April 24, 2008

The Customer Experience at Self-Service Kiosk

Nice usability analysis from perspective of customer on various types of real self-service kiosks and their usability factor. Categories include banking kiosks, grocery checkout, deli order and airline kiosks.

Read entire blog


Woman v. Automated Deli Order-Taker
Author: Jeannie Walters
February 25, 2008

White Hen Pantry

I’m not a big fan of “auto-ordering” when it comes to food. After all who wants to spend top dollar and never even see someone. For the sake of time and convenience, though, it can be a great option.

The White Hen Pantry (now owned by 7-11) offers self-service kiosks where customers can place sandwich orders. While a good idea, like most self-service options, the execution leaves a bit to be desired.

As has been my experience with most service machines, the overall environment takes away from the ease of use. The lack of signage and instructions, along with an overall clumsy layout, causes first-time customers to stand awkwardly in front of the screen, looking for help that doesn’t exist.

Two-thirds of the monitor screen is occupied by the advertised “feature” sandwich. It takes a minute to review and realize there’s an actual menu, but it is organized in a way that doesn’t allow customers to review all choices at once. The vertical tabs on the left are not immediately obvious, and they are organized by choices like “breakfast,” “hot and toasted subs,” “cold subs,” etc…

There are better ways to organize options to help customers find what they’re looking for. For example, why not have all the sandwich choices on the “feature” screen so customers are presented with the entire menu right away? Custom orders could be part of the menu. Feature sandwiches and specials could still be promoted in this format, but not by hijacking the entire experience.

The process leads the customer to a point of purchase, but prior to that an offer is made: would you like to add chips and a drink for a combo price? Here’s my issue with this: there is no option to add just a drink or just chips. It’s inflexible and irritating.

Finally, a small receipt pops out of the printer next to the monitor, (the receipt has your order number, but no total and no description). Instructions tell you to take your receipt to the counter. I’ve watched numerous people stand there dumbfounded as they search the deli counter for some sort of “pick up/pay” area, but there is none. It’s up to you to bring the receipt to the store counter, and remember your number when it’s called out.

While the auto-deli works for those of us looking to grab a quick bite at lunchtime, I’ve seen too many people stumble through the process to really call it effective.

Posted by staff at April 24, 2008 08:49 AM