When we survey businesses and organizations that are interested in developing self-service networks, one of our first questions is, “What is your primary purpose in building a kiosk network?” The typical answer is, “We’d like to do something novel and innovative and really brand our organization as technologically modern.”
That might be a great answer from a PR perspective, but on the practical side, anyone considering a self-service option needs to be more concern with who actually is going to be using the kiosk. Not coincidentally, this is our blog topic for today, continuing our larger discussion on essential steps to consider before building any self-service network. Our last blog focused on predicting your needs, and this week is about anticipating the audience that will actually engage with your self-service solution.
While there are advantages to embracing the “next best thing” in technology, it is essential to consider whether or not the end user will use it. This brings me to a publicly funded attraction I was consulting with that was about to spend $50,000-$100,000 to develop an iPhone app for their users. While this sounded great, I had a few important questions for them. How many of their 2 million annual visitors actually owned an iPhone? How many of that number would actually know about, let alone download, the app? How would that app help to increase business? The answers to all of those questions was, “We’re not sure. We want to develop it and see what happens.”
Kiosk networks typically cost more money than what that client was going to spend on the app. You not only have to pay for software development but durable hardware enclosures as well. If you’re a company like Google and you can afford to throw money at random ideas to see if they pay off, then that approach may not be a problem. Unfortunately, most of us don’t have the resources to take the “build and see” approach.
Predicting how an audience, and your audience in particular, will react to your self-service solution is a major consideration. Adopting new technology can help your business stay at the forefront of consumer’s eyes in today’s world, but if that technology doesn’t fit your audience, you’re potentially losing money and clients.
Since 2004, Ionescu has built a proprietary software/hardware package for state tourism and hotels. Ionescu believes successful kiosk networks are built upon ongoing collaboration between the client and provider to develop flexible systems that clients and users are happy with for years.