Category Archives: Self-service kiosks

Driving BLUE to Orlando HIMSS 2017

Mike Masone - Sales Director, SlabbKiosks

Mike Masone – Sales Director, SlabbKiosks

This article was originally published on LinkedIn

BLUE CAR EFFECT – “the phenomenon by which you don’t notice how many blue cars are on the road until you buy a blue car yourself.

I felt a shift this year at HIMSS.

Instead of: “WOW AWESOME – how does it work”; I heard: “This is the way forward.” Even at our booth, we got a lot less “whats” and “whys” and more “hows” and “whens”.

The EMR silos are flattening – AllScripts and EPIC were further opening up their systems to third-party innovation. Meanwhile VMWare guest speakers were giving away simple security steps. Steps necessary to prevent you and your company from becoming one of the actors in their Tales of Security Failures . Lax data security policies and ‘normal’ human behavior present an open door for digital n’er do wells leading to much more than last years corn-crop the coming world of flattened silos.

Hertz CheckeredFlag Collection

Hertz CheckeredFlag Collection

Blue Cars – Everything is different in a new car. We have built our own blue car. Self Service Group provides tools to support the growth and maintenance of Self Service deployments, in any industry. 80% of our customers had the same two requirements for growth:

  • No CapEx
  • No new Employees

From this: 5 Year Kiosk Project Cost = (~30K SW Development & Integration) + [($10K Hardware) +(~$1K delivery & Install)+(9%/yr-warranty)]+(1 FTE/200 kiosks) or ($187-48 hour service call)

To this: 5 Year Kiosk Project Cost = $325/kiosk/month

Here’s to the Gas Pedal!

Modern Solution to a Classical Problem

Mike Masone - Sales Director, SlabbKiosks

Mike Masone –      VP of Sales, SlabbKiosks

This article was originally published on LinkedIn.

I’m excitedly preparing for my yearly trip to a very particular and peculiar trade show. Although walking through a foot of snow on my way to Sunny Orlando is reason enough to get excited, there is something more important warming away the Massachusetts Winter Blues – Progress. Real, imagined, measurable, soft, perceived, counterproductive, beneficial and vaporous PROGRESS. Feeling this Progress every year is important to offset the tendency to over-notice repetition and squash the suspicion that my colleagues and I are kicking at continually moving goalposts.

I work in several verticals and nowhere is this sentiment more common than Healthcare. Healthcare is at the same time charged and constrained…kind of there to make money but not too much, too quickly, or too dirtily. It is an environment that lends itself to frustration.

Titan - Myth of Sisyphus

Titan – Myth of Sisyphus

Appreciation for futility is hard-coded into Western thought as illustrated by the myth of Sisyphus. The cunning, wealthy and proud Sisyphus, king of Corinth proclaimed himself more clever than Zeus. Never a big fan of boasts against his supremacy Zeus cursed (or ‘tasked’ to you corporate folk) King Sisyphus with pushing/rolling/carrying a giant boulder to the top of a hill. Of course, whenever the boulder got close the to the top Zeus would unleash a Don Beebe Bolt to knock the rock out of Sisyphus’s grasp whereby it would roll down the hill thereby granting the wise king an opportunity to perfect his boulder rolling technique on the next futile ascent and giving Zeus a hearty laugh. Anyone who has worked in healthcare knows the feeling of being granted such ‘opportunities’ for perfection.

HIMSS serves as a counter-weight to that feeling that every day starts from Zero and that rocks don’t belong on the summit. People…regular ones like you, me, and Sisyphus have an opportunity to showcase what was, what is, what could be, and more importantly, what SHOULD be in the Healthcare Industry.

Healthcare is really the only vertical that nobody avoids entirely. However you look at it, politically or wherever you look at it, geographically healthcare isn’t perfect. Sometimes it appears to strive for imperfection just like the fallible persons it serves have a tendency to do.

The bright side is that every day, in every way it’s getting better and better. Me and the other HIMSS exhibitors collect the gains over 365 of those better days and show them to the world. That is exciting.

himss17

SlabbKiosks is very excited to be participating at HIMSS17 for yet another year. Come learn more about our healthcare solutions. Visit us at Booth #4794.

Our Year of Kiosks 2016

2017 has started off with such a blast, that again, we’ve found ourselves late with our traditional Our Year of Kiosks blog for yet another year. But I promise it is with good reason and you’ll see the recap in Our Year in Kiosks 2017 blog, when that time comes. (*wink, wink)

OEM site - usakiosks.com

OEM site – usakiosks.com

Last year also started off in a similar vein, with the launch of another kind – our site dedicated to showcasing our OEM solutions – usakiosks.com. The site was launched in January and features some of our customized kiosk units that were designed for clients in various industries including automated retail solutions, self-checkout solutions, healthcare solutions, locker systems and much more. The creation of the site was in response to a new industry trend which has seen an increase of automated vending kiosks used as engagement touchpoints that either complement a company’s physical locations or completely replaces them. It is a relatively new niche in the kiosk market space that doesn’t necessarily replace the traditional kiosk but offers a blend of both kiosk and vending machine components, resulting in larger, multi-functional units for businesses/industries that require such self-service solutions.

X11 - Medical Self-service and Payment Kiosk

X11 – Medical Self-service and Payment Kiosk

One of our OEM solutions was also showcased at one of the largest healthcare tradeshows – HIMSS. The event was held in our own backyard – Las Vegas and brought together more than 40,000 healthcare industry professionals to learn about and discuss health IT issues and view innovative solutions designed to transform healthcare. It was our first time exhibiting at the event and we were happy to share the experience with our partners Crane Payment Innovations (CPI), Patientway and CityBase. We were also excited to introduce a first-of-its-kind medical self-service and payment kiosk, the X11. This kiosk allows patients to register/check in for appointments as well as submit co-payments or pay for medical visits, all at one machine. It is a move away from the norm of a healthcare kiosk that only provides self-check in services.

 

IngenicoThe provision of easy-to-use, convenient payment facilities, seemed to be one of our themes for the year, as we became a member of Ingenico Group’s Unattended Partner Program, allowing us to offer our customers EMV-enabled unattended payment devices. The demand for EMV-enabled devices has and continues to increase as the deadline to ensure EMV compliant payment systems was October, 2015, making operators and businesses liable for fraudulent activity after that date. The Program was designed to facilitate integration among partners allowing them to offer turnkey unattended solutions for a wide variety of uses with secure EMV and NFC payment acceptance built in. It is a great ‘fit’ for our company as it provides unparalleled support, by making in-house engineering and support personnel available to our customers, while allowing us to offer our clients the latest payment methods, including Apple Pay and Android Pay.

Many of the initiatives we introduced throughout the year were all in an effort to provide a wide range of options and services to our clients. These initiatives could only be supported by dedicated and experienced staff and we realized with our growing client base that we also needed to expand our team. We were happy to welcome Rick Kobal and Ron Graves to the SlabbKiosks family.

Rick worked with one of the largest component suppliers for the industry for the past five years before joining SlabbKiosks and acquired an in-depth understanding of the industry’s dynamics Presentation1including changes in end user requirements that have inevitably propelled hardware development. He has and continues to prove to be a great asset to the sales team.

Ron has extensive sales experience, gained from working in this field for the past fifteen (15) years. He is also no stranger to the kiosk industry, having spent five (5) years working with Fortune 500 clients, as well as, local, state, and federal government agencies to assess, deploy and manage their various kiosk projects. This provided him with in-depth knowledge of technological advances and new trends within the industry and has made his move to SlabbKiosks a natural fit.

It was not a bad way to end the year and judging from how this year is starting, we’re looking forward to letting you know about many other milestones in the SlabbKiosks journey.

Judicial Efficiency through the use of self-service kiosks

Our client, Minnesota’s largest trial court, was looking for replacement kiosks to be used as a part of their Public Defender Eligibility program. Here’s how we assisted…

Download the pdf: Judicial efficiency with self-service kiosks

SlabbKiosks Today

We wrote a blog about two years ago, giving a brief history about our company and some of the kiosk models we offer. Unbelievably, a lot has changed in just two years. We have re-branded (not too far from our original name), to SlabbKiosks and have since expanded our product line. Just these few changes made me realize that maybe it’s time we updated the blog to provide some more current information.

Some of our newer models

Since starting off as an internet-based kiosk retailer in 2002, we have continuously worked to offer the most effective hardware manufacturing and kiosk installation service in the market. We can now proudly say that after more than a decade, we are currently represented in six continents. We’ve worked with many clients in various industries including the government sectors, national universities and colleges, famous casinos, leading financial institutions and healthcare providers with a successful track record that guarantees the satisfaction of our corporate customers as well as the end users of our products. In a nutshell, it’s hard to believe, but we have achieved, 20 years of kiosk manufacturing for 1000s of clients in over 150 countries in 6 continents across 22 industries…

Here’s how it all adds up. Since getting into the kiosk industry, our company has continuously looked for ways to enhance our products and services, by offering the latest in technological advancements. We use high-quality components and create designs that are functional, attractive and that facilitate quick and efficient maintenance. Our production facilities allow us to provide highly customized, ADA-compliant kiosks within a 4-6-week lead time, one of the shortest lead times in the industry.

from website

Our kiosk line includes a variety of kiosk designs, interactive digital signage options and through our recently launched brand, USAkiosks – OEM kiosk solutions. Customers can choose from our extensive line of kiosk models and have them customized to suit their needs. Our models consist of:
• Freestanding
– C Series
– X Series
• Interactive Signage
• Outdoor
• Wall Mount
• Countertop

We offer our clients:
• Free quotes and renderings
• A choice of high quality, well-designed standard kiosk models or highly customized OEM units
• A collaborative consultation process that seamlessly takes clients from planning to production
• Dedicated production lines that facilitate mass customization
• No engineering charges
• Competitive pricing
• One of the shortest lead times in the industry
• On time delivery of fully operational units at client’s location of choice
• Experienced and responsive staff with over 40 years of combined experience in self-service.

Intrigued? Learn more at www.slabbkiosk.com.

A Few ABC’s of OEM Kiosks

“If you want to be truly successful invest in yourself to get the knowledge you need to find your unique factor. When you find it and focus on it and persevere your success will blossom.” Sydney Madwed.

 

I think the same can be said for business success as well – every organization should find their ‘unique factor’, focus on it and nurture it, in order to be successful. We’ve seen this work time and time again. Apple, Facebook, Amazon and so many more other successful companies. The common thread with them all is that each have a unique business proposition that they continue to improve on daily.

 

The same can apply to the kiosk industry. There is still definitely a need for standard models, but the success for businesses that utilize kiosks, is in how it is customized. It is an important factor to ensure that the kiosk not only achieves the goals of the business, but also the needs of the customers/end users of the kiosk. It’s one of the reasons that the industry is seeing a chage or a ‘merging’, so to speak, of the traditional kiosk with the traditional vending machine, resulting in unique units or what the industry terms as OEM kiosk solutions.

 

A recent article on KioskMarketplace.com, titled Vending kiosks: the latest trends cited “new kiosks [that] are offering products that range from cars to cannabis”. It’s considered new because many of these products were never sold via machines. This means that the kiosks being created to facilitate self-service sales must be uniquely designed to accommodate these products while ensuring that the kiosks can be easily used by consumers.

 

Self-Checkout OEM Kiosk

Self-Checkout OEM Kiosk

OEM or custom solution kiosks allow organizations to get a kiosk that is built to suit their specific requirements as opposed to a standard kiosk that is reconfigured as best as possible to perform specific functions. Because these designs are unique they often cost more than a standard kiosk. Despite this, many organizations choose to purchase custom solutions, because it ensures that it accommodates or delivers a specific product or service in a more convenient way. Most would agree that the unit ultimately pays for itself, as end users now have a self-service option to purchase products they never could via this means, before. It enhances their service experience, resulting in increased use of the unit.

 

Automated Vending Kiosk

Automated Vending Kiosk

We continue to see a few of these OEM units in the retail industry, so that traditional brick-and-mortar stores or online retailers can extend their physical presence at locations where a physical store might not have been feasible or cost effective such as at indoor shopping malls, airports and many other high-traffic locations. The accessibility of the units, coupled with the growing trend of customers embracing self-service technology, make these units a great alternative for many businesses.

 

ReduceReuseRecycle-Educational-1-220x300

Recycling Kiosk

The retail industry is not the only one adopting this new technology. Many educational facilities use units to provide printing facilities for students, or administrative management services coupled with wayfinding applications, allowing for a multi-purpose unit. The healthcare industry also uses wayfinding units that may also provide check in or registration services.

 

 

The beauty of these units is that they can be customized to provide locker systems or be placed outdoors, or for payment, printing or self-checkout services. They also incorporate many of the new technologies including EMV capabilities and biometric verification including fingerprint scans and signatures. The units allow businesses to use customized software or applications to provide precise functionality along with the appropriate components that ultimately will determine the size and dimensions of the kiosk. The financial investment and time taken to create these unique units may be substantial, making it extremely important for businesses to choose the right kiosk provider that is able to work collaboratively with them from concept to creation.

Tax Nexus – Everybody’s Elephant in the Room

Mike Masone - Sales Director, SlabbKiosks

Mike Masone –   Sales Director, SlabbKiosks

This article was originally published on LinkedIn.

Six years ago a huge online sales company had a plan where I would build kiosks for them to collocate in physical stores across the country to act as a sort of “endless aisle”.

I flew over for a meeting to review some of the pilot programs that had been showing success. One of the VPs asked me whether a kiosk in-store would generate Nexus. After a moment of hesitation I informed him, in no uncertain terms, that I had no idea what he was talking about and would get him an answer.

I assumed we had an easy answer internally – there was not. I assumed there was something to be had on Google – there was not.

The best I was able to do was to track down an interstate sales tax firm and discuss the issue with them. I was lucky enough to run into Brian Greer at Tax Connex.

tax nexus

He spent several hours with me working through some issues specific to kiosks, online business, automation, and specifically which cases were pending and keeping the tax forces at bay. The result of these conversations was a whitepaper we published on the matter….where is the link you ask? NO LINK FOR YOU! In this short time the law has changed in fundamental ways. The paper is wrong, as is a lot of the ‘advice’ floating around out there.

Amazon is no longer providing cover through resistance and litigation. The line between what is and isn’t ‘presence’ can change with a single purchase. This is a dynamic area of the law with immediate and significant consequences.

Understanding the nuance of tax law and compliance is not a part time job.

Brian and Tax Connex have the best information and experience out there. Please read their site and posts, try their surveys, consult with them if confused. Just don’t ignore it.

HIMSS Review Part 2 – Efficiency

Mike Masone - Sales Director, SlabbKiosks

Mike Masone – Sales Director, SlabbKiosks

This article was originally published on LinkedIn.

In the last post I covered some of the issues and advances in money and payments in healthcare.

Cost is perspective dependent – Your opinion or benefit from a healthcare spend is relative to your position in the healthcare system and society as a whole. His expenses are my income which is paid for by your taxes adding to ‘our’ economy that politicians and talking heads love to scream at everyone about. Whether you consider yourself a winner or loser depends on your perspective.

Efficiency is not perspective dependent – Either process is efficient or it is not. Building tools to make individual processes more efficient is at the core of what we do. More is done with less.

Efficiency benefits appear perspective-dependent – Everyone cheers efficiency when improving a process saves time and space, nobody likes to waste those and there are only winners when they are saved. When it comes to anything else, there will be positional losers. Some tasks are repetitive enough to be quantified and automated. Responsibility for that task is transferred to other participants in that process. Exceptions are still dealt with by experts, but by and large the exception to the process must be paid for or ‘earned’ by condition.

versusEfficiency eliminates positions not Individuals – Personal Computing eliminated the need for a dedicated secretarial pool. The 5XB eliminated the need for switchboard operators. Everyone reading this has benefited greatly from the elimination of those positions. However, survivor’s guilt is not necessary. The individuals leaving those highly skilled positions went on with their lives in most cases using the tools that rendered their old positions obsolete.

