Automation is a growing trend in business. Nowadays, there’s a way to automate almost every task and job. With labor shortages and increasing market demand, the front desk is especially an area that businesses are considering automating fully with self-service kiosks.
Automated kiosks can check in guests like human receptionists, right? So you would think an automated kiosk could run your front desk just as well. But in practice, it’s not really the case. If you’re considering self-service kiosks to run your front desk operations, here are four limitations to consider before making the switch.
Lacking the human touch
At best, automated kiosks are tools that customers use to check in and make minor changes to their reservation or appointment. Technically speaking, this makes kiosks sufficient in enabling the check-in process. However, part of the check-in process is the personal touch which makes customers feel welcome at your business.
The personal touch is critical because it fosters a strong positive relationship with customers. Besides uplifting the customer experience, it also makes them want to return to your business.
Kiosks inherently lack the personal touch because they’re machines, without a live, smiling face. They’re unable to greet and have a positive, welcoming conversation with your customers in a favorable, friendly tone. Even when you design the interface of your kiosk to be appealing to customers, it can never match the warmth of an actual human.
Self-service kiosks are also unable to handle upset customers. Kiosks cannot process other peoples’ emotions and come up with an effective way to ease their concerns. Having “Apologies for the inconvenience” on a screen can do little to calm them down.
Consequently, the department involved in managing the customer experience will have to deal with the stress of calming down the customer.
Unable to Upsell
Self-service kiosks operate solely on the customers’ inputs on their screens. They’re unable to have a deep understanding of the situation of each customer. Customer perception is vital in identifying and relaying upselling opportunities.
Besides identifying the right time to upsell, self-serve kiosks cannot persuasively promote new or related products in a dynamic way. Moreover, they cannot develop insights into what customers may want that your company may offer. This can lead to your loss of opportunities to build even stronger customer relationships or increase revenue.
Struggles with complex interactions
Self-service kiosks operate on a fixed set of programming that covers the most basic interactions. However, they have very limited capabilities in dealing with complex interactions, which is one of the vital components of a front desk.
For instance, automated kiosks are unable to solve non-standard issues like complex scheduling, special requests, or one-off questions.
With customer queries, self-service kiosks can answer only a specific set of questions in its database. They can be insufficient in satisfying customers with unique questions or queries that go beyond what the kiosk’s programming can handle.
Automated kiosks also cannot change workflow quickly to meet the demands of a shift. You have to spend time upgrading the software to make up for these limitations. In contrast, receptionists can improve on the fly after giving them feedback or sharing new protocols.
Limited ease of use
While touchscreen technology is already ubiquitous, people are usually more familiar with talking to a human receptionist for checking in. Having a self-service kiosk in place often has a learning curve that your customers have to go through just to complete the check-in process.
This is a learning curve that not everyone appreciates, as some customers are non-technically inclined or prefer human interaction.
The most affected customers, however, are the elderly and disabled. The elderly may have difficulty understanding what the kiosk is instructing them to do, let alone navigating through the interface. Nor can self-service kiosks help persons with disabilities who may struggle with inputting information in intake forms.
In contrast, human receptionists provide a social experience that’s far more familiar to everyone, especially the elderly and non-technically inclined. They can also adjust to the needs of the disabled and make it easier for them to check in. For example, visually impaired visitors can speak with receptionists for guidance. For those who are physically incapable of inputting information into the intake forms, a receptionist can do it on their behalf. Self-service kiosks have major drawbacks, especially in terms of the customer experience. If you want to maintain your current human front desk while integrating technology for convenience and efficiency, consider using a virtual receptionist service like WelcomeWare.
Choose the right platform for your front desk
WelcomeWare enables your receptionists to attend your front desk remotely