Wednesday, 9 December 2009

The problem with self-service checkouts

Although this piece in the BBC News Magazine is about self-service checkouts in supermarkets there are still a few things we can learn from it. (And no, we still haven't done anything about putting self-service issue in any of our libraries, so my interest in this is purely on a precautionary basis.)
  • Self-service means that the customer is doing all the work. We need to make sure we're not also making them cope with a pile of unnecessary inconvenience.
  • We also need to make sure that we're not making the customer do anything that would make them realise that they're doing all the work and it might be quicker to just take the items to a staffed issue desk.
  • You need staff to support customers using the self-service facility. (We knew that already but too many self-service developments have been funded on the basis that there'll be an immediate saving on staffing costs.)
  • Many customers want the interaction with a human being, we are social animals after all. We need to respect this added value to the transaction (and get it right!) as this often makes the difference between a repeat visit or not.

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