Efficiency at HIMSS – A small number of exhibitors at HIMSS did showcase some efficiency – increasing, position-eliminating technology that fit the model above. Incremental improvements to inefficient processes were all over the place. Being a seller not a buyer, I took a look and got on my way. I didn’t need to hear another pitch or see another show. I already had a front row seat to the best show at HIMSS. Over and over again I had the pleasure of seeing the look of slack-jawed awe as PatientWay’s VP of Sales, Shawn Grisim told real stories about paying customers and their experiences in implementing the PatientWay check-in solution. These conversations were all in the present tense referring to past and present installations. Not demo-ware, projections, or BS. Real stories from real implementations. Even to a casual observer the numbers are staggering:

  • 90% of all patients walking through the door are checking themselves in.
  • (250K visits) x (90% usage) x (5 minutes per check in*) => 18750 hours
  • Patients 65 and over represent the majority of users of this system.

Most visitors asked the obvious, “what about the people.” Shawn was able to slay the boogeyman right then and there. The individuals who had been performing these repetitive tasks have been moved to more dynamic roles within their organizations and were happier for it. The relief washing over the faces of these people was clear. There would be no HR nightmare, strike, or other such reaction in their future. Just a better way to serve their customers while keeping their operation efficient enough to remain open and profitable.

Efficient Check-In benefits the Individual, Provider, and the System – The check-in process is not billable. The perverse incentives that stifle much of the innovation in healthcare are not a factor when moving patients from their world into yours. Adding efficiency to this moving process benefits every participant in this system. PatientWay is the leader. When people ask me why I love what I do, this is the story that I tell them.

*National all-in average is 5 employee minutes per check-in.

How to use a self-service kiosk for email capture

This guest blog was written by Shereen Dindar. She is the Content Manager for QuickTapSurvey, a survey tool that helps businesses get the actionable data they need to become more profitable. Read her insights on the QuickTapSurvey blog where she muses about the latest business news.

______________________

The main advantage of using a self-service kiosk at your business is that it can perform functions which staff normally would. One of those key functions includes the systematic collection and organization of email addresses from customers and leads.

Yet business owners know all too well the challenge associated with getting people to provide their email address without anything in return. That’s why we’d like to point out several ways you can entice people to leave their email address using a self-service kiosk.

1. Run a contest

If your business has a high volume of foot traffic, consider asking customers to participate in a monthly draw for a chance to win a coveted prize. You’ll need to use a kiosk app that allows you to display a beautiful image of the prize and also captures email addresses. Be sure to write inviting text that encourages customers to participate in the contest: “Enter your email address to win a free iPad!” Don’t forget that the prize should align with your branding and product offering.

2. A fun trivia quiz

test your knowledgeTrade shows are opportunities to promote your business and get in front of the right leads to collect their email address. But if you are like many business owners, you don’t want to use cumbersome business cards to keep track of all the people you meet. A fun trivia quiz displayed on a kiosk is a great way to capture their imagination and also collect their email address. At the end of the quiz, ask them to leave their email address in order to be sent the quiz results.

3. Scratch-to-win prize

scratch the box to reveal your prizeWho doesn’t love a free gift? If you have small branded items like pens or a USB stick that you can afford to give away, do so using a scratch-to-win kiosk display. Customers simply swipe their finger across the screen a few times to reveal their prize and then they are prompted to leave their email address in order to collect it.

 

The truth is that you are only limited by your creativity when it comes to collecting customer and lead email addresses using a self-service kiosk. We encourage you to think of other ways and share them in the comments below!

HIMSS Review Part 1 aka Hey Isn’t Money Something Serious?

Mike Masone - Sales Director, SlabbKiosks

Mike Masone -Sales Director, SlabbKiosks

This article was originally published on LinkedIn.

I’ve had a full week to recover from the recent HIMSS 2016 conference. We made a lot of visitors to the booth uncomfortable because we talked about the two dirtiest things in healthcare MONEY and EFFICIENCY.

Today is MONEY.

Read this article…Welcome back.

Consumers generate 3.6 trillion dollars in healthcare expenses.
15% of the US working population have no access to ‘accounts.’
This means that at minimum over 500 billion dollars of care is being delivered to people with no ability to pay electronically.
We know these patients as customers. We service them in several other industries.

Members of this group are euphemistically referred to as the cash-preferred, working poor, un-banked, under-banked.
In reality they are the over-exploited, under-served, the marginalized.

They are well aware of this fact. They aren’t happy about it.
No matter what happens in November (TheHer, TheHair, or TheWayTooFair) neither the needs nor plight of this group will change significantly.
They will look at you as another data point in a repeating series of demeaning problems or a refreshing solution. Regardless of what you choose, they are coming through your door.
How they leave is up to you.

Here is a quick intro on how their finances typically work:

  1. Generate monthly expenses
  2. Work
  3. Get handed payment
  4. Convert handed payment to usable form (3-7% loss) – Cash Check, buy money orders with, reload prepaid card with cash
  5. Pay monthly expenses
  6. Generate non-monthly expense
  7. Pay non-monthly expense at time of service – cash or check
  8. Work more
  9. Repeat

To the rev-cycle people:

Where are you in this cycle? Where do you want to be?*
If you are taking counter payments, are your transactions with these folks really a net positive?
Counter transactions at utilities clock in at $6-12 per transaction.
This addresses the costs of employee time required for – greeting, lookup, average time of discussion, hand-offs and goodbyes typical in utility payments.
The issue with healthcare is that every payment is a discussion, a reschedule, a medication question, a something.
Your FTE cost may be lower but the time per transaction is likely higher.
With all of this in mind…is a counter payment – cash, check, or otherwise actually a net-positive for your organization?

mr profitsTo the medical people:

Physical MONEY is dirty, very dirty, tucked who-knows-where dirty. It isn’t the only offender – Pens and clipboards are grimy so are doorknobs…add money to the mix though and there is a perfect storm brewing for secondary infections.
Think of the process of reaching your hand into your pocket after touching the grimy stuff…did you sanitize your hand? Great! How about your pocket where you’ll soon be jamming your hand again? How about the last guy who was at the counter, placed his sweaty hand right where yours now sits?
It is enough to unleash the Howard Hughes in any of us.

Would you ever hold a dollar bill or handful of coins before touching a patient?*

MONEY as a tool is scary when you feel like you have no control over it….what will you do when you can’t pay your bill, how about your child’s?
Medicine or Rent? Is it ‘worth’ the money to get the care? Will it be fine? Will anyone see the scar, will it matter? Will you sacrifice your own health for something your family needs? Does your blood pressure go up? Do you feel even more helpless? Do you turn your fear to resentment and anger? How does your family react?
Do you carry this into your doctor? White-coat Hypertension has a name. What do we call this other thing?* Co-pay-co-morbidity, helplessness-hypertension, no-choice nausea?

What is the best way to understand, quantify, and address these concerns for healthcare?
We don’t bother…we don’t know…we probably can’t know with any certainty…if we did come up with an answer or insight it would at best be an egg
looking for a chicken, at worst a disease looking for a cure.

Instead we Try.

What we do know is how these same people react when companies make things a little easier.
Make it easy for people to pay, and they do.
Make it easy to promise to pay, and they will.
Nobody wants to be a deadbeat…especially not the working poor, they prove it every day by going to work when not working would get them a bigger check.
We have seen it repeatedly…..give these people a means to maintain their dignity and they will not disappoint you.
If they can’t pay, give them a way to plan to pay.
Offer them a deal or schedule, or a simple, shame-free way to sit and meet with someone to work through this most difficult and personal problem.
No matter who they are, patients are usually genuinely thankful for their care.
My guess is the perpetually marginalized are even more thankful. In no other part of their lives are they using the same services as the best off of us are.

What makes people seem ungrateful, unhappy, and angry is all of the crap** associated with the service.
Separate your people, staff and your corporate identity from the crap.
Why make a human employee be the bearer of bad news or the taker of money.
Why perpetuate an inherently adversarial condition.
Let a machine do it, let the machine be the bad guy, let the machine ask for payment, let the machine deny the request. Let the machine be confrontational all day long and not get a migraine or get burned out or snap.

Let your employees, smile, understand, correlate, and solve the problems; exercise their humanity with the human who needs their help.
Leave the money, confrontation, monotony and messaging to the machine. It is what they excel at, what we create them to do.

Of course there are always bad actors, patients, and customers, but if we let them inform policy or commercial decisions then we have given up and collectively decided to bury something important in all of us.
The something that makes us human the something that got us into healthcare …empathy…the care part.

*All questions are non-rhetorical. Please add to the discussion.
**Highly technical term understood by all.

You can message me privately if you would like me to edit / credit something I missed.

Commenting below is fine but keep it a-political there is plenty of ‘discourse’ available to anyone who wants it.

If you would like me to send you a report on the un-banked send me a note and I’ll forward it to you. There are some good reports out there.

Interestingly there is a gap between un-banked and cash-preferred…no perfect explanation, it is just there.

A Finance Minister, Hedge Fund Manager, Contract Manufacturer, EE, Geologist and Deep Sea Diver walk up to a BAR.

Mike Masone - Sales Director at SlabbKiosks

Mike Masone – Sales Director at SlabbKiosks

This was originally posted on LinkedIn by our Sales Director, Mike Masone.

This weekend, I caught myself watching one of those ‘DeadSeaGold’ shows where various prospector/tv star types vie for supremacy in extracting gold from some exotic environment. In an effort to determine if the producers were documenting a commercially viable activity or just creating drama for a a TV show I grabbed my phone to check the spot price of gold. Unsatisfied but undaunted after some quick arithmetic I read a linked story. Of course this story was just that, conjecture populated by the conflicting opinions of various talking heads about what certainly must be driving the current price and trend and where the price will go. It was then I thought about what each of fellows in the above would think to themselves upon seeing a bar of gold flash in front of them on a screen, would they wish it worth more, less, be replaceable by some other metal. Kind of a Rorschah Test for something presented as more=better. Fun Sunday at the Masone house for sure!

gold barMost of the time, perspective matters. Much of the time nothing matters more. There are ostensible winners and losers in every grain of gold extracted from the earth whether or not they even know who they are. In the same vein there are winners and losers in every Self-service and technology implementation.

Next time you fly take a moment to look at the long-empty counter. Every one of the 30 or so blank windows in a terminal is a job that doesn’t exist anymore. True, sometimes workers are re-trained but in some businesses there is nowhere to go and some career paths evaporate. Those losses are cataclysmic to those who experience their first and second order effects. Now, turn around look at the mass of people checking in using kiosks; look at the price of your ticket, look up at Bloomberg on the TV showing an uptick in the NYSE. You see, receive and maybe viscerally feel the first order benefits. Smaller for sure, but when applied across the thousands of travelers, millions of investors and their families no less important.

Whether or not “the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few” often depends more on which group you fall into than your implicit morality or stance on Vulcan philosophy. I’m constantly reminding myself of this fact when discussing any technology implementation. No matter how objectively ‘great’ something is there are always winners & losers on a personal level. For every early adopter who can’t wait to prove ROI or cut the ribbon there is a resistor fighting to maintain the status comfy. It isn’t necessary to agree, disagree or even address individual concerns, just to understand that duality actually does exist. I have other customers, many of the people who are made redundant, have one career supporting one life that is every bit as important to them as mine is to me. Awareness of that reality maintains humanity and tamps down the arrogance and callousness that tend to creep into the process of implementing new technology. Be Kind!

Our Year of Kiosks 2015

“The present defines the future. The future builds on the foundation of the past.”Lailah Gifty Akita

 
Already this year is promising to unfold just as fast as last year. It’s almost the end of January and due to the feverish pace that has already begun, we’re late with our traditional “Year of Kiosks” blog which is usually our first blog at the beginning of the year.
It’s something we started doing because we believe it’s always good to pause from our busy schedules, take a deep breath and review what we have done – what was done well and the things we could have done differently, all in an effort to learn and move forward, doing things even better than before. Successes also act as a motivator and keep us striving for even bigger and better achievements and 2015 was a good year for SlabbKiosks.

 
Making the Change

Avanti Markets Banner

 

That statement in itself, highlights one of the major changes that took place for our company and depicts the very essence of looking back, reviewing, adjusting and moving forward. It is one of the reasons we chose to make the change from Slabb to SlabbKiosks. Despite already having the name recognition as Slabb, we decided that SlabbKiosks better defined our brand and product offering while ensuring that we continued to benefit from the Slabb name which had become well-known in the kiosk industry.

 

SlabbKiosks Logo

The new SlabbKiosks logo

The change included a new website and a new logo which both incorporate our new brand colors – grey, green and blue and depicts three cubes which represent the three factors that are crucial for any successful kiosk deployment – hardware, software and implementation/post production.

 
Even though change is usually hard, we believe our rebrand was well received and certainly didn’t affect the number of projects we had for the year. Many of these are still being rolled out, due to the vast volumes involved and we hope to share more about them upon their completion later on this year. But here are two that we were happy to be a part of.

 
TriMas Corporation’s Employee Benefits Kiosks
We provided kiosks for the TriMas Corporation which is headquartered in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan and employs approximately 4,000 employees at more than 50 facilities in 16 countries. It was no surprise then, that they were seeking an effective solution for their Benefits program, particularly for their employees with limited kiosk access.

 

TriMas Corp's Employee Center

TriMas Corp’s Employee Health & Wellness Resource Center

The six (6) customized X7 kiosks are used to provide online health management programs along with other employee services with two additional units which will also be included as part of their Employee Health and Wellness Resource Center. The kiosks allow employees to make benefit elections and view important benefit documents, review online health plan resources, including claims and Explanation of Benefits documents, compare medical plan and prescription drugs costs and look up participating providers, as well as many other human resource services.

 

Education Service Center, Region 20
We provided six (6) customized kiosks for the Education Service Center, Region 20, a non-regulatory agency with a collaborative and supportive relationship with the school districts that provides the learning community with high quality, cost effective products and services. The Center is one of 20 regional education service agencies within Texas which assist school districts in improving student performance and increasing the efficiency and effectiveness of school operations.

 

Kiosks at ESC20

Kiosks at ESC20

The Center was looking for a solution that would offer their clients online access, but one which would provide a more efficient, faster way for workshop participants to review emails and register. The kiosks provide a more effective alternative to the computers which were used in the past, because they don’t encourage longer usage times. It means that there are now fewer clients missing important information provided in class sessions and increase in the overall number of clients being served.

 

OEM Solutions

Automated Vending Kiosk

Automated Vending Kiosk

We also expanded our product line to provide a more extensive range of OEM solutions in cluding automated retail. Some of our projects included Automated Vending Kiosks for an online hair and skin care retail business to extend their reach by providing physical retail touchpoints. The kiosks were outfitted with a customized touchscreen interface allowing users to select the products they wish to purchase, just as they would online. A merchandise window was also included to provide an attractive display of the products. The units will be available at high-traffic indoor shopping malls.

 

Locker Unit

Locker Unit

We designed a customized locker unit for a medical center to better manage the use of the center’s vehicle fleet. The kiosks will be able to scan IDs, track mileage and other maintenance requirements. These will be used as prompts to open the individual lockers and will be accessed by employees that operate the company vehicles.

 

There are many more customized units we have and continue to design. We can’t review every project, but we definitely kept busy with the many we had for the year. This year is proving to be no different, as we have already hit the proverbially ‘ground’ running, starting with the launch of our OEM Solutions website, something we think is important to showcase as we continue to expand our product line.

 
This is only the beginning…Literally and figuratively…So make sure the laces on your sneakers are tied, as we have, and join us for a year that we’re sure will keep us moving sometimes at a jog and sometimes at a sprint, but steadily forward. Look out for the great things in store, all of which we will be happy to review with you again this time next year.

Mind the Air Gap – Part 2

Mike Masone - Sales Director at SlabbKiosks

Mike Masone – Sales Director at SlabbKiosks

We’re happy to share the second part of an interesting article by our Sales Director, Mike Masone – Mind the Gap – Part 2. The article was originally published on LinkedIn.

 

 

 

Gravity LessonsIn the last post I discussed the importance of an air gap for security and anonymity.

