examples you will see listed below. If you want to find out more about the sort of innovation that is going on in the field of self-service and automation, then read on.
1. Automatic Telling Machines
Better known to many as cash machines, automatic telling machines (ATMs) are an established form of self-service technology which the general public has become used to using on a daily basis. In fact, ATMs constitute one of the best known self-service technology examples of any kind. The first one was introduced into the UK as far back as 1967.
These days, they are not simply restricted to bank branches where they can be maintained and loaded up bank staff. For example, you will find mobile ATMs which are installed in fields during the music festival season, relying on high-tech wireless data communications to check balances and allow access to funds. ATMs are remarkable in the sense that they provide access to something consumers value very highly – cash – and yet they are afforded an incredible level of trust. Few other types of self-service technology are thought of as so unremarkable and every day that the public barely thinks of it for what it truly is – a highly complex, innovative and secure self-service system.
2. Self-Service Kiosks
Interactive kiosks are available in many different forms these days. As well as free-standing kiosks which can be used for a variety of purposes – such as providing directions or scheduling information, depending on how the user interacts with them – there are directory kiosks which can do a similar job after being installed into lecterns or service desks, for example.
These devices offer a great deal of versatility which can be as varied as you like. This is because they rely on a robust multi-touch screen technology which allows users to navigate to the information or service they require for themselves. All that is needed is the ability to program the software behind such kiosks and you can use them to issue tickets, provide sales information, access web-based service or order food. In short, these self-service kiosks provide all the services a range of different customer services officers could offer but from a single, cost-effective unit.
3. Supermarket Barcode Scanners
Supermarket managers and other retail store owners have been in the vanguard of taking up self-service technologies in their shops. The reason for this is clear – a significant amount of expenditure in the day-to-day costs of retailers is spent on customer service staffing. As soon as barcode scanning started to make retailers’ point of sale processes more efficient, they started to realise how they could become even more cost-effective if customers were given access to such technologies, too.
Now it is commonplace for shops to allow the customer to walk around a store, scanning the barcode of every product they pick up as they go. Not only does this mean customers don’t have to queue at the end of their shopping spree, but it means that fewer customer service staff are required to achieve the same level of turnover. The improved reliability of the equipment used today has been central to its take up among customers who, after all, are not trained in retail technology. These days, such technology is as intuitive to use as well designed smartphone app and often the preferred choice of shoppers.
4. Self-Service Online Banking Services
In the past, telephone banking services seemed like a panacea for the problems of the high street banking industry. Not only did telephone banking mean that customers did not have to queue for their entire lunch break to access straightforward banking services but it meant that they could obtain the sort of services they needed in the evening or at the weekend. It all meant speaking to someone, however.
The self-service version of telephone banking is, of course, online banking. More secure than it has ever been, self-service online banking puts the customer in charge of their finances, whether they want to alter standing order, make international payments or settle their bills. As a result of the success of such self-service automation, many people don’t even bother to head into their bank’s local branch any longer at all.
5. Booking Kiosks
All sorts of enterprises can make use of tablet booking systems that allow customers to make reservations and bookings. Any business that hires equipment or provides on-demand experiences needs some way to organise time slots and a tablet-based system which is mounted into a desk or a plinth provides a self-service option that does so while lowering day-to-day overheads. For example, increasing numbers of restaurateurs use them to allow customers to reserve a table or to choose what they want to eat, thereby helping front-of-house staff and kitchen workers to prepare accordingly.
Rather than being offered slots, customers can see instantly what is available using nothing more than a conventional tablet, helping them to feel that they are in charge of their own destiny rather than needing to take what’s on offer. Utterly flexible, such booking systems are a real example of the sort of relatively cheap self-service technology that can work for the benefit of independent commercial enterprises and customers alike.
V-Accelerator recognizes that not every business is the same and we offer various ways for successful applicants to partner with us. This could be as simple as having a meeting in our labs and giving advice, marketing the product, signing a collaboration agreement to solve a big problem, or connecting the Partner with investment funding. Interested? Why not get in touch with us today to learn more.