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Stop Customer Walk-outs with Self Service Tech


While consumer interest in self-service technology continues to increase, many hospitality operators have been behind the curve in offering the solutions. However, self-service technology is no longer an issue of whether or not to deploy a kiosk. From mobile apps and iPads to room service ordering via a television set, today’s self-service technology requires a multi-media strategy, putting even more control into the consumer’s hands.

A 2012 consumer opinion survey, reported on and published in HT' 2012 s Self-Service Technology Study, shows that consumers in fact prefer a hotel or QSR operator that offers a kiosk or other self-service option over one that does not, and that they'll be willing to walk out of an establishment and go elsewhere before waiting in line.

Customers will not wait in line
Increasingly time-starved consumers do not want to wait in line, and many view self-service options as faster, offering shorter lines (and in the QSR segment, more accurate in terms of food ordering). According to the HT study, half of consumers surveyed (50%) have walked away from a QSR in the last 12 months because of long lines. Nearly one third have walked out more than once in the past year alone, all because the line was too long.

According to the study, "This is particularly true for the 18-to 34-year-old segment of consumers, as well as those with children. The survey shows 63% of younger consumers and 61% of consumers with children have left a QSR in the past because of long lines."

Additionally, when asked to rank the benefits of kiosks at hotels and QSRs, faster service and shorter lines top the list for both. More than half (56%) also view the use of a kiosk as giving them more control in both the QSR and hotel environment, and again, the 18- to 34-year-old segment stands out as important, with 96% reporting kiosks as a benefit in a QSR and 94% at a hotel.

As the availability and use of smart phones and other mobile devices grows, consumers are becoming more conditioned to using new options for ordering food from a QSR, including the Internet and text messaging. In fact, many QSR operators now offer free mobile apps for customers to place orders. 

Here's a snapshot from the study of consumer willingness to use alternative methods for placing a food order outside the brick-and-mortar restaurant:

  • Via the Internet, with 59% of consumers saying they would do so (this jumps to 59% participation in the 18- to 34-year old segment).
  • Via text message, with 27% of overall consumers willing to participate, and 44% of 18 to 34 year-olds.

To download the complete 2012 Self-Service Technology Study, click here.




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