Of course nothing is free, and that security comes at the cost of data exchange & collection. Anonymity is good, unless it is your customers who are unknown to you!

Don’t let your customers fall into the air-gap and out of your electronic systems.

Companies sometimes ‘solve’ this issue by creating a mobile app for customers to use. Unfortunately, customers aren’t leaping to install un-trusted apps on the most important possession many of them have just for your benefit.

We want to hold the customers by the hand and take baby steps that benefit both parties. Of course it would be great if customers installed an app that gave you unfettered access to their digital world but that happens less and less as users become more savvy and retake their privacy. This holds especially true at the start of your relationship with them.

Putting ‘apps’ aside we have seen one strategy most adopted and successful. It requires a bit of back and forth with your customer and requires a piece of technology from each of you, a good start to your relationship.

  • You provided customer a code to scan – such as QR from a micro site or printed a bill,coupon, or off of a website. An ID can be scanned to start the process for unknown customers.
  • Customer takes the action of scanning that code on your kiosk.
  • Your kiosk screens lead the customer through the desired process on the kiosk.
  • Optional – You provide the customer another scannable code via SMS or printout to close the transaction.
  • Customer uses that code on their next transaction.

You, them, you, them this back and forth will build trust if done correctly. Using the right equipment will ensure that this process is fool proof and efficient which is important as well. USB cameras are cheaper but lack the performance, flexibility, and upgradability of dedicated scan engines. When possible, we use high quality dedicated scan engines from Dolphin Data Capture for many of our projects, leveraging their expertise especially during software development is important.

Maintaining some distance between you and your customers isn’t a bad thing as long as you have a mechanism in place to lead them through the steps you need to take together to build a stronger relationship.

Make days fun by making spending easy!

This post was written by our Sales Director, Mike Masone and was originally shared on LinkedIn. We thought it was a great read. Let us know what you think and please feel free to share as well.

Mike Masone - Sales Director at SlabbKiosks

Mike Masone – Sales Director at SlabbKiosks

My family and I decided to use what could be the last of the nice fall weather and try to go apple picking this weekend. We weren’t sure where to go so we headed to the closest orchard the internet could find us-XYZ Farm, which was only about 30 minutes away.

At minute 27 we had a problem. Heavy traffic on small country roads is un-expected, un-planned traffic with a 5,3 & 3 year old is dangerous. So when things slowed down we threw the 67′ Spiderman DVDs on for the kids while my wife and I quietly debated our next move with limited information.

Luckily we were able to flag down a young couple on foot who informed us that we had wound up smack dab in the middle of the Season End Harvest Festival from XYZ Farm. They also informed us that the traffic was bad, for about a mile. We did the calculus that all parents are forced to do when plans go awry and determined (after spying the tops of a couple of bounce houses) that we should give it a shot…sunk costs and all. After all, we had made apple-delivery promises to family and the kids had now caught wind of the bounce (poor OpSec by me) and were now practicing their bounce moves against their seat belts.

After another 20 minutes in traffic and a quick run through the Mad Max – inspired parking field we found ourselves stridently converging on the festival area with the hundreds of other families who had procrastinated to our level.

As we walked in, every person we heard speak in passing echoed the same sentiment; “this is terrible, the lines are so long we can’t even spend money, let’s go.” Undeterred and of course better, smarter, and more patient than every other human there we pressed on.

The five of us arrived and decided to execute our standard divide and conquer plan. I stood in the long line with one child to buy tickets while my wife walked with the other two to find the best lines in which to stand to spend the tickets and maybe a candied apple or 4 to soothe the impatient children, and me, who can be quite childlike in those situations. She returned after 10 minutes to the exact spot she had left us and informed me that not only had none of the other lines moved, but that the candy apple line was long to the point of insanity.

Surveying the situation the only things we saw moving rapidly were the arms, hair, feet, eyes, and aging processes of the young, once-a-year cashiers and ticket takers who looked as though they had been pressed into service straight off of the school bus. They were trying, but they were not equipped to deal with the literally thousands of people bursting the place at the seams.

We decided to give up. Some quick math revealed that we would spend 45 minutes of the next hour standing in lines and only be able to spend about $10 on rides and maybe never even get fed. Relieved at our agreement, we took a walk to the sufficiently numerous though foul portapotties and then strolled by some pens to say hi to the chickens, goats, and other assorted farm creatures who were more shocked by the situation than the cashiers. We then got in our car, drove 10 miles down the road and spent $30 on fall ‘stuff’,another $20 on ice cream, and 30 perfect minutes sitting on a picnic table together.

I do my best to not let work-Mike over-analyze family-Mike’s time and experiences, especially as they are happening, because it makes both Mikes a bit crazy. 36 hours post-incident my mind continues to be boggled. The fact that the organizers didn’t take the small and simple steps necessary to help people spend money and have fun while keeping their employees and friends sane is disappointing. Things like :

  • Punched wristbands instead of taken tickets
  • Separate lines for cash or credit purchases
  • POS systems
  • Splitting cashiers up to keep the perception of line size minimal
  • Premium or all-ride passes
  • Food vending to the lines
  • Clear simple signage
  • Maybe, possibly, under the right conditions, if it is good idea, Kiosks

These things are simple, cheap, and almost always ‘worth it’.

It is true that not every venue wants to run with the efficiency & voraciousness of a LiveNation event and many businesses and individuals value tradition over efficiency; but failure of this venue to embrace simple, proven, techniques resulted in their 1000s of attendees not spending their $10-50 per/cap and forever eliminating XYZ farm list of possible fall traditions for years to come.

On the plus side, we have a new favorite Ice Cream place!

Soulless nature of kiosks may be a blessing in disguise after all…

We’ve featured a few articles in the past reviewing the often repeated fear that machines/robots/kiosks/insert any technologically advanced inanimate object will eventually take the jobs that are traditionally done by humans.

 
In our blog titled, Will Self-Service Kiosks Eventually Replace Humans?, we agreed with Martin Smith, Professor of Robotics at University of Middlesex, who aptly stated in an article by Rhiannon Williams, “Though many fear their jobs will be taken over by machines, it is more likely that robots will be used as assistants, and the future workforce could have the benefit of avoiding hazardous and repetitive tasks rather than suffer mass redundancies.”

 
But given recent developments in the news, we’re now left to wonder whether the inhuman element of say, a kiosk or robot, might actually prove beneficial. There are just some circumstances where emotion/personal beliefs should be set aside to provide the consumer what is their right by law. After all, a kiosk can’t ‘boycott’ providing a service because it doesn’t think it is morally right. Actually a kiosk might just be the solution we need to prevent personal convictions being subjected on a customer.

 
We once did a project for a County known for its inordinate number of weddings. Not surprisingly, they needed a solution that would provide a more efficient way to handle the numerous requests for certified copies of marriage certificates. We provided them with a kiosk that could do this, eliminating the need for their customers to engage county personnel for this repetitive task. The service has become so efficient that they recently installed several additional kiosks.

 
Just imagine if this could be done for other services, including marriage licenses. If so, we may not have had many of the discussions that have been taking place recently, with people on either side of the issue, as kiosks can be customized to ensure compliance to the law.

How Kiosks Make Our Daily Lives Easier – Part 3

This is the third and final installment of our series on How Kiosks Make Our Daily Lives Easier. If this is the first you’ve seen of this, you can read Part 1 and Part 2 on our website.

Today, we will consider the value of using Government Kiosks, Advertising Kiosks and Interactive Signage.

Government Kiosks
Government kiosks are often used to facilitate a more efficient execution of administrative services, such as document requests or payment of fines, tickets, bills, taxes, etc. Prior to the use of kiosks, accessing these services would often result in standing in long lines or spending more than one day to complete the transaction. It was a process that most people usually endured as the alternative (ignoring monies owed to the government or not having pertinent documents in your possession) would be a high price to pay.

Customized X6 Clark County Kiosk

Customized X6 Clark County Kiosk

The drive and need for more efficient systems, as well as budget constraints that have resulted in reduced staffing, has led to innovative solutions, including the use of kiosks to provide what should be straightforward services. A great example of the positive effect of kiosk usage is a project we did in Clark County about two years ago that is still being utilized today. The kiosk was implemented to allow users to request certified copies of marriage certificates. The office has processed over 4,000 orders since the kiosk was introduced and has not only provided a more positive experience for customers and eliminated the need to engage county personnel for this repetitive task, but it has also generated over $81,000 gross resulting in a positive Return on Investment (ROI) in less than a year. You can learn more about this project here.

 

We have also provided corrections kiosks including prison kiosks that assist in providing a way to conduct commissary transactions within the prison system and parole kiosks which are utilized by corrections offices and allow selected minimum risk clients to check in with their probation officers at stipulated times throughout their supervision. Parole kiosks must include specialized software and components to ensure accurate identification and security standards. Components may include signature pads, fingerprint and card readers, as well as the software which would enable the recognition of the user’s fingerprint and capture their signature and photo. The kiosks also sometimes facilitate the receipt of payments. Learn more about corrections kiosks we have provided.

 

270120101669An extension of government kiosks are their administrative use at educational institutions. Education kiosks provide a secure, user-friendly platform for administrative management at schools and universities, including student registration, tuition payment as well as faculty and student updates. Many schools also use these self-service kiosks to make school processes more accessible to parents, while enhancing school security by using the units as check-in and check-out systems to keep track of students, as well as visitors.

One of our earlier projects included the installation of interactive signage in three different languages at Stoddert Elementary in Washington, D.C. The signage facilitated the school’s efforts to become more energy efficient. Since then, we have installed many types of kiosks and signage at educational institutions, each customized to address the specific needs of the school.

Advertising Kiosks and Interactive Signage
Advertising Kiosks and Interactive Signage can easily be considered the ultimate marketing tool in more ways than one. They not only allow companies to advertise and deliver content via their screens, but the kiosk can be physically branded to showcase a company or product using specific colors and logos.

Slabb's X10 Digital Signage

Slabb’s X10 Interactive  Signage

The advances in technology and the introduction of interactive signage now facilitates the input of data by customers to access additional information, or the manipulation of the image on the screen for a more in-depth, realistic look at a product’s features and benefits. Interactive screens facilitate easy navigation, using touch screen technology. The signage/kiosk, therefore is more than just a static sign or moving image, it becomes a tool that customers can manipulate to find the information they need, making it a great platform for searchable directories and wayfinding tools. The technology allows versatility across multiple industries for an enhanced user experience.
It is hard not to see the benefits this can provide to a business, especially to retailers that strive to provide their customers with an exclusive experience that showcases all the positive attributes of their brands. Some other benefits of the kiosks we highlighted today include:

 
• Reducing administrative duties and costs.
• More effective emergency management providing schools with an accurate headcount, if needed
• Providing additional information to customers that can be easily seen or accessed via an overhead screen when using the kiosk
• Printing of important documents including schedules, forms or grade sheets, campus maps
• ‘Topping up’ of smart cards thereby reducing the use of cash by students for school transactions
• Providing access to important documents including transcripts, identification (certificates, licenses, etc.)
• Facilitating and encouraging participation in surveys. Businesses and schools can obtain relevant information to provide future services
• Providing multiple uses as a payment, information, internet or advertising kiosk
• Enhancing the customer service experience
• Providing a positive Return on Investment (ROI)
• Decreasing wait times for customers
• Providing a great avenue for product marketing and company branding

 

We hope you enjoyed our three part series on the benefits that kiosks can provide. Kiosks can be used to provide a variety of services/solutions across various industries. Learn more.

How Kiosks Make Our Daily Lives Easier – Part 2

In our last blog post How Kiosks Make Our Daily Lives Easier – Part 1, we looked at some of the benefits of self-service kiosks, particularly:

  • Information Kiosks
  • Human Resource Kiosks
  • Retail Kiosks
  • Self-service Check In and Checkout Kiosks

Today, we will review some of the benefits of Printing Kiosks and Financial Kiosks.

Printing Kiosks
A printing kiosk is a self-service kiosk that is used with the sole purpose of receiving a printed product such as tickets, contracts or coupons. These kiosks are widely used in the travel industry as they can allow travelers to:

  • Purchase and print tickets or boarding passes
  • Find and print directions and/or coupons to tourist attractions
  • Print guides or information about activities and amenities for their vacation resorts
Kiosk Tax Office at an Airport

Kiosk Tax Office at an Airport

Another type of printing kiosk, that is not as well known, but often also used in the travel industry and elsewhere, is the contract kiosk. Contract kiosks are a great way to offer last minute travelers travel insurance. The units allow them to purchase and print insurance contracts right at the kiosk. These kiosks can also be used elsewhere including malls and other retail locations. Contract kiosks have also been provided as an option for the filing of taxes, and as with the insurance kiosks, can be found at several locations, including airports.

However, beyond the travel industry, self-service technology is being used as a convenient alternative for patrons and fans to purchase tickets to sporting events, concerts or the movies. They not only eliminate the need to stand in long lines, especially for popular events, but lower staffing and training costs for venue owners who may sometimes find it difficult to find staff for evening shifts. Ticketing kiosks, provide a useful crowd management strategy by creating multiple points of purchase.

X2 Coupon Kiosk

X2 Coupon Kiosk

Coupon kiosks provide a great way to reward loyal customers. They can be used solely to provide coupons or be customized as a loyalty kiosk providing loyalty card issuing and redemption services along with coupons. This allows operators to provide personalized coupons based on the cardholders’ shopping history. The coupons usually expire on the issue date which is an additional incentive to redeem them the same day. It’s a great way to provide savings for customers and encourage additional and future purchases.

Financial Kiosks

Financial Kiosks are probably the most widely used type of kiosk that enables the completion of transactions traditionally offered by financial institutions. These kiosk can be used to provide the following services:

  • Prepaid Credit/Debit Card Kiosks
  • Check Deposit Kiosks
  • Loan Kiosks
  • Bill Payment Kiosks
  • Donation Kiosks

Prepaid Credit/Debit Card Kiosks allow customers to purchase and activate debit or credit cards as well as add or top up funds on the card. It not only offers users an alternative to cash, but it provides a way for them to easily manage their funds, without the fear of overspending.

Transaction Kiosks typically provide banking services such as bill payment, check deposits, and loans.

Transaction 1Bill Payment Kiosks, as with most financial kiosks, allow any prominent service-based corporation such as banks, cable companies and even retail outlets to provide additional services to their clientele. Customers can pay their utility bills while shopping without standing in line and appreciate this fast and convenient method of making payments.  A bill payment kiosk can improve business through increased efficiency and overall customer satisfaction.

Payday Loan Kiosks provide an automated, self-service option for processing loans, providing a convenient, quick and efficient way for users to access cash advances.

Check Deposit Kiosks allow users to deposit checks without the assistance of a teller or customer representative. It is convenient way to avoid the long lines at the bank.

Transaction kiosks are a great way to add value and enhance customer service while increasing revenue.

Donation Kiosk

Donation Kiosk

Donation Kiosks, also known as giving kiosks or charity kiosks, allow members of a church or group or the general public to donate or contribute to their communities or charitable causes. Some organizations also use the kiosks to enroll members, provide information about community events or sell merchandise including books, CDs and DVDs, t-shirts, etc.  A recent article, Churches Gain Attendees, Money When Internet Is A Sanctuary looked at the way Impact Church of Atlanta uses technology, including kiosks, to encourage donations to and participation at the church.

 

There are many benefits to implementing Printing or Financial kiosks to a business, as they provide:

  • Secure online access
  • An enhanced customer service experience including decreased waiting time and shorter lines
  • An effective advertising platform
  • Value-added services
  • A positive Return on Investment (ROI) due to the additional source of revenue generated

These are just a few of the benefits. We will conclude Part 3 of this blog with a look at some of the services that can be provided by Government Kiosks, Advertising kiosks and Interactive Signage.

How Kiosks Make Our Daily Lives Easier – Part 1

Kiosks have been mentioned quite often in the news lately, from Quick Service Restaurants (QSRs) like Panera and McDonalds adopting the technology, to New York City’s conversion of their iconic phone booths to Wi-Fi Kiosks. These are just a few examples, but for a long time, interactive kiosks have been in use or could be found in many places we go to everyday and have been making our lives a lot easier; you just may not have realized.

