The Kiosk Economy

Airport Kiosks Do Nearly Everything but Check Luggage (Los Angeles Times)

KioskThe mantra of many companies over the last 20 or so years has been “customers are our number one concern.”  To show they mean what they chant, organizations have devoted millions of dollars in efforts to upgrade their customer service capabilities.  Case in point is self-service or “customer involvement” services, which encourage or in some situations require customers to perform services themselves.

 

Possibly the biggest benefactor of the self-service is the electronic kiosk industry.  Companies see kiosks as a way of shifting customer service activities away from company personnel and into the customers’ hands. While customers currently see the benefits in carrying out some of the activities themselves, customers may want to watch how well they do at adopting these activities.  If the ATM banking machines are used as an example, customers may someday see a cost imposed for carrying out their own activities through kiosks.  It is quite possible airlines and other companies will see the kiosk as not only a customer servicing device but also as a profit center by charging customers a usage fee.

In the future, kiosks may let passengers buy a meal on the plane or volunteer to give up a seat if a flight is overbooked, said Valerie Wunder, a spokeswoman for US Airways. “We are looking to enhance what the customer can do at the kiosk,” she said.

What retail industries appear to be laggards in adopting kiosks?

Image by Lukas

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