If you’re reading this, you’re likely either planning a self-service program or about to start.
As you prepare, make sure your kiosks check all the boxes for user experience and operation. Here we detail five best kiosk practices that should be standard considerations for every project.
Interactive kiosks are often recognized for the multiple advantages they provide their users, like convenience, privacy, and ease of use. However, companies that employ self-service realize many benefits, too, including the ability to collect data.
In short, kiosks capture a wide range of analytics about customer behavior, product sales, and kiosk usage. With this information, businesses can measure everything from loyalty program sign-ups to the popularity of a product—and anything in between.
These data then enable companies to make quick adjustments when needed. For instance, if a kiosk shows fewer transactions than surrounding units, it can signal bad placement at a location. Even analyzing something as simple as back button clicks can indicate customer confusion on certain screens, giving the business a chance to better clarify instructions or information.
Pilot programs are an ideal time to assess this functionality and flow. Frank Mayer kiosk specialist Edward Roberto agrees.
With custom kiosk solutions, prototypes and pilot programs are certainly the norm for new deployments,” he states. “And during these pilots, organizations should be asking themselves what they can evaluate beyond just the metrics of if the kiosk works.
Furthermore, acquiring these figures can easily be done remotely, which is important for kiosk programs that span multiple locations and regions. Gaining important insights about the kiosk user experience at a convenient central location means data are streamlined and decisions amongst various departments can be made using real-time results.
When it comes to best kiosk practices, integrating responsive interactive cues is key. Examples of these cues include button click sounds or progress bars to signify to a kiosk user their touch or selection was registered.
“A responsive kiosk user interface is a crucial component of developing a kiosk application that’s a pleasure for your customers to use,” says Andrew Savala, COO of Bixly, a custom web and mobile app development company. “If your kiosk’s user interface appears sluggish, you can expect your customers will opt for interacting with a cashier, which defeats the purpose of having a self-service kiosk.”
Responsive cues are essential to eliminate confusion. During a transaction, specifically, customers expect indications the kiosk is processing their payment. Without this, businesses run the risk of the user re-clicking a submit button or canceling a payment while in progress.
Sometimes preliminary processing is necessary when a kiosk application is first run or a new user session begins. In this case, says Savala, kiosks can utilize a splash screen where the application can perform any initial caching or processing.
“This preliminary processing avoids performing these operations while the user is trying to interact with the kiosk and ensures the user interface stays responsive,” he says. “During this splash screen, the user might see a popup window with a message stating their session is being prepared and some animation indicating the kiosk application is loading.”
Interactive cues aren’t only reserved for software, though. Hardware can also guide users to the next steps. This includes things like LED lights that surround a card reader or indicator lights on a cash acceptor that prompt people to pay.
In the end, the best kiosk solutions will always consider how to perfect the customer experience—and sometimes those strategies can be as simple as the sound of a button click.
When deploying kiosks to multiple environments, remote access can troubleshoot issues if they arise. Reviewing the system health, changing kiosk content over the air, and addressing issues quickly are all advantages of remote entry.
Often, matters that require remote assistance are content-related, whether it’s an update to a product line or adding new information. Even larger issues, though, can be addressed quickly because of remote monitoring.
“Some statistics show about 18 percent of all kiosks in a retail environment aren’t working properly,” says Bob Gatta, CEO of Data Display Systems LLC, a company that provides clients with value through its unique end-to-end ability to design and manufacture electronic hardware and couple these custom products with its in-house software expertise. “With a remotely managed kiosk, the brand knows if the kiosk is offline and can take immediate action to correct the situation.”
If kiosks are still connected, remotely rebooting the system can frequently help solve the issue. However, alerts can be set up to automatically email or text team members if kiosks go offline.
One of the most important features is simply knowing the moment a kiosk is offline, which enables someone to proactively contact the store location to troubleshoot a problem,” says Gatta. “Fixing the problem over the phone saves the cost of providing third party labor and increases the kiosk uptime.
He adds, “Even if the problem is not able to be fixed via phone, relaying information to a third party quickly can decrease the amount of time required for any kiosk repair.”
Remote monitoring and maintenance solutions should be high on the list when evaluating a kiosk program’s needs.
It’s always preferred to hardwire a kiosk to a network, but it’s not always an option for every budget or location. In that instance, many companies default to using Wi-Fi.
While Wi-Fi is a reasonable solution, many issues can arise from solely depending on wireless for connectivity. Too many devices on one network can cause a lag from a weak Wi-Fi signal while outages can force a site’s kiosks offline.
The lesson here? Have a backup.
“Using Wi-Fi is more cost-effective because hardwiring typically requires more material and man-hours for installation. Sometimes older buildings make it nearly impossible to hardwire anyway,” says Roberto. “But having a standby ensures your kiosks are always functioning.”
Cell modems have become more common and are a great plan B for Wi-Fi-powered kiosks, especially those that are critical and can’t afford to go down.
Traditionally, it was difficult to source a cell carrier for this because different carriers had varying degrees of coverage depending on the location – a challenge when considering it for a kiosk program that spanned the nation.
Now, though, there are companies that provide kiosk-specific, multi-carrier solutions for 5G.
“With network connectivity options getting exponentially better at such a low marginal cost, ensuring your kiosk is always connected just makes sense,” Roberto claims.
There’s a reason self-service kiosks are so popular in industries like QSR. Suggesting a dessert or prompting an upgrade to a value meal equates to a substantial increase in ticket size. Widely reported data show fast-food ticket sizes can be as high as 25 percent more in this sector thanks to a variety of reasons that include cross-selling and upselling.
But these solutions aren’t limited to the QSR space.
“Smart kiosk software will identify areas in the customer journey where a product add-on or an upgrade recommendation can increase an order size,” Roberto shares. “Beyond QSRs, industries like retail, hospitality, and cannabis can see extra revenue from employing cross-selling and upselling strategies.”
Whether guests are adding a spa package to their hotel stay or signing up for a loyalty program before checkout, responsive software adds to the kiosk user experience and can benefit a business’ bottom line.
A kiosk program can require a lot of planning, from the high-level aspects like design and function to the nitty-gritty components like software and hardware. Together with a reputable kiosk manufacturer, our list of best kiosk practices will set your next kiosk campaign up for success.
We’ve been a trusted name in kiosks for decades, designing, engineering, and manufacturing self-service solutions for brand names both large and small. Explore our standard line of kiosks for a quick-to-market solution, or learn about our custom kiosk option if you’d like something tailor-made to your specifications.