 

An Information Kiosk providing internet services

An Information Kiosk providing internet services

One of the basic uses of kiosks is to provide information, whether about a company, a service, an event or location. Information kiosks can be used anywhere information needs to be disseminated, but many are used in museums, malls or lobbies. They can also be used to provide internet access or Wi-Fi to patrons or customers. They often take the form of interactive signage that utilize wayfinding applications. (We will discuss wayfinding kiosks in more detail in Part 2 of this blog). A great example is the information kiosks at Frankfurt airport that read boarding passes and direct passengers to where they need to be.

 

creative_1027 - Copy - Copy - Copy
Companies often use information kiosks to communicate with employees. These human resource kiosks, in addition to providing company information, give employees access to administrative forms such as leave requests, employee manuals, insurance information or even internal training sessions. They can also be used to access the company’s intranet. A great example of the use of human resource kiosks can be seen here.

 

The use of kiosks to provide human resource services can also be extended to job applicants as kiosks provide a convenient way to accept job applications. Prospective candidates can enter their information at kiosks placed at the company’s head office or in the case of retail, at the location with the job vacancy.

 
The popularity of kiosks is probably as a direct result of their self-service applications. In a world where time is precious and consumers are more ‘hands on’, many users prefer having the option of conducting business or paying for services via a machine. It is one of the reasons kiosks can be found in many retail locations.

 

A Loyalty Card Kiosk

A Loyalty Card Kiosk

Retail kiosks, which are often confused with Retail Merchandising units which can also be found at malls with novelty items for sale, are manned units and can be considered mini stores. The retail kiosks we are referring to are electronic units that can be used at stores to accept payments, issue gift/loyalty cards or provide a catalog of a store’s inventory, making it easier for customers to peruse available items and request out of stock items or additional models and colors that may be available at other store locations. It eliminates the need for them to drive to other branches, as orders can be delivered to the location of their choice. It also provides a great opportunity to collect customer data via surveys or purchase history to inform future marketing campaigns or offers.

 
These kiosks can also be used to offer additional services including payment of store credit cards or utility bills, sale updates and coupons or a gift registry. It often eliminates the need to have additional staff for these services and are conveniently accessible after store hours. Some of these services can provide operators with additional revenue through transaction/service fees.

 
Many of the retail self-service applications mentioned above, can be used in other industries including hospitality, healthcare, airports and airlines and restaurants. Hotels and airports use kiosks to provide a more efficient way of checking in, allowing travelers to avoid the frustration of long lines.

 

A Patient Registration kiosk

Patient Registration kiosk

Self-service check in has also now been extended to the healthcare industry to assist in patient management. Patients are now allowed to check in on arrival at a doctor’s office or medical facility allowing front desk staff to easily access their information while eliminating the need for excessive paperwork.

 

 

 

A Self-Service Checkout kiosk at a micro market location

A Self-Service Checkout kiosk at a micro market location

Self-service checkout kiosks, as mentioned in our opening paragraph, are also gaining popularity at restaurants. The goal is to make ‘fast’ food even faster by allowing customers to place their orders via a kiosk, ensuring they get exactly what they want on their order, without standing in line. It still remains to be seen if they truly provide a faster service, as orders still have to be fulfilled by servers which still leaves room for human error as well as variations in the speed of service.

 
Self-checkout kiosks are not only used for fast food, but also for food purchases at supermarkets and micro markets. Both allow customers to access goods and scan and pay for them at the kiosk. It eliminates the need to stand in line and in the case of micro markets, provides a healthy, quick lunch option for workers.

 
Kiosks provide many benefits to both the businesses that operate them, as well as to end users. Hence the reason they are so widely used. Some of the benefits of kiosks include:
• An enhanced customer service experience
• They facilitate the collection and management of customer data
• They provide value-added services
• They allow extended service beyond standard store hours
• They almost always provide a positive Return on Investment (ROI)
• They decrease wait times for customers
• They assist in reducing employee hiring and training costs
• They provide a great avenue for product marketing and company branding

 
These are just a few of the benefits of kiosks. We will continue to explore additional services available via kiosks for various industries in Part 2 of this blog.

 

 

Customized Kiosks and Healthcare

World Health Day 2015

World Health Day 2015

The World Health Day is an initiative sponsored by the World Health Organization (WHO) and is celebrated every year on 7 April and observed by all its Member States. It provides an opportunity to encourage global health awareness by focusing on a subject of major importance to global health every year.

 
This year focused on the promotion of food safety. In the past, attention has been placed on various health issues including blood pressure, aging and the effect of urbanization on health. We hope that in the near future, due to the increasing demand to the healthcare systems around the world and the high cost associated with providing treatment that focus may be given to providing a lower costing, more efficient healthcare system.

 
The answer may lie in more effective patient management. According to an article by Pranave Reddy, patient management includes the many logistical challenges face by healthcare providers and institutions on a daily basis such as, time management and record-keeping. Ideally, an effective patient management system would deal with patients from admission to discharge with the goal being to provide the most efficient and effective experience for the patient. It takes into consideration patient registration, the collection and storage of patient information, accurate claims and information exchange. Achieving this is not only beneficial to the patient but the doctors and health establishments providing these services, including more organized and accessible patient records.

 
At SlabbKiosks, we are committed to finding kiosk solutions that can achieve this and have partnered with PatientWay, a Canadian-based software solutions company that specializes in the development of emerging technologies for the healthcare industry. They operate on the premise that a patient’s active involvement in the registration and check-in process can increase patient and staff satisfaction while saving healthcare organizations time and money.

 

 

patientwayTheir solutions include streamlined patient access through web, kiosk and mobile applications using the following:

 

 
• PatientWay PreReg
Patients can schedule appointments and pre-register from their homes using a secure system. It eliminates the need for them to fill out any paperwork upon arrival for their appointment. It works seamlessly with PatientWay’s Reminder product.

 

 
• PatientWay Reminder
The PatientWay reminder system is automatically triggered once an appointment has been scheduled. It sends an automated voicemail, email, or instant message, reminding a patient of their appointment. It eliminates the need for the healthcare provider to make reminder calls and reduces the number of “no shows” which can cost healthcare providers time and money.

 

 

Customized Slabb X6 patient registration kiosk

Customized X6 check-in kiosk

• PatientWay Check-in Kiosk
Patients who are not pre-registered can do this on-site at the check-in kiosk when they arrive for their appointment. It reduces the amount of time patients have to wait, as it provides a quick and easy registration platform eliminating the need to speak with a clerk. The kiosks are multilingual and facilitate card payments, surveys and provide up-to-date patient information.

 

 

Slabb's X10 Wayfinding Kiosk used at a healthcare facility

X10 Wayfinding Kiosk 

• Wayfinding Display
PatientWay’s wayfinding kiosk adds another element to the patient management system by providing hospital and healthcare maps that assist patients in getting to their final destination. The wayfinding displays also provide information about locations outside of the hospital including restaurants, parking and hotels.

 

 

 

These systems provide many benefits for patients, including:
◦ Patient access to information and services 24/7
◦ Decreased wait times
◦ Value added services

 

 

Along with the following benefits for healthcare institutions:
◦ An updated customer database
◦ Customer feedback through online surveys
◦ Reduced staffing costs
◦ A positive Return on Investment (ROI)
◦ The opportunity to provide relevant information to patients via the wayfinding kiosk or an optional overhead screen on the check-in kiosk

 

 

For more information on PatientWay’s solutions, visit www.patientway.com and for information on our healthcare solutions click here.

 

 

Self-Service Kiosk Solutions for Micro Markets

Just yesterday we shared an article via Twitter from businessinsider.com – An engineer solved the most annoying problem with ordering lunch at work. It’s an amusing article because of the seemingly inane problem the engineer sought to solve – making the lunchtime delivery process more efficient. The article was referring to lunch orders being placed and the time it would take the person at the front desk to find out who placed the order. Well, I guess when you think about it, it probably wasn’t as amusing or frivolous to the person at the front desk.

 
Especially when you consider that the company received between 50 to 75 lunch deliveries every day, which would entail front desk staff sending out company-wide emails to find out who placed the order. According to an employee at the company, “Stopping everything you’re doing to respond to an email notification takes more time and mental energy than most people think, and when the email has nothing to do with you it’s a waste of precious time.” This employee, Travis Kaufman created an app that allows employees who ordered lunch for delivery to subscribe to lunch alerts, eliminating the need to send emails to the entire organization.

 
Voila! Problem solved. Even the company’s co-founder and CEO was pleased, “Overall, it’s a way for us to maintain productivity and help our employees work efficiently”.

 
I think this is something that all companies hope to achieve – greater productivity and efficiency. This company found the answer in an app. But what if the need to order lunch or leave the building to go out to eat was completely eliminated? Wouldn’t that significantly increase productivity levels? Companies that incorporate micro markets as part of the office lunch/break rooms have definitely found this to be the case.

 

 

An Avanti Markets micro market

An Avanti Markets micro market

Over the years, we have worked with many micro market solution providers, by providing easy-to-use, self-service kiosk options for their operators. The design of the kiosk is similar to those found in other industries, but they must also have the following components:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A self-service kiosk at a micro market

The kiosk can be customized to accept various payment options

• Cash acceptors , debit and credit card readers to facilitate various payment options including cash (bills and/or coins), credit and debit cards
• Card dispensers and issuers that can provide company-sponsored membership cards. These are usually used as loyalty cards where employees can accumulate points and is an incentive for them to make healthy choices
• Low end thermal printer to provide receipts to users

 

 

Some optional components can also be used to provide added services including:

 

 

 

 

Loyalty programs can be incorporated at the micro market

Loyalty programs can be incorporated at the micro market

• A Keyboard and trackball – kiosks can be a great tool for administering surveys or providing general information
• A secondary overhead monitor can be used for advertisements, marketing, or for user instructions.
• Scanner – for coupons or promotions

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Micro market kiosks should also be durable and vandal resistant, especially if placed in a high traffic area, and with over 2500 kiosks in the field, we use the feedback we receive to provide the most suitable options for our clients. Our kiosk options include the X6 or C7E kiosk and our recently introduced executive countertop kiosk model, the X2S.

 

 

Our X6 Kiosk model customized for a micro market client

Our X6 Kiosk model customized for a micro market client

The SlabbKiosks X6 Model
This model is ideal for high traffic locations due to its rugged, vandal-resistant, stainless steel enclosure. There are various size options for the standard LCD screen – 19″, 22″, 26″ or 32″ LCD (vertical or horizontal), with or without a touch screen. Protective glass can also be used if a client forgoes the touch screen option.

 
An additional overhead screen, as mentioned before, can be used to provide company updates, nutritional benefits, instructions or any other relevant information.
The X6 model is fully customizable, with a variety of options to suit the needs of any organization or business.

 

 

 

 

Slabb's C7E Kiosk

Slabb’s C7E Kiosk

The SlabbKiosks C7E Model
The C7E kiosk is simple and functional yet rugged, making it perfect for a micro market location. Made with stainless steel, it is vandal-resistant and can easily be used in high traffic locations. There are two screen options for this model – 19″ or 22″ LCD, with or without touch screen. As part of our lower cost kiosk line it is also an affordable option for micro market operators.

 
This model can also be customized to suit the needs of any business.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The X2S Executive Countertop Kiosk

The X2S Executive Countertop Kiosk

The SlabbKiosks X2S Model
This kiosk is a great, cost effective alternative for locations with fewer users or floor space limitations. Due to its size, this kiosk model gives operators the option of using it as a second payment station at a high volume location or as a standalone with some additional features at smaller locations.

 
The X2S comes with a 15” LCD with Sound Acoustic Wave (SAW) touchscreen, a bill acceptor, swipe card reader, barcode scanner, stereo speakers and an active cooling system, with optional components available including a DVR and webcam, headphones and microphone.

 

 

 

 

 

Micro markets have definitely become an option that more employers are considering. A direct result of implementing a micro market is a reduction in employee down time as the hassle and time wasted getting lunch out of the office is eliminated. It is one of the numerous benefits of having a micro market location. Learn about some of the additional benefits. 

Business Owners Continue to Benefit from Self-Service Kiosks

Self-service kiosks provide many benefits to businesses

Self-service kiosks provide many benefits to businesses

Last year we ended with a blog entry on the benefits of self-service kiosks, especially during the holiday rush (The Joy of Self-service Kiosks and Holiday Shopping). The article focused mainly on the benefits to customers, which should be the goal of any business – providing an enhanced service experience for their customers. However, on the ‘flip side’, self-service check out kiosks also have many benefits to business owners. We thought we would explore some of them in today’s blog.

 
Increased Customer Loyalty
Customers enjoy having a convenient, hassle-free shopping experience. This is even more crucial now with the advent of the various forms of technology that involve interactive self-service functions. Many shoppers are extremely familiar with these, to the point of expecting it as the norm for their shopping experience. Customers who value these services are more likely to shop at businesses that provide them with the convenience they seek, including self-service check out.

 

Knowledge is Power
Kiosks not only provide a straightforward checkout option, but they also provide a great opportunity for businesses to collect data on their customers. This can take the form of short surveys upon checkout or transaction statistics that provide purchase history for customers. This information can allow businesses to better forecast sales and create a more effective marketing plan by providing offers and incentives for particular products during a specific season or shopping period. Once permission is sought, the data can also be used to do further marketing to specific customers via emails or mail outs.
The kiosks can also be used to update customers on new merchandise, prices or general company information.

 

Cart abandonment isn’t only an e-commerce problem
We’ve heard about e-commerce sites having to deal with ‘cart abandonment’ – a situation where a potential buyer places items in their online shopping cart, but never proceeds to check out. The same can happen in a store, and many times the reason may be simply avoiding the hassle of long lines. A kiosk is a great start in preventing this, as they allowing customers to purchase their items in a more efficient way.

 

An additional advertising opportunity
What business does not appreciate any additional opportunity to advertise? Businesses can physically showcase their brand by using company colors and strategically placing their company logo on the kiosk unit, as well as have short ads playing via an overhead screen or on the kiosk’s main screen when not in use. It’s a great way to highlight the company’s products and services or provide company updates.

 

Simple implementation
Most importantly, kiosks are simple to implement, are cost effective and have low transaction fees. Kiosk management is also very straightforward and data can be accessed from any computer through an administrative portal.

 

Increased Return on Investment (ROI)
Kiosks eliminate the need to have a manned station, thereby reducing labor costs as well as overheads. Business owners can also increase their returns by providing additional services via the kiosk including online gift registries, loyalty card programs and an avenue to provide customer feedback or apply for vacant positions.

 

An article in businessbee.com highlighted the pros and cons of self-service checkout kiosks. In the article they cited statistics from Self Service World, which stated that “27,000 self-checkout terminals were shipped to businesses around the world in 2012. This growth is projected to steadily rise and 60,000 terminals will be shipped in 2018. Consequently, more businesses are choosing to integrate this system.”
This is no surprise, as over the years, more businesses have enjoyed and continue to appreciate the benefits of implementing self-service check out kiosks, while their customers benefit from the greatly improved service experience that they provide.

 

The Joy of Self-service Kiosks and Holiday Shopping

christmas shoppingIt’s that time of the year when your fingers tingle from the cold air (depending on where you live) and/or from the pure excitement this season brings, no matter how old you are. However, despite the warm and fuzzy feeling that the holidays bring, unless you’re super organized and complete your shopping online by the end of November, let’s face it, most of us dread what awaits us at the shopping malls and retail outlets, starting the day after Thanksgiving.

 

 
Wouldn’t it be great to maneuver through the crowds, select our items and not have to stand in a long lines? While self-service kiosks may not be able to lessen the crowd, they certainly can make the shopping process a little easier. Here are some benefits of using self-service kiosks during the holidays.

 

 
They’re easy to use
‘Easy’ is exactly what most of us look for while shopping during the holiday season – uncomplicated deals along with ease of access to products and services. Self-service kiosks provide an easy alternative to purchasing your items.

