How to Advance Your Business’ Journey to Resilience and Customer Success

KEY TAKEAWAYS

  • Self-service capabilities offer a variety of contactless, convenient experiences at retail locations including stores, banks, hotels, and more.

  • Innovative services can promote social distancing by reducing wait times and lines and reducing the need to interact with associates.

  • Interactive kiosks can integrate computer vision and edge computing capabilities to boost revenue opportunities. They can provide new services and advertisements, track the flow of people for safety, and help reduce shrinkage in retail.

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Today’s retailers face a competitive and uncertain economic environment. They are striving to continue to meet – and exceed – customer expectations with a more personalized service, while seeking innovative ways to help keep everyone safe in-store. Building business resilience depends on getting this right. However, businesses in different sectors are facing divergent sets of challenges.

Retailer stores must ensure they know what types of product each shopper likes and provide appropriate recommendations and offers. They must also do all they can in order to maximize efficiencies that could impact the bottom line. This can range from optimizing supply chain processes to ensuring store associates have access to the tools and resources they need to do their jobs as well as possible.

The banking industry continues to feel the pressure of increasing customer expectations as well. The rise of online and mobile banking means customers now expect an increasing number of services to be available digitally and in a quick turn, serve-yourself model.

Hotel operators, meanwhile, must show loyal customers that their regular custom is appreciated and rewarded, while creating a seamless and convenient experience for every guest.

These challenges have evolved over the last few years and will continue to do so, as digital technology continues to enable innovative services. It can be tricky to achieve all of these goals at once, but it is possible. IoT and AI-based computer vision technologies can play an important role in your organization’s resilient, customer-centric future.

Quick, Contactless Experiences are Possible in a Range of Retail Environments

Grocery stores and retail store chains can integrate point of sale (PoS) capabilities into self-service kiosks to enable customers to scan and purchase goods without needing to interact with an associate. This can help reduce wait times and line lengths in stores, helping to keep customers moving and supporting social distancing. Retailers can also reduce shrinkage by integrating computer vision and artificial intelligence (AI) into their self-service kiosks. This can help ensure that the product scanned is the same as the product placed in the bagging area, and that the customer has scanned all the items in their cart. Meanwhile, the kiosks can also display offers and advertising to the customer, based on their current or past purchases.

Financial institutions like banks, insurers and credit unions provide a wide range of services that don’t require the involvement of a teller, and so are well suited for a self-service model. Customers can use kiosks to open new accounts, order card replacements, book appointments, check their balance, review investment portfolios, explore upgrades and perks, withdraw cash, and pay bills. By placing kiosks outside of the branch, banks can provide customers with these services even outside of office hours and/or in more convenient locations. This offers customers more flexibility while enabling banks to more effectively control the number of people that need to come into a branch and so help reduce overcrowding.

Recent advances in visual and AI capabilities will help enable more innovative services that can also help promote social distancing. For example, customers can use a kiosk to connect with a live teller in another location via videoconference. AI-enabled kiosks can use facial recognition to add another layer of security to customers’ transactions without the need for a face-to-face check.

Hotels and resorts can help reduce wait times and lines for check-in and check-out by offering guests the option to use a self-service kiosk. Automating these processes helps free up staff to focus on more complex, higher-value tasks that can help enhance the guest’s stay, while also helping to avoid having large numbers of people waiting in a limited space. Guests using a kiosk may also receive tailored offers and services to help boost revenue opportunities while ensuring they get a good, quick experience.

Computer vision and other edge computing capabilities can be installed with new or existing kiosks to help businesses ensure that they are aligning with the latest health guidelines and reducing the risk of infection for customers and staff.

Providing a Safe Shopping Environment

Computer vision and other edge computing capabilities can be installed with new or existing kiosks to help businesses ensure that they are aligning with the latest health guidelines and reducing the risk of infection for customers and staff.

Computer vision technology (which can be built into a kiosk, or installed using a smart camera) can help monitor the number of people in a given space at any one time. By keeping count of number and flow of people, it can automatically flag if an area becomes too crowded to allow for effective social distancing, or if people are moving in the wrong direction through a one-way space, for example.

Meanwhile, temperature sensors can be used to check anyone coming into a venue for fever, helping to provide reassurance to customers and staff alike that those around them are healthy.

It is critical that all these devices stay up and running at all times to provide a seamless customer experience and maintain a ‘Covid safe’ environment. Remote management capabilities support this, by enabling devices to be checked, maintained and updated remotely. This helps to minimize any downtime as well as reducing the need for technicians to pay physical visits to busy store environments.

Your Hardware Checklist: How to Deliver for Customers

When implementing self-service kiosks and other Internet of Things (IoT) solutions, retail, banking and hospitality organizations should ensure they select the right hardware for their chosen use cases. Key questions you should ask to include:

What level of security do I require? Especially for banking services, where personal data is often required, the secure operation of digital self-service kiosks is paramount. Customers should feel their transactions and personal data are safe. Invest in hardware with endpoint security features that have a deeper layer of built-in protection. When using other IoT solutions like computer vision, ensure both hardware and software are built with the security measures needed to maintain anonymity and personal privacy.

How do I ensure my devices are easily manageable? When operating a fleet of kiosks, smart cameras or other devices, it’s essential that they can be easily and remotely managed in real-time. This helps merchants to quickly update menus or services and push out important security updates, for example. The right remote management technology can also reduce downtime by ensuring the operating system isn’t required to quickly and securely bring hardware back online.

How important is connectivity? If a kiosk loses connection mid-transaction, customers will inevitably be unhappy. This is especially true in banking – what if a customer is left unable to make a secure transaction? Or get confirmation that a time-sensitive bill was paid? Strong, reliable connectivity and sufficient bandwidth are a must.

Can I change how my devices are used over time? Retailers, banks and hoteliers understandably want assurances that the capabilities of their kiosks can evolve along with customer expectations. Ensure that any hardware you invest in today has the flexibility to evolve and support new services and capabilities over time.

What can I do with all the data my devices will capture? IoT devices like smart cameras, sensors, edge computing hubs and kiosks running computer vision applications can generate a vast amount of data. Low-latency edge processing is required to make sense of it all. By doing so, businesses can gain powerful insights into their customers and generate additional revenue. With audience analytics, grocery stores can provide tailored offers based on the characteristics of each individual customer. For banks, authentication technologies can speed up the log-in process, meaning a greater range of services can be offered through the self-service kiosk.