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Executive Insight Q&A: How Self-Service Can Improve Customer Service and Back of House Operations

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Stone Shih, Product Manager, Advantech

Our research suggests that hospitality guests expect access to self-service options, not just in response to the pandemic but because of evolving goals and intentions. How is technology responding to this new demand?

Technology like digital inventory tracking can let an automated purchasing system do the work for you. Having self-service kiosks to handle the transactions allows employees to focus their efforts on customer service and back-of-house operations. There is talk of developing these devices further to incorporate recognition technology, which will allow the system to suggest orders and payment types according to a customer's visual and verbal signals. Until then, the current kiosks will continue to increase efficiency and profitability.

For hospitality brands looking to implement self-service technology, what options do you recommend? Can you speak to potential return on investment? 

Self-ordering technology brings a superior quality of work while minimizing errors. When the industry implements the new point-of-sale kiosk, customers are able to browse the menu, create customized orders, and pay for their meal entirely on their own. All this, along with suggestions for upsells and cross-sells, encourages diners to order more -- which will be a huge return on investment. Self-ordering kiosks for the food & beverage industry, self-check-in/out kiosks for the hotel industry, and self-ticketing kiosks for the transportation and entertainment industry are the most common and helpful tools that we recommend for hospitality brands.

How can technology help hospitality brands to better manage their facilities and staff?

Technology is advancing at a faster pace than ever before, and this is changing both the expectations of patrons as well as the way in which hospitality brands conduct their business. Many brands manage their facilities using self-ordering to take over manual ordering. While others use Cloud services to provide real-time sales analysis, customers behavior analysis, monitor, and remote control their products without having to go onsite for troubleshooting. Hospitality brands are streamlining and automating the point of sale while redeploying staff to assist customers in answering questions, exploring products, and engaging with the store environment.

As we look to the future of hospitality tech, we see opportunities for more guest-facing touchpoints and ever-increasing personalization. How will the overall guest experience evolve?

Technology is the key ingredient for success in modern hospitality. Many brands have created multiple access points for their customers to purchase a product. Data collected are analyzed to help brand owners allocate their resources appropriately and optimize their touchpoints. These devices reduce errors, decrease congestion, improve customer service, and increase order capacity. The overall guest experience will continue to change as customers want faster and more accurate service or purchasing experience. Even though 86% of customers still want human interaction during their purchases, this number could go down soon as companies continue to create apps, virtual shopping experiences, and self-checkout systems.

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