 

 

 

They provide additional services
Our lists seem to multiply during the holiday season, including our ‘to do’ lists. During the excitement of the season, it’s easy to forget that they are still bills to pay, coupons to redeem and gift cards to access. Many self-service kiosks provide these extra services allowing you to top up prepaid credit cards or gift cards, pay utility bills and even access loans. Some of these, such as the gift cards and prepaid cards are great, hassle-free gift options, as well.

 

 

 

No Cash? No problem
Self-service kiosks provide various payment options so you can purchase your items with credit and bank cards or cash. There is no longer the need to look for an ATM before purchasing your items.

 

 

 

They’re convenient
This goes without saying, as any device that allows you to avoid long lines when you have a long ‘to do’ list, is always convenient.

 

 

 

They enhance the shopping experience
If you’re a frequent shopper at a store that has a loyalty program, based on your past purchase patterns, the kiosk can highlight promotions, offer options and provide coupons based on your preferences.

 

 

 

They can help you get exactly what you want
Doesn’t it sometimes seem that particularly during the holiday rush, you see the item that you want advertised, but can’t locate it at the store? A self-service kiosk can locate it for you. It can also provide additional information about the store branches that have the item in stock, along with details such as color and size options.

 

 

 

They may assist you in making a final decision
If you are uncertain about a product that you wish to purchase, a kiosk can provide you with product specifications and additional details that may not be apparent by just looking at the item, including warranty information, along with product and price comparisons.

 

 

 

A Slabb X6 self-service kiosk at a mall

A Slabb X6 self-service kiosk at a mall

Self-service kiosks provide many benefits, benefits that are great throughout the year, but are even more appreciated during the holiday rush. The great thing about self-service kiosks is that they simply provide an alternative; so if you’re one of those exhilarated by the rush and long lines, or simply feel more comfortable with face to face contact, the option of interacting with a sales representative is always there. The choice is yours.

The Future of Travel: Self-service Technology

It seems as though for the past year, or so, not a month has passed where another US airport hasn’t announced the launch of automated passport control kiosks (APCs) to assist in expediting the customs and immigration process. APCs, as they are becoming commonly known as, are self-service passport control kiosks that replace the traditional immigration process of completing declaration and customs forms.

 

 
According to information provided on the SITA website, the kiosks uses three steps when processing travellers. They allow passengers to:

 

 
1) Answer a set of regulatory questions via a touchscreen
2) Have their passport read and verified
3) Have their identities verified.

 

 

 

US Global Entry Program (Photo Courtesy: association.com)

US Global Entry Program (Photo Courtesy: association.com)

These three simple steps, have now made a once time-consuming process, quick, efficient and beneficial to not only travelers but to the US Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) and airlines as well. The United States CBP can now boast faster processing times that reduce queues while increasing processing capacity with the same number of agents. This allows agents to focus on persons of interest. The system also provides high accuracy biometric matching. The kiosks enable airports to use their space and resources more efficiently, reduce queues and clear immigration and customs faster, thereby improving the overall service experience for passengers. The incidence of missed connections is also reduced.

 

 
There are APC kiosk at over 20 airports in North America including Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL), Boston Logan International Airport (BOS), and Chicago Midway International Airport (MDW), to name a few.

 

 
Recently, countries such as Aruba and the Bahamas also announced the introduction of APC kiosks. Nassau has plans to purchase 20 of the kiosks. It is expected the trend will continue with the introduction of these kiosks in other major international airports as well.

 

 
But even before the use of APC kiosks, the aviation industry had adopted self-service technology in an effort to enhance the travel experience from arrival at the airport, to the check-in and boarding process. There are many examples of this technology currently at work, many of which utilize the self-service kiosk. Here are a few examples we found:

 

 

 

SITA Beacon Registry (Photo courtesy: developer.aero/BeaconRegistry)

SITA Beacon Registry     (Photo courtesy: developer.aero)

• SITA has also launched the SITA Common-use Beacon Registry. It is a global beacon registry for airlines who wish to communicate with passengers as they enter an airport. The system can communicate with mobile devices within a radius of 100 feet, identify the location of the passenger and send regular updates including estimated walk time to the gate, boarding alerts and if the boarding gate changes.

 

 

 

Canoe.ca ranked the top 10 airport terminals in the world, #1, Hong Kong International Airport, has won several best airport awards. The airport features amenities such as a shopping mall and gourmet food options as well as internet kiosks.

 

 

 

MegaNews Magazines 'Print on Demand' kiosk (Photo courtesy: airportsinternational.com)

MegaNews Magazines ‘Print on Demand’ kiosk           (Photo courtesy: airportsinternational.com)

• Sweden’s airport is the first to offer Print on Demand kiosks to passengers. Described as the first ‘automatic newsstand’, these kiosks are simple to use – passengers can choose from hundreds of titles, browse the magazine they would like and once they’ve made a decision on the publication they want, they simply pay with a credit card. The publication is delivered in 2 minutes.

 

 

 

• Poland’s Chopin Airport has taken it a step further by providing a virtual assistant to help passengers with self-service check-in. The assistant responds in both English and Polish, to queries that include how to use the self-check-in kiosks, which documents need to be prepared and how to print a boarding pass. It’s the first of its kind in Poland.

 

 

 

Russia's Domodedovo Airport (Photo Courtesy: domodedovo.ru)

Russia’s Domodedovo Airport (Photo Courtesy: domodedovo.ru)

• Moscow Domodedovo Airport has installed self-service kiosks that allow passengers to report lost or in transit bags. It eliminates the need to queue up to speak with an agent, instead, passengers simply scan their bag receipt barcode at the kiosk to file a missing bag report. The kiosks are linked to WorldTracer, the global tracing system for mishandled baggage developed by SITA and IATA. The system then matches found bags with lost bag reports.

 

 

• Austrian Airlines has introduced self-service bag drop units at Vienna Airport. The units being used during this trial phase, allow passengers who have already checked-in for their flight to go directly to the bag drop counter to print and attach their bag tags and deposit their luggage into the baggage handling system, without the need for an airline agent.

 

 

 

Hamburg's self-service infrastructure (Photo courtesy: airport-world.com)

Hamburg’s self-service infrastructure                  (Photo courtesy: airport-world.com)

• Hamburg recently revamped their airport with the launch of new self-service infrastructure which gives passengers the option of checking in and dropping off baggage at self-service kiosks.

 

 

 

• London’s Tesco offers a virtual grocery store at the North Terminal of Gatwick Airport. After arrival, travelers can order groceries via a digital signage kiosk.

 

 

• Malta International Airport allows passengers to purchase travel insurance via a kiosk.

 

 

 

These are just a few examples of self-service technology at work. It is expected that the trend will only continue with predictions of investments in smart airport technology surpassing $13 million by 2020. According to an article on kioskmarketplace.com, “The current market, estimated to be $9,718.07 million in 2014, is focusing more on passenger satisfaction by implementing self-service solutions. For example, two-thirds of airports have programs to deploy kiosks and Wi-Fi. Improving passenger satisfaction is the primary reason for airport IT expenditures…”

This comes as no surprise, as passengers continue to demand value for their money with the expectation that they spend less time in queues and at airports, in general, and more time spent enjoying their journeys.

Making the Choice: Micro-market Vs. the Traditional Vending Machine

There’s a new productivity trend developing. It might be considered an inevitable result of the increased demand on an employee’s time with the expectation of high productivity levels to ensure that deliverables are completed in a timely manner and to a preset standard. This new development is not ominous in any way, but actually quite practical. It’s called a micro market.

 

 

An Avanti Markets micro market

An Avanti Markets micro market

A search of the word may result in an economics-based definition, but the micro markets that continue to crop up in various work spaces can be described as a ‘convenience store at the office’, one that provides freshly prepared lunches, healthy snacks and drinks that employees can purchase. What makes micro markets so unique, is not only the convenience of an accessible and healthy lunch option, but the fact that they utilize a self-service model – one that relies on an ‘honor system’ where employees are expected to pay for their purchases with cash, credit or even via their cell phone without an attendant or cashier on-site.

 

 
So why a micro market vs a traditional vending machine? Brad Bachtelle of Bachtelle & Associates, in an article on vendingtimes.com stated it in one sentence – “We’ve created a new channel [that’s] driving more sales, pleasing customers and exciting our industry.” Research done by his firm predicts there will be approximately “13,000 micro markets on location by 2015 and 35,000 within a decade.” The number of micro market locations in 2012 (2,642 active locations with 2,724 active kiosks) represented a sales volume of $90.74 million. Micro markets are becoming a more lucrative investment opportunity because they provide additional benefits than the traditional vending machine:

 

 
• Micro markets tend to attract 18% more visits per day with an average of 1.2 sales per day per visit, as compared with 0.7 sales in a vending area. This figure may be higher depending on the location.

 

 
• The inventory management system is usually web-based, making inventory evaluation much easier, ensuring fresh inventory and up-to-date regulatory practices.

 
• Components can be customized to fit different locations which is a major selling point, especially when there are space limitations.

 

 

• It allows operators to focus on providing an enhanced customer experience with enticing layouts and products that will ultimately increase profits. Operators use retail tools and techniques to ensure the strategic placement of add-on purchase items near to the check-out kiosks.

 

 

• There is less maintenance and downtime of machines and the kiosks provide an easier transaction process especially for multiple items.

 

 

• There is also some pricing flexibility allowing operators to collect sales tax on items purchased unlike a traditional vending machine.

 

 

• The use of prepaid user accounts at micro markets represents a shift from the traditional vending model. Accounts are funded and money collected before goods are purchased which radically shifts the cash flow requirements of operators.

 

 

• Portions of these accounts can be funded by HR, Wellness, or other workplace programs with a mandate directed at healthy eating and increased productivity.

 

 

 

Loyalty programs can be incorporated at the micro market

Loyalty programs can be incorporated at the micro market

Micro market products are often priced higher than products found in a traditional vending machine. They are typically 15% to 20% higher, with sales tax added to that. Pricing is usually set to offset the cost incurred due to theft of items, product spoilage, and the additional equipment, software and supplies that are needed. However, many employers often provide their employees with cards that give subsidized prices for healthy food options – a small price to pay for great convenience.

 

 
So, “build it and they will come…” The benefits mentioned make it seem easy enough, but it takes a little more than that. There are a few elements that should be in place to be successful in the micro market business including:

 

 
• Products that are attractive to the customer – As a society we are more health conscious than ever and providing healthy, fresh food options, restocked daily is one way that micro markets set themselves apart from the traditional vending machine.
• The right layout – Most micro market operators can work with any space to provide a customized, attractive and functional setting that will make movement and payment within the location as easy as possible. Access to a power supply for the kiosk system, coolers and freezers is also required, along with an internet connection.
• Self-service with a difference – And we don’t mean inserting your money in a slot and hoping that the item you want doesn’t get stuck (as is sometimes the case in a traditional vending machine). We’re referring to self-service with options including, type of payment that can be used, level of interactivity (dependent on the interface and software used); choice of loyalty programs (as mentioned above).

 

 

 

A self-service kiosk at a micro market

A self-service kiosk at a micro market

The key element that makes the self-service option possible, the ‘face’ of the micro market, is the self-service kiosk. Unlike the traditional vending machine, the kiosk must allow the user to scan or input items as well as pay for them. There are kiosks that even allow the input of coupon codes and vouchers at the time of purchase. The checkout system must be capable of handling multiple transactions as well as track and record data to provide accurate inventory and revenue reports.

 

 
The design of the kiosk is similar to those found in other industries, but at Slabb, we design our kiosks with the end user in mind. One of our major clients commented that their customers particularly like the look of our kiosks, the low maintenance required and their ease of use for end users.

 

 
Fast becoming another segment of the retail industry, micro markets focus on enhancing the customer experience. It’s the added elements that count, so micro market operators can also consider providing additional services at checkout such as bill payment options, payday loans and check deposits. All of which can be provided through a kiosk. All it takes is partnering with the right institution (bank and/or utility company) to provide a secure link to the company’s system. The micro market then becomes an even more convenient option allowing employees to do so much more in the comfort of their office.

We’ve added three kiosks to our product line

We recently announced the launch of three new kiosk models – the X6A, the X2S and the X4T. But the names don’t do them justice. Take a look at these new models below. As with all our other kiosks they are vandal-resistant, ADA compliant, UL certified and CE compliant.

 

 

 

The X6A

The X6A

The X6A though sleek, rugged and vandal-resistance, as is the norm with all Slabb kiosks, is unlike any of Slabb’s other models. Ideal for self-check in, its design is versatile and can easily fit at any location due to its compact size. The kiosk comes with a 19” LCD display with touchscreen, credit card reader, barcode scanner, laser printer (b4600) and thermal receipt printer. The design also ensures wheelchair accessibility.

 

 

 

 

The Slabb X2S

The Slabb X2S

The X2S is a desktop model with a 15” LCD with Sound Acoustic Wave (SAW) touchscreen. Some of the components include a swipe card reader, barcode scanner, stereo speakers and an active cooling system. Optional components include a small printer, headphones, microphone and webcam if needed. Due to its compact size, it is an ideal choice when space is at a premium.

 

 

 

 

 

The new X4T

The new X4T

The X4T is a mounted version of one of Slabb’s more popular wall mount interactive digital signage models. Like the Q5, the X4T is rugged, robust and vandal-proof and available in any color with standard HD resolution and no external wiring. It comes with a 42” horizontal LCD screen display with or without a touch screen.

 

 

 

 

 

To find out more about these kiosk models or about any model in Slabb’s product line, visit our website www.slabbkiosks.com or contact us at 702-730-1110. One of our Product Specialists would be happy to assist.

 

 

 

The Top Ten Things You Need to Know about Slabb’s Kiosks

MockDataSheet4 - 2_0001Here are the most important things you need to know about Slabb’s Kiosks:

 

1. Does Slabb make any, really any, kind of customized kiosk, without any design costs within four to six weeks?

 

Yes! We certainly do!

 
2. How much does a kiosk cost?

 

Slabb’s kiosk models are some of the most affordable kiosks in the industry. Our kiosks are customized to suit users’ needs with prices for our basic interactive kiosks starting from US$1,800. Slabb also has low cost models and offers used kiosks for purchase at a discounted price as well as leasing options.

 

3. Is customized software provided?

 

Yes, we can provide customized software as well as “out-of-box” software. We can meet any software requirements that are requested when an order is placed. We are able to do this because we work with various software providers that specialize in industry-specific software solutions, including SurferQuest for self-check in solutions; Marquis Software, Cashless Systems, Inc. and Genesis Technology for corrections software and PatientWay for healthcare software solutions.

 

4. Does the client own the software after the kiosk is delivered?

 

a. Some applications require yearly licenses, others require a “one off” license.

 
b. Most of the software solutions that are based on framework software, like SiteKiosk, is owned by the client once the kiosk is installed and delivered.

 

5. Do the kiosks come with a warranty?

 

Every Slabb kiosk includes a one year warranty that covers the replacement of defective parts within the kiosk.

 

6. What service and maintenance agreements does Slabb offer, if any?

 

a. Slabb offers a standard one year “back-to-depot” warranty. We also have extended warranties available for the second and third year.

 
b. We also offer a service and maintenance contract with various Service Level Agreements (SLAs), including 24 or 48 hour field service. Some of these services include stocking of spare parts.

 

7. Does Slabb provide renderings of kiosks during the order process?

 
Slabb provides specific renderings, that include the client’s logo, the kiosk color requested and the components required. These renderings are submitted to the client for approval prior to the manufacturing of the kiosk.
Renderings are provided free of charge and are included in the Slabb order process.

 

8. Do Slabb’s kiosks integrate with other systems, for example Point of Sale (POS) systems or databases – information which would be needed at the kiosk?

 

Yes, through our software partners we can integrate the kiosk software to existing POS systems and databases.

 

9. Do Slabb’s kiosks have the ability to track/provide user information?

 

Yes, we provide applications which can do this.

 

10. What is the lead time from order placement to delivery for Slabb’s kiosks?

 

Slabb guarantees one of the shortest lead times in the industry. Our kiosks are ready in four weeks and are delivered directly and installed on site.

