As mentioned in my previous blog, self-service kiosks are undoubtedly a huge added value for industries. Providing businesses with opportunities for increased sales, a reduction in lengthy queues and improving customer service are just a few of the benefits discussed.
However as with everything there are always some pain points.
If you remember, due to the pandemic touch screens received bad publicity. They were being held partly accountable as a ‘great place’ to spread germs, and for some this is a lingering thought. Two years on people are generally more hygiene aware and so we see businesses and digital screen manufacturers alike effortlessly trying to reassure customers that their touch screens are safe to use. Some have added an antimicrobial coating with some kind of signage above or on the kiosk stating this. Mostly though we see hand sanitisers, antibacterial wipes and gloves being placed near the self-service kiosks as a means to encourage customers to continue using the kiosks. These are likely to stay but can be costly for businesses to keep topped up or replaced long term. Yet if brands don’t do this- then it may give the impression to customers that hygiene and their welfare is unimportant.
Whilst the above measures have been of comfort to the majority, it is also fair to say that there are still those who would eagerly use alternatives to touch if available.
One other very important factor to consider when looking at the pain points- is the lack of accessibility to customers who are blind or who have visual and physical impairments. Let’s also be mindful of those with Sensory Processing Disorders (SPD) where touch is either not an option at all or would be a very frustrating and time consuming one. The reality is this large demography is hugely under serviced by brands and businesses across the QSR, retail, hospitality and all other industries, but it really needs to be addressed. Simply put having kiosks that are not fully accessible means that they are not fully serving the wider community equally as they should.
Ok, so we need to consider solutions that are both hygienic and inclusive to all with the above disabilities.
Voice AI and Gesture control
In an article titled Touchscreen Kiosks in a