 

One of our sales consultants would be happy to assist you. Or simply visit our website to get a FREE quote:  http://www.slabbkiosks.com/contact_us.php

 

 

Will Self-Service Kiosks Eventually Replace Humans?

I’ve been seeing a lot of articles lately about potential job loss due to emerging technologies, including robots, self-service terminals and even kiosks. It’s an interesting fear that might be rooted in events of the past including the industrial revolution which saw the loss of many jobs due to automation.

 
creative_1027 - Copy - Copy - CopyBut is there enough evidence currently to worry about something like this happening in the near future? Some will argue that there already is. Panera bread recently implemented ordering kiosk which will replace human cashiers. An article on inquisitor.com – Panera Bread Ordering Kiosks to Replace Human Kiosks, reports that these kiosks will be deployed by 2016. The goal is to not only reduce the amount of time that customers stand in line to place their orders but reduce the wait time once the order has been placed as well.

 
The new technology, which is already being used at the company’s Boston and Charlotte locations, will be implemented at an additional 150 Panera restaurants this year. This means there will be a reduction in the number of cash registers at each store and customers will have the option of also placing orders via smartphones, laptops or tablets while at a Panera restaurant for either eat in orders or takeout. The company insists that despite the introduction of the kiosks that there will be no job loss as employees will now be delivering food directly to customers’ tables. It’s being done to improve service and order accuracy.

 
McDonald’s restaurants also introduced 7,000 touchscreen kiosks at some of their European outlets that will allow customers to place and pay for orders using cash or credit. It is no surprise then that according to a report, three in ten Britons believe their jobs will be replaced by a robot. In an article by Rhiannon Williams “Almost half of the 2,000 members of the British public surveyed (46 percent) admitted they are concerned that technology is evolving too quickly and is undermining traditional ways of life.”

 
Maybe it’s a development that is inevitable, with the increased need for us to stay connected – always having a device that allows us to quickly access information, complete transactions and just generally do things faster and more efficiently. It seems that self-service technology and gadgets associated with it would be a natural progression given our growing dependence on technology.

 
However, the jury is still out, especially with regard to self-service kiosks eliminating workers. Kiosks provide an easier way to serve customers and improve a company’s ability to provide an enhanced service experience. But they can never replace the human interaction which is still important in situations where a customer may be frustrated, lack knowledge or be averse to using technology and businesses must still attempt to cater to all.

 
As Martin Smith, Professor of Robotics at University of Middlesex, so aptly puts it in Ms. Williams’ article, “Though many fear their jobs will be taken over by machines, it is more likely that robots will be used as assistants, and the future workforce could have the benefit of avoiding hazardous and repetitive tasks rather than suffer mass redundancies.” We couldn’t have said it better.

A Great Way to Reward Loyal Customers

It can be assumed that one of the main goals of any business is to make or increase profit. In order to do that, a business must have customers. We’ve all heard the many sayings about the importance of satisfying customers by providing optimal customer service. One of my favorites is from James Cash Penny who said, “Courteous treatment will make a customer a walking advertisement.”

 

 

It seems easy enough, but it also requires knowing what customers want and very often companies seem to get something this simple, so very wrong. Business owners are customers themselves and should think of what they expect as a customer and take a step further…What would they expect as a loyal customer?                                                                       How often have you been a loyal customer of a particular company, only to see them focus their efforts on only acquiring new customers, as you seem to fade or become almost invisible because you regularly purchase from them or frequently use their service?

 

 
It’s a mistake many companies make that can easily be avoided with a dedicated loyalty plan or program. Incidentally, loyalty programs go back as far as the 1700s, when an American merchant distributed copper tokens to consumers in exchange for store items. Similar programs continued to be developed over the years with the distribution of certificates that could be redeemed for specific items, box top offers, prizes, promotional items such as a toy in a kid’s meals and coupons.

 

 
Today, many loyalty programs use cards that track rewards and allow customers to easily redeem points earned. Their benefits have been proven and include:

 

 
• The acquisition of new customers
• The retention of existing customers
• They can be used to segment customers by using grading rewards. The level or type of reward is dependent on the amount spent by the customer. This allows customers to move up the various spend segments.
• Computerized loyalty cards allow businesses to access important data about customers including spending habits and customer demographics.
• The data obtained from loyalty cards can assist businesses in better targeting customers with more relevant advertising and well planned in-store merchandising.
• It can provide an incentive for ‘lost’ customers to return.
• It is a great opportunity to build relationships with customers
• A loyal customer is more likely to become a brand advocate
• In the case of micro-markets some employers provide loyalty cards that allow employees to get a discount on items when they make healthier purchases.

 

 

 

Loyalty Kiosk - Customized Slabb X6

Loyalty Kiosk – Customized Slabb X6

Implementation of loyalty programs has also become easier through the use of loyalty card kiosks. They are easy to use and provide a convenient way for customers to purchase and activate cards as well as redeem points or rewards. They typically require a card dispenser, ID reader and authenticator and card reader and require little or no staff supervision because they are so easy to use. These kiosks can also allow businesses to provide users with additional information on current promotions and company information as well as the ongoing advertising of products and services.

 

 
Slabb provides various options for businesses interested in loyalty card kiosks. For additional information on an easy way to reward your loyal customers, visit our Solutions page.

The Benefits of Bill Payment Kiosks

In the retail industry, competition has forced many business owners to differentiate themselves from their competitors, by offering unique products and services. If not operating in a niche market, companies should then focus on enhancing their customer experience, something that makes them the consumers preferred choice despite having a product or service offering that is widely available.

 

 

 

Customized X6 Payment Kiosk

Customized X6 Payment Kiosk

It’s all about adding value, and businesses striving to do this often overlook an affordable, low maintenance alternative – the bill payment kiosk. Bill payment kiosks allow customers to pay utility bills including phone, electricity, cable and water bills. They provide a secure, convenient, self-service alternative for users because they are easily accessible and depending on their location, they can be accessed 24 hours a day, seven days a week. They are usually placed at convenience stores, retail outlets and groceries and are a great source of additional revenue for businesses wishing to provide this additional service to their customers.

 

 
There are many benefits to businesses that provide bill payment services via a kiosk:

 

 
• They are easy to use and require little or no service from customer representatives.
• It provides additional revenue with each transaction, as there is usually a minimal charge to the consumer for each transaction completed.
• It increases traffic to the location, often attracting users that are not even customers, but who take advantage of the convenient bill payment option, providing a great opportunity to entice these potential customers and ultimately increase revenue. Stores can easily plan around bill payment due dates (mid-month and end of month), arranging promotions to attract kiosk users while they are in the store.
• The machines are low maintenance, as they can be monitored remotely and require minimal training for staff. They therefore do not add extensively to training, overhead or inventory costs.

 

 
There are also benefits to customers:

 

 
• They provide a great alternative for customers that are still skeptical about making payments online, as well as under banked customers that must make cash payments.
• They provide the convenience of 24/7 access to bill payment services.
• Kiosks are easy-to-use allowing transactions to be conducted quickly, eliminating the inconvenience of waiting in long lines.

 

 
Bill Payment Kiosks are definitely an option for businesses wanting to increase revenue and customer satisfaction. The success of operating a bill payment kiosk may also open up the possibility of providing additional services such as payday loans, check deposits, prepaid cards or even checkout services. All it takes is partnering with the right institution to provide the ultimate in convenience for customers.

Our Year of Kiosks

Every year brings a spate of resolutions, promises and hopes for the twelve months ahead. I think it’s a great opportunity to look back at the year that has passed – the highs, the lows and most importantly the lessons learned. It’s one of the best ways to move forward, learning from past mistakes and setting new goals.

 

 
Here at Slabb, Inc., we’re no different. So I’ve decided that for this blog, I will look back at some of our great moments from 2013 so that we can start out 2014 on a positive note. We’ll focus on four of our major projects for the year:

 

 
Clark County

Customized X6 Clark County Kiosk

Customized X6 Clark County Kiosk

In April, we provided customized kiosks, based on our X6 model that would assist in delivering an essential service to the County’s residents and visitors. The kiosks allow users to request certified copies of marriage certificates, thereby eliminating the need for these customers to engage county personnel for this repetitive task. There have been over 1,000 transactions completed at the kiosk, to date, saving over 350 hours of staff time. Due to the success of this pilot project, the County hopes to have additional kiosks installed that can provide similar services.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

SHRM 2013 with Avanti Markets

Avanti Markets Booth at SHRM 2013

Avanti Markets Booth at SHRM 2013

We continued to work with Avanti Markets, one of the leaders in the micro-market industry, and joined them at the Society for Human Resource Management’s Annual Conference and Exposition, held in Chicago, Illinois in June. Avanti Markets showcased one of several models of its self-checkout, unmanned kiosk systems at the conference, which included our X6 kiosk model. The booth received a lot of traffic at the event, not only because of its promotional wheel that gave participants a chance at winning great prizes, but because of the many HR executives wanting to learn more about the product, as well as those that wanted to share their experiences of having Avanti Market’s micro-market solutions at their own workplace. It was a truly successful event.

 

 

 

 

 

Arkansas Department of Community Corrections

Arkansas Department of Corrections Customized Slabb X6 kiosk

Arkansas Department of Corrections Customized Slabb X6 kiosk

July saw the installation of customized X6 kiosks to forty one (41) offices of the Arkansas Department of Community Corrections. The interactive, self-service kiosks are located at probation offices throughout the state and are being utilized by selected minimum risk clients to check in with their probation officers at stipulated times throughout their supervision. We partnered with Marquis Software on this project to provide the specialized interface which would facilitate payments to the Information Network of Arkansas (INA) as well as the software which would enable the recognition of the user’s fingerprint and capture their signature and photo.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

St. Joseph’s Pilot Project with PatientWay

Customized Slabb X6 patient registration kiosk

Customized Slabb X6 patient registration kiosk

Throughout the year, we continued working with PatientWay ,a provider of emerging technologies for the healthcare system, utilizing our hardware to support their self-registration and way finding solutions. In October, a self-registration kiosk was installed at the heart failure clinic of the St. Joseph’s Ambulatory Care Centre. The kiosk, based on our X6 model, provides a more efficient registration process through an intuitive, check-in process for patients. This has resulted in shorter wait times, not to mention satisfied patients. We look forward to additional projects with PatientWay for 2014.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

IT Solutions

Customized X6 Payment Kiosk

Customized X6 Bill Payment Kiosk

We ended the year on a great note with our reseller based in Mexico, IT Solutions, by providing over 80 customized X6 kiosk units to the corporation that controls the largest television network in Mexico. The software for the units was provided by IT Solutions and will facilitate the receipt of payments from over 3 million subscribers. It is the first such venture in Mexico that will ultimately change the way the cable industry serves its customers. This was the second phase of the project which began with two pilot runs in specific areas of the country over a month long period, the success of which prompted the corporate wide rollout. Additional kiosks will also be deployed this year.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s definitely a wonderful way to start the year and we hope it reflects a trend that will continue throughout 2014. Our positives are only possible because of our great clients and we take this opportunity to thank them for their business and look forward to the new relationships that will be developed in the future. Happy 2014!

Micro Markets – Convenience with a Positive Return on Investment

An Avanti Markets micro market

An Avanti Markets micro market

Brad Bachtelle of Bachtelle & Associates (Tustin, CA) once said in an article, “Micro markets are taking us to tomorrow.”

 
It is a statement that is not only supported by the increasing popularity and emergence of micro market locations, but also the return they provide to owners. It can be argued that micro markets offer a “win/win” result, not only for owners but for customers as well. The advantages they provide for end users are well-documented in many vending articles, including our own blog items such as Self-service Kiosks Offer a Convenient Twist to the Office Lunchroom and The Advantages of Self-service Checkout Systemsthe businesses that implement them into their office locations and to those who purchase products from them.

 
• Convenience. Convenience. Convenience. The concept offers a store at the office with a wide selection of choices.

 
• Users can examine items prior to purchase and get the items they pay for, as opposed to losing their money if the item gets stuck, as often happens in a traditional vending machine.

 
• Fresh products, restocked daily that provide healthier options.

 
• Reduced travel time/time out of the office resulting in extended breaks. It’s a great incentive for increased productivity.

 
It is no surprise that the industry has grown so rapidly over the past two years. Research done by Bachtelle and Associates showed that micro market locations in the US rose 170% between 2011 and 2012. In December 2012 there were 2,642 active micro market locations with 2,724 active kiosks, with some high traffic locations having more than one kiosk. This represented a sales volume of $90.74 million. It is predicted that this number will increase within the coming years. Slabb supplied a little over 2,000 of self-service kiosks to micro market clients between 2011 and 2012.

 
Micro markets are becoming a more lucrative investment opportunity because they provide additional benefits than the traditional vending machine:

 
• Micro markets tend to attract 18% more visits per day with an average of 1.2 sales per day per visit, as compared with 0.7 sales in a vending area. This figure may be higher in some environments.

 
• The inventory management system is usually web-based, making inventory evaluation much easier, ensuring fresh inventory and up-to-date regulatory practices.

 
• Customized units can be created to fit different locations which is a major selling point, especially when there are space limitations.

 
• It allows operators to focus on providing an enhanced customer experience with enticing layouts and products that will ultimately increase profits, including the strategic placement of add-on purchase items near to the check-out kiosks.

 
• There is less maintenance and downtime of machines and the kiosks provide an easier transaction process especially for multiple items.

 
• There is also some pricing flexibility allowing operators to collect sales tax on items purchased unlike a traditional vending machine.

 
There is no doubt, however, that micro market products are often priced higher than products found in a traditional vending machine. They are typically 15% to 20% higher, with sales tax added to that. Pricing is usually set to offset the cost incurred due to theft of items, product spoilage, and the additional equipment, software and supplies that are needed. However, many employers often provide their employees with cards that give subsidized prices for healthy food options. It’s a small price to pay for great convenience.

The Self-service Kiosk – The Backbone of the Micro Market concept

There’s a new trend developing in offices and it might be considered an inevitable result of the increased demand on an employee’s time and the expectation of high productivity levels, ensuring deliverables are completed in a timely manner and to a preset standard. This new development is not ominous in any way, but actually quite practical. It’s what is termed as a micro market.

A search of the word may result in an economics-based definition, but the micro markets that continue to crop up in various work spaces can be described as a convenience store at the office, one that provides lunch, snacks and drinks that employees can purchase. What makes micro markets so unique, is not only the convenience of an accessible and often healthy lunch option, but the fact that they utilize a self-service model – one that relies on an ‘honor system’ where employees are expected to pay for their purchases with cash, credit or even via their cell phone.
It can be argued that the key element that makes the self-service option possible, thereby adding to the effectiveness of the concept, is the self-service kiosk that is required to take payments. Unlike the traditional vending machine, the kiosk must allow the user to scan or input items as well as pay for them. There are some kiosks that even allow the input of coupon codes at the time of purchase.

Just as important as choosing the right layout of the micro market to suit the space available is the choice of a kiosk which will be unmanned but must still be capable of handling multiple transactions as well as track and record data to provide accurate inventory and revenue reports . The design of the kiosk is similar to those found in other industries, but they must also have the following components:

 

 

• Cash acceptors , debit and credit card readers to facilitate various payment options including cash (bills and/or coins), credit and debit cards
• Card dispensers and issuers that can provide company-sponsored membership cards. These are usually used as loyalty cards where employees can accumulate points and is an incentive for them to make healthy choices

 

• Low end thermal printer to provide receipts to users.
Some optional components can also be used to provide added services including:
• A Keyboard and trackball – kiosks can be a great tool for

administering surveys or providing general information
• A secondary overhead monitor can be used for advertisements,

marketing, or for user instructions.
• Scanner – for coupons or promotions.
Micro Market self-service kiosks should also be durable and vandal resistant, especially if placed in a high traffic area/office. Slabb has been providing kiosks to several micro market solution providers for the past four years; with over 2500 kiosks in the field we use the feedback we receive to provide the most suitable options for our clients. We primarily utilize our Slabb X6 or C7E kiosk models (see below) because of their durability, and customize them to customer specifications. Both models provide a user-friendly platform and are ideal for high usage sites.

 

Slabb X6 - note the optional overhead screen

Slabb X6 – note the optional overhead screen

 

 

Slabb's C7E Kiosk

Slabb’s C7E Kiosk

 

 

 

Healthcare Solutions Developed with the Patient in Mind

When most people think about the kiosk industry’s healthcare solutions, they either think of the traditional kiosks that can give you a blood pressure reading, found at almost every neighborhood pharmacy, or they imagine a kiosk of the future, that can act as a stand in for a doctor, where symptoms are inputted and possible diagnoses are given, along with a relevant prescription.

 
There are kiosks that are being developed to do some of the latter, and there are more and more articles appearing about them such as, Too few primary care providers? Med-mail, videoconferencing kiosks, and web portals to the rescue by Andrew Litt, M.D. The kiosks actually don’t give a diagnosis, but a licensed physician can, via video chat, along with the help of an on-hand medical assistant.

 
But there’s another area of healthcare that could be greatly improved through the use of kiosks – patient management. It can be argued that the underlying premise of patient management is to provide answers and implement solutions to the question – “How can a patient’s experience of the healthcare system be improved?” As a result, any solutions developed should be based on the patient’s well-being, comfort and convenience.

 
Often as new patients, we find ourselves filling out what seems like numerous piles of paperwork before we can actually see the doctor. Or waiting for hours due to emergencies, or appointment delays. Suppose this could all be eliminated? Is it possible to have a totally efficient patient management system? I don’t have the answer, but there are certainly solutions that can be developed that can greatly assist the process. Some kiosk software solutions address these issues, along with others and include pre-registration (at home), on-site registration and wayfinding solutions. All facilitate a more efficient patient experience.

 
Slabb is always looking for solutions that can enhance our hardware offering. It was one of the reasons why, in developing our healthcare kiosk line, we partnered with PatientWay, a Canadian-based software solutions company that specializes in the development of emerging technologies for the healthcare industry. They believe that patients’ active involvement in the registration and check-in process can increase patient and staff satisfaction while saving healthcare organizations time and money.

 
They provide streamlined patient access through web, kiosk and mobile applications using the following products:

 
PatientWay PreReg
This always patients to schedule appointments and pre-register from their homes using a secure system. It eliminates the need for them to fill out any paperwork when they arrive for their appointment and works seamlessly with PatientWay’s Reminder product.

 

 

 

PatientWay Reminder
Once an appointment has been scheduled, PatientWay’s reminder system is automatically triggered and sends an automated voicemail, email, or instant message, reminding a patient of their appointment. It eliminates the need for the healthcare provider to make reminder calls and reduces the number of “no shows” which can cost healthcare providers time and money.

 

 

 

Slabb's X2 is the desktop model that is sometimes used for healthcare solutions

Slabb’s X2 desktop

Slabb's X6 is also a common kiosk model used in the healthcare industryPatientWay Check-in Kiosk
The check-in kiosk allows patients who haven’t pre-registered, to register on-site when they arrive for their appointment. It reduces the amount of time patients have to wait, as it provides a quick and easy registration platform eliminating the need to speak with a clerk. The kiosks are multilingual and facilitate card payments, surveys and provide up-to-date patient information.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Slabb’s Wayfinding Kiosk

Wayfinding Display
PatientWay’s wayfinding kiosk adds another element to the patient management system by providing hospital and healthcare maps that assist patients in getting to their final destination. The wayfinding displays also provide information about locations outside of the hospital including restaurants, parking and hotels.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

These systems have all been developed to assist both patients and healthcare facilitates to better manage their time and improve the overall patient experience. Their benefits include:

 

 

 

◦ Patient access to information and services 24/7
◦ Decreased wait times
◦ Value added services
◦ Updated customer database
◦ Customer feedback through online surveys
◦ Reduced staffing costs
◦ A positive ROI for healthcare providers
◦ They provide an excellent branding and advertising opportunity

 

 

 

For more information on PatientWay’s solutions, visit www.patientway.comand for information on Slabb’s hardware click here.

Efficient, Secure and Reliable Healthcare Solutions

One of the sectors that has increased its use of Self Check-In technology in recent times is the healthcare industry. More and more, institutions that provide healthcare services such as hospitals, medical centers and doctors’ offices are realizing the need to use technology that can assist in effective patient management, including reducing the cost of providing services, where in some cases, these savings are being passed on to patients. This technology not only facilitates greater efficiency but provides a more positive experience for patients and their families.

 

 

 

Customized Healthcare Solutions
patientwaySlabb has partnered with healthcare solutions provider PatientWay, champions of patient self-service technology. They provide streamlined patient access through web, kiosk and mobile applications using the following products:

 

•PatientWay PreReg (Appointment Pre-registration)
•PatientWay Reminder (Automatic appointment reminders)
•PatientWay Kiosk (Appointment Check-In, Card Transactions & Wayfinding)

 

 

 

Customized Slabb X6 patient registration kiosk

Customized Slabb X6 patient registration kiosk

 

 

 

 

This week St. Joseph’s Health Centre’s Ambulatory Care Centre (ACC) unveiled it’s new patient kiosk which will assist in providing a quicker and more efficient patient registration process. The hardware for the kiosk was provided by Slabb with software from PatientWay. Read more about St. Joseph’s new kiosk here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

To learn more about PatientWay’s Solutions go to www.patientway.com

Anyone starting a kiosk business, please be aware…

By Mike Masone – Sales Director, Slabb, Inc.

“Because of our position as a top tier OEM, Slabb urges anyone starting a kiosk business to read the story below carefully. Essentially a self-service solutions provider, American Entertainment Distributors (AED), has been forced to repay over $4 million to customer who purchased their DVD rental kiosks. The reason as stated by the FTC:

 

 
‘(AED) deceived consumers into paying $28,000 to $37,500 apiece for video rental vending machines by telling them they could expect to earn between $60,000 and $80,000 a year, or recoup their initial investment in six to 14 months. In fact, according to the FTC, the defendants had no reasonable basis for their claims and all investors lost money.’

 

 
We work with many customers who package our kiosks along with other components for self-service solutions and then offer the total package for sale to consumers and operators. Thankfully, this hasn’t happened with any of our customers. Remember though, whenever there is a wildly successful deployment (in this case Red Box) there will always be customers willing to invest or to jump on the bandwagon. There are complex reasons why sometimes things work out, and sometimes they don’t. Unless you are in a position to control all of these factors take care in your marketing and sales efforts to protect yourself against these types of actions.”
Read more about the case here: http://www.ftc.gov/opa/2013/08/aed.shtm

 

 

Slabb has no relationship or affiliation with AED or any of its customers

 

How will new technology affect the kiosk industry?

Over the past two weeks, I’ve come across some interesting technology articles on various newsfeeds. Three in particular stood out, especially because they have the potential to change the options available when it comes to kiosk customization.

 

 
The articles were:

 
Venture Beat’s HP’s first 3D printer could come as soon as next year
c|net’s Electronic makeup lets you control gadgets with a wink and along the same lines, two YouTube videos demonstrating Kinect for Windows (the Toy Store Scenario and the Retail Clothing Scenario)
Business Insider’s Researchers Have Discovered A Way For Us To Feel An Object’s Texture Through A Screen

 

 
Let’s examine each in more detail:

 
3D printers
You may wonder why this is on the list, as they’re currently a lot of players in the 3D market, however, HP is not only a household name but is well trusted by consumers and would more or less be the first well-known consumer printer company to enter the market. They have officially announced that there’s the possibility of them providing a 3D printer option as soon as 2014. HP’s reputation may have more businesses and consumers inclined to try the product.

 

 
What is 3D printing?
Short for three-dimensional, 3D is used to describe objects with depth; unlike a flat object that only has two dimensions that occur on the X and Y axis, just as on a graph, 3D objects also occur on the Z axis, which represents depth. 3D printing is therefore, the process of laying down successive layers of material using an additive process to make a three-dimensional object from a digital model.

 

 
The possibilities are endless with a 3D printing kiosk and interestingly, it already exists! Enter the DreamVendor – a 3D printing kiosk at Virginia Tech. It’s made up of four 3D printers with a system that can read designs from an SD card. Imagine being able to create just about anything and just dispensing it from the machine. Think of the marketing possibilities! A movie theatre with a ticket kiosk can, along with dispensing traditional tickets have the added bonus of a promotional item related to the movie like an action figure. It would definitely be an interesting concept.

 

 
RFID technology
Imagine controlling gadgets with the blink of an eye or with your nails. That’s what computer scientist, Katia Vega has been able to do using RFID technology. Her Beauty Technology, as she refers to it, includes the Blinklifier which allows users to turn devices on and off by just blinking, while using metallized false eyelashes and conductive eyeliner. Twinkle Nails uses false fingernails that allow the user to play a virtual piano. Each nail is coded with a different note using an RFID tag.

 

 
What is RFID technology?
Radio-frequency identification (RFID) is the use of radio-frequency electromagnetic fields to transfer data, wirelessly. It allows the automatic identification of objects with tracking tags that contain electronically stored information.

 

 
RFID technology has been around for quite some time and is already used in kiosks and other devices. A perfect example would be a barcode scanner. What makes the technology interesting is that its use is becoming quite extended, as with the example above. Imagine being able to go to a kiosk or a bill payment machine and completing your transaction with the blink of an eye?

 

 
A similar type of technology is the Kinect sensor which uses gestures to control electronic devices. We’ve all played the games, and I can admit that I’m still amazed by this technology. The Kinect videos depicted on YouTube allow users to experience products prior to purchasing. It’s a great concept that would be a great fit for retail outlets that use self-service options such as kiosks.

 

 
Texture on a screen
Business Insider reports that researchers are discovering new ways to enhance touch-based devices by enabling users to feel textures on them. The technology works using electric fields that mimic the feeling of ridges, bumps and edges, generating the illusion of touch in midair.

 

 
Disney has already announced that they have been able to recreate the feel of various surface textures on a smooth object using electrostatic forces. This can be recreated on any smooth surface – a wall, monitor, and tablet or phone screens.

 

 
Imagine being able to feel the texture of clothing when purchasing online. It’s another great feature that can enhance the self-service experience.

 

 
These are just three examples of new technological discoveries. These discoveries, along with other advancements, will continue to provide us with alternatives to the way we currently use devices. This can only be a plus for the kiosk industry as some of these new technologies can be incorporated to enhance the overall user experience.

In-store Kiosks: A Happy Medium for Traditional Shoppers?

Earlier this week, I recall skimming through an article which indicated that there were still some shoppers (I can’t remember the percentage) that hold fast to the “brick and mortar” experience, even to the extent that they are totally averse to any form of online shopping.

 

 
This is surprising, considering that Forrester’s US Online Retail Forecast, 2012 to 2017 predicts that online retail in 2013 will reach $262 billion — a rise of 13% over last year’s sales. Looking forward, it is expected that “eCommerce will grow at a compound annual growth rate of 9% between 2012 and 2017”. It is evidence that, contrary to the article I read, customers are getting more and more comfortable with online purchasing whether it is via their phones, PCs or tablets.

 

 
Despite these statistics, I do imagine that there are still a number of shoppers that prefer the traditional shopping experience that includes being able to hold and examine potential purchase items, converse with a sales associate and browse for items that may be of interest. It makes me realize that the term “retail therapy” now comes in many forms and one should not discount the peace of mind that strolling through a mall or shopping center, maybe grabbing a bite to eat, or interacting with others in this social setting can bring whether purchasing items or not.

 

 
The percentage of shoppers that fall into this category are still customers, and maybe businesses can create a happy medium by providing them with the option of using online services through an in-store kiosk. In-store kiosks date back to the ‘80s when the Florsheim Express Shop was introduced to all Florsheim retail stores. This innovative in-store computer kiosk allowed customers to order any shoe from the entire Florsheim line, rather than rely on what the physical store had in stock, creating more purchasing options for shoppers.

 

 

 

Some additional benefits of in-store kiosks include:

 

 
The best of both worlds – customers have the option of seeking the assistance of a sales associate or they can make their purchases on their own (whichever they choose).

 

 
A lesson in online shopping – for traditional shoppers it’s a great opportunity to experience how online shopping works within their comfort zone, knowing that assistance can be provided, if needed, while using the kiosk.

 

 
Enhanced shopping experience – Due to the ability of in-store kiosks to store customer data, including purchasing habits, with every use customers have an enhanced experience, as the kiosks can be programmed to highlight promotions, offer options and provide coupons based on customer preferences.

 

 
Say goodbye to illusive items – ever saw an item being advertised online and you couldn’t locate it at the store. This problem is eliminated as the kiosk can provide the item’s physical location at the store. The kiosk may also have items that are out of stock at the store or provide more color and size options.

 

 
Knowledge is power – a kiosk can provide product specs and details that often aren’t apparent by sight. It can also include warranty information, with product and price comparisons.

 

 
Added features – kiosks give retailers the opportunity to provide affiliate services, online gift registries, loyalty card programs and an avenue to provide customer feedback or apply for vacant positions.

 

 

In-store kiosks can provide a self-service experience for those who prefer this method of shopping, while still allowing others to enjoy the personalized service that comes from interacting with a customer representative, while still having an opportunity to try an online option if desired.

The Advantages of Self-service Checkout Systems

One of Slabb's Self-service checkout kiosks at an Avanti Markets display

One of Slabb’s Self-service checkout kiosks at an Avanti Markets display

In our blog, Self-service Kiosks Offer a Convenient Twist to the Office Lunchroom, we highlighted the new trend of micro markets at the workplace which have become an alternative to the traditional lunch room. It’s not only a convenient, efficient way for employees to get their meals, but it also offers a healthy alternative because of the meal options that are made available.

 

 
One of the unique features of the micro market is that it is based on a self-service model, that not only allows the customer/employee to choose the items they want, but also uses a payment system that relies on the honesty of users to pay for the items they have selected without having a cashier or any personnel to oversee the process. This model is also found in several grocery outlets where customers can scan and pay for items via a checkout machine.

 

 
It’s not a perfect system and there are some users who will not abide by the ‘honor system’. Last year a British report that surveyed grocery shoppers that utilized self-service checkout, found that almost a third of those that used the machines admitted to stealing by trying to take extra items without paying or tricking the machines by inputting incorrect information; while a quarter of those that did not steal admitted that they didn’t do so because they were afraid of getting caught.

 

 
Despite this, there are many advantages of a self-checkout system, many users embrace the convenience it offers and therefore use the service in the way it was intended. Some may even argue that it’s a system that is more suitable for an office setting, with co-workers that know each other and already abide by both written and unwritten codes of conduct which they agreed to when hired. Here are additional pros to self-service checkout systems:

 

 
Did we mention convenience?
There is often a need to have an option that is quick and convenient at the workplace, especially when there’s a project to be finished or deadlines to meet. A micro market with a self-checkout option eliminates the need to leave the office.

A self-checkout lane at a grocery store, reduces checkout wait time and creates a more pleasant shopping experience.

 

 

 

They’re cost efficient
It eliminates the need to have a manned station, thereby reducing labor costs. These cost savings are sometimes passed on to customers and reflected in the cost of some items.

This may not be as obvious in an office setting, but the system reduces employee downtime due to extended breaks and lunches, and encourages a more productive workforce.

 

 

 

A great source of information
Businesses can use self-checkout kiosks as an opportunity to update customers on new merchandise, prices or general company information. It can also suggest offers based on the customer’s purchasing habits.

At the office the kiosk can promote healthy food options or provide reminders about products that might be offered in the future.

 

 

 

• Multiple payment options
No cash? That’s no problem with a self-checkout system, as they are often set up to take multiple forms of payment including debit and credit cards.

 

 

 

No limit
Before self-checkout lanes, the fastest checkout at the grocery store was usually the ’10 Items or Less’ lane; with self-checkout there is no limit to the number of items you can scan.

 

 

 

There are many merits to self-checkout systems but they seem to work best in the office setting where there is more control and a greater likelihood that ‘the honor system’ would be respected. This system in an office is also complemented by the healthy alternatives provided, timely replenishment that ensures freshness and 24/7 security.

But there are also measures that can be put in place, if implemented at a grocery store or retail outlet such as surveillance cameras or employees on the floor that can monitor the stations from time to time.

 

 

10 Interesting Facts about Kiosks

We recently did a blog on the Evolution of the Kiosk, and many articles have been written on this topic by experts in the industry. I’m always drawn to topics like this because I’m always interested in seeing how technology has changed so many products, not only physically but changes in product capacity and capability…Kiosks are no different.

 
There are so many technological advancements that have changed what kiosks can do and the amount of space and components they now require – from card readers to touch screens to multitouch screens that enhance the level of interactivity with the user. There is no doubt that kiosks will continue to evolve with new technological developments.

 
That’s why it’s important to study how kiosks have been redefined to suit consumers’ needs and wants and continues to do so. It’s also a good way to figure out what works and what doesn’t for users, ensuring that the same mistakes are not repeated.

 
So here’s a look at ten interesting facts I learnt about kiosks:

 
1. The word kiosk is derived from the Middle Persian word kōšk and referred to a small center that sold goods or services.

 
2. Interactive kiosks utilize a computer terminal that provides functionality through customized software.

 
3. The main kiosk input devices include a screen (LCD or touchscreen), keyboard and trackball.

 
4. Kiosks can also have optional components such as bill acceptors, card readers, printers and handsets.

 
5. In 1977, Murray Lappe, a pre-med student at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign developed the first self-service, interactive kiosk.

 
6. The first successful network of interactive kiosks used for commercial purposes was developed in 1985 by shoe retailer the Florsheim Shoe Co. The network included 600 kiosks that provided images and video promotions for customers who wanted to purchase shoes that were not available at their retail location. The kiosk allowed the user to not only select the style, size and shoe color but also pay for the product via the kiosk.

 
7. The first commercial kiosk with internet connection was displayed in 1991, at Comdex. It was used to locate missing children.

 
8. A tradeshow for organizations looking to deploy interactive self-service kiosks was launched in 1997 by KioskCom. They continue to provide these services hosting tradeshows twice a year and offering companies education and demonstrations for successful self-service deployments.

 
9. The first state-wide deployment of interactive kiosks was done by Imperial Multimedia in 2007. They installed interactive kiosks in 31 Virginia State Parks which provided emergency information, park overviews, way finding services, video tours and printable maps.

 
10. It is estimated that over 131,000 kiosk terminals exist in the U.S. alone.

A New Meaning to Self-service

In many of my previous blogs,I would have spoken about the importance of convenience, especially in the world we live in today. Our lives seem more hectic than ever and we have access to so much more information that most of us are well-informed enough about the technology available and what it makes possible and we’re definitely not shy about demanding it.

 

 

A lot of our demands for convenience have been answered through self-service options, including self-servic,e interactive kiosks. Technological advancements also makes it possible to access just about anything or any service via a kiosk. I guess with this knowledge, I shouldn’t have been surprised when I encountered some of the more traditional kiosks, or vending machines. Traditional in look and feel – glass cases with products and the option to use cash, coins or credit cards to pay for and select the item you want. Imagine my surprise then when I found out some of the different items being sold from these machines:
 

'Cup-a-noodles' kiosk

‘Cup-a-noodles’ kiosk.

 

 

 

 

 

  • This would have come in really handy during my college years when I lived on Ramen noodles

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Egg vending machine

Egg vending machine

 

 

 

 

  • Egg vending machine

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Flower kiosk

Flower kiosk

 

 

 

 

  •  Talk about facilitating a last minute gesture of love or kindness after all the shops are already closed. Sure to please your significant other.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hello Kitty kiosk

Hello Kitty kiosk

 

 

 

  • A young girl’s dream…And you don’t even have to stand in line at the shop in the mall

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sushi Vending Machine

Sushi Vending Machine

 

 

 

 

  •  Sushi anyone? Not sure how much I’d trust this one.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Car Vending Machine

Car Vending Machine

 

 

 

 

  • Who needs a car dealership when you can purchase your next vehicle from a vending machine?

 

 
Then there were the machines in weird locations:
 

 

Beverage machine on Mt. Fuji

Beverage machine on Mt. Fuji

 

 

 

 

  • Great idea to have water handy while climbing Mt. Fuji

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Vending Machine on a Train

Vending Machine on a Train

 

 

 

 

  • This will almost make the commute to and from work a little more bearable.

 

 

 

 
It just goes to show…If there is enough of a demand for something…It can always be facilitated.

Self-service Healthcare Kiosks: Convenience When Inconveniently Ill

Nothing makes you more aware of your health than the inconvenience of being ill. Last week was a rough week, not only because I seemed to have the debilitating virus that is currently going around, but it also wiped my three year old out. If it’s one thing that’s really difficult when you’re ill, is having to take care of someone else who is also ill. But that’s all a part of parenting.

 
We often take our health for granted; only dreading the consequences when we become ill. Despite knowing this however, I still procrastinate when having to purchase vitamins after having taken the last one in the bottle. I never have the medication I need that can stave off the effects of the common cold or a headache. It’s always an inconvenient rush to the pharmacy or convenience store at the onset of symptoms.

 
Of course I wondered, being in the industry I’m in, if easier access would improve my preparedness for these things. A kiosk that dispenses over-the-counter or prescription drugs, even though not as far-fetched as previously thought (the FDA held talks last year with stakeholders regarding the feasibility of this concept) would need so many approvals that the reality of this is quite a few years away. But there are other kiosks that can assist in our efforts to have healthier lives – kiosks that take your blood pressure, measure your height versus your weight, dispensing Body Mass Index (BMI) stats to make sure you’re on the right track health wise.

 
A recent article by Forbes discussed the many functions of new healthcare kiosks which included vision testing, physician consultations via live videoconferencing, symptom assessment and follow up online programs.

 
The article also listed a few of the benefits that could be derived from these machines including:
• Greater reach – access by individuals who may not visit a doctor regularly for various reasons
• Medications are available on the spot, with the patient more likely to purchase it in a timely manner
• The advertising potential creates an additional revenue stream for businesses hosting the kiosk
• Better access and greater ability to market to a highly targeted audience.

 
It’s definitely an option that would provide added convenience to patients and might even save lives through prevention and early detection.

Kiosks are Becoming the Premier Solution for Modern Businesses

More and more, as businesses compete for market share they are realizing their customers want a high level of customer service that is efficient, knowledgeable and user friendly. Countless business owners have done the research and are realizing that self-service options are preferred by their customers. The evolution of the banking industry is a testament to this. Could we even imagine a world without Automatic Teller Machines (ATMs), online and telephone banking? Would we have ever believed that we could simply take photos of our checks and deposit them via our cell phone?
Anyone looking into the history of the ATM would know that these machines were the forerunners for modern day kiosks. Businesses are discovering that kiosks are doing for many businesses, what the ATM has done for the banking industry – provide an effective self-service option. They are unmatched in their ability to effectively demonstrate a business’ products and services in a unique one-on-one setting with customers.

 

 

Kiosks for SaleMost of us look for ways to optimize our time and as a result want to spend less time doing mundane or routine tasks and so we embrace and advance with technological changes that make our lives easier. Moreover, we don’t just implement them in our homes, but we also come to expect them as consumers, at the places where we do business. As a result, companies can’t afford to be left behind in the technological evolution, as this could be detrimental to their bottom line. Consumers have many options and we do not hesitate to exercise them, especially if it means avoiding inconvenient situations. Kiosks are one way businesses can ensure that they keep up, not only with the demands of their customers, but with their competition as well.

 

In a global study conducted by Steven Van Belleghem, an expert in innovative marketing, social media and conversational marketing, he concluded that consumers see self-service as the perfect solution to their demands, with it leading to higher efficiency, happier clients, increased sales. The study, which was done in collaboration with SSI and translation agency, No Problem, found the following:
• Self-service should take place throughout the sales cycle from pre-sales, to sales to post sales.
• Self-service at the shopping point is becoming increasingly important .
• Consumer data is the secret weapon that takes the self-service economy to the next level.

 

The numbers told the story:
• 81% of respondents prefer that companies use client data to shorten waiting times when they have a complaint. This would present a perfect opportunity for companies that use self-service kiosks that allow customers to input data during the sales process.
• 90% of respondents indicated speed was important when they had an issue with a company that needed to be resolved.
• 40% of respondents preferred self-service over human contact for their future contact with companies. For more information on the survey visit The Conversation Manager

 

At Slabb, we believe that our line of kiosks can support any business within any industry. Our customers can choose kiosks that best suit their needs from freestanding to outdoor to wall mount and desktop. We also provide Digital Signage solutions and custom kiosk creation options, providing our clients with exactly the type of kiosk that their business requires. We give our customers the ability to choose from an array of pre-made kiosks, choosing the exact skin, finish and color they desire. Our custom design tools to build a one-of-a-kind kiosk from the ground up by picking exactly the features they need and creating a product that is tailor-designed for their individual requirements.
For more information on Slabb and its entire range of kiosk products, visit www.slabbkiosks.com.

 

The kiosk pictured above is one of 9 used X6 models on sale at a cost of US$2250 each. It includes freight and a 6 month warranty.

If it’s about convenience, self-service kiosks are the answer

A company should offer a good product, great customer service, exceptional after-sales service and options to attract customers. But even with all of this, is the deciding factor when purchasing a product all about convenience?

 
We may know what product we want, if not, we will look at various options. It is great when the salesperson we communicate with is knowledgeable and helpful. It’s also a plus if there’s a warranty on the product and the assurance that having the product maintained and repaired can be done when needed. But suppose we get all of this at the store, we have our much needed product in hand and look up only to face a meandering line. Just think of the angst you experience at Thanksgiving and Christmas when you’re faced with those lines. It can also be like this if the store or product is popular. (Remember Tickle Me Elmo some years ago? Or have you ever attempted to purchase the latest iPhone on its release date? ). Would facing this, ultimately change your decision about getting the product? For some people, it wouldn’t.

 
I think for me it would. I have three children, two under the age of four and my time is literally never my own. There are so many options and alternatives now that a long line is definitely a deterrent for me. It is even more infuriating when there are several check-out counters but there are only one or two being manned. I often wonder why businesses do this when they can choose the alternative of providing a self-service method such as an interactive kiosk. Think of how much easier flying is when you check-in beforehand or you avoid the lines by going straight to the check-in kiosk.

 
Some may argue that it may seem impersonal and limit a company’s ability to create a lasting relationship with a customer. Could it also be a missed sales opportunity to promote the benefits of additional products at the check-out line? A case to go with your phone? Or a scarf on sale that would go brilliantly with your outfit?”

 
I beg to differ. There have been so many times when things are just so busy the salesperson forgets to even try to sell a pack of gum, far less for anything else. Besides which, I would always return to a store that considers my time, and makes my shopping experience easier. On that account, being less harassed by the sales experience, I would even take the time to answer a quick survey at the kiosk, or entertain add-ons to my purchase if offered as part of the self-service check-out process. Which by the way, the computer will never forget to ask.

 
Interactive kiosks are the machinery of choice when it comes to giving the public as many options as possible when conducting transactions. We used to be limited to Automatic Teller Machines (ATMs), but now self-service kiosks are everywhere, from banks to supermarkets, to every type of retail location where transactions take place.

 
Companies can choose this as an option to give their customers a higher level of service and watch customer loyalty increase along with their customer base. These days, the more convenience a company offers, the higher the degree of customer satisfaction they’ll enjoy. Depending on your industry, you can choose outdoor models, freestanding, desktop or wall-mounted self-service kiosks that offer superior convenience and serve a variety of needs.

 
Consumers have become comfortable with less contact with customer service representatives, and more contact with self-service options when transacting business. From banking transactions, to other types of payments, and even ticketing for concerts and airfare, consumers are more than willing to engage technology as long as it is user-friendly. The more technology companies embrace the happier they’ll make their customers, increasing loyalty and their bottom line. Offering the utmost in convenience wherever possible is the key to the future of commerce.

 
It’s important for companies to choose the right kiosk provider that can understand their needs, not to mention service and support for the unit. A company with experience, that will ensure that every element of programming and maintenance will be taken care of with the utmost care and precision, as well as ease-of-use for both customers and employees. A kiosk provider should offer custom solutions with both hardware and software to ensure smooth operation at all times.

 
Slabb, Inc. can provide these services and so much more. Click here for more information on how they can help you increase sales.

The Halo Effect created by interactive, self-service kiosks

By Mike Masone

The Halo Effect has been getting a lot of play in the past few years (see iPod, Apple -> iAnything, Apple. That endless source of Truthy information, Wikipdedia, defines the halo effect as:
“The halo effect is a cognitive bias whereby the perception of one trait (i.e. a characteristic of a person or object) is influenced by the perception of another trait (or several traits) of that person or object. An example would be judging a good-looking person as more intelligent.”
What could this possibly have to do with kiosks? A quality self-service, interactive kiosk can have a halo effect. Sleek, convenient, not having to stand in line, yet having all the information you need at your fingertips. The effect – your company will be perceived as sleek, an organization that values its customers and puts their needs first, thinking of their convenience and time.
Let’s look at the alternative…Bad interface, snippy staff, unattractive layout, stale products…Your company will be perceived likewise.

 

The halo effect is important and can be used to a certain extent to offset some shortcomings by presenting your client with the perception of your company as sleek, attractive and responsive. Now, you can either go out and hire a staff of sleek, attractive and responsive people or you can deploy sleek, attractive and responsive kiosks where they are needed, to offset some of your company’s more devilish shortcomings.

 

For more information on some of Slabb’s Solutions visit www.slabbkiosks.com

Introducing a Self-Service Kiosk to your Business

If you have been thinking about implementing a self-service kiosk into your business plan, you are on the right track to improving the revenue of your company. The self-service kiosk is more common than ever and they continue to grow in popularity. Customers love the freedom of paying their bills, buying groceries and movie tickets at a self-service kiosk. Companies love this concept because it enables them to handle a higher volume of clientele, without having to hire and train additional employees. Basically, the self-service kiosk is a money-making tool that can be customized to suit any business model. After deciding to try a self-service kiosk in your business, the next step is to gather information on the process of selecting, installing and maintaining it and most importantly, selecting the right kiosk manufacturer.

 

Slabb X6 model, self-service kiosk

Slabb X6 model, self-service kiosk

The Three Components of a Self-Service Kiosk

Thinking about adding a self-service kiosk to your company is a fantastic way to grow your business. Before jumping into the selection process, you should acquire as much information as possible on how a self-service kiosk works and how to choose the best option for your business.

Hardware

The hardware is the machine itself. The self-service kiosk will come in indoor, outdoor and table or wall mountable models. Determine which best suits your business. An outdoor model will be hardy and vandal-proof, while a table mountable option will be sleek and eye-catching. Next, determine how complex your self-service kiosk will have to be. Will it require just a touch screen, or will you need a card reader and printers?

Software

If you are in a business which is similar to others who also use self-service kiosks, there may be off-the-shelf software programs which can be provided by the kiosk manufacturer. Self-service software can also be custom designed for more unique and product/service-specific companies. The purpose of software is to display the kiosk instructions and company information in a format that would be most suitable for your customers. The goal is to provide a customer service experience that is just as simple or even easier and more efficient than interacting with staff. The software will also protect the PC’s operating system from unauthorized changes and interfaces with peripherals inside the kiosk, such as cards and printers.

Post Production

Post production services for a self-service kiosk will depend on the size of the project. Some services that may be required to implement your kiosk plan into a reality can include site acquisition, installation and on-site maintenance. Typically all of these services can be completed by the owner of a small self-service kiosk.

Where to Purchase a Self Service Kiosk?

Slabb’s customer support can answer any questions and help you to make the right choices when purchasing a self-service kiosk for your business. We are a full service company, including custom designing, consulting and project management. At Slabb, our experienced technical team will see your project from start to finish. Visit us at http://www.slabbkiosks.com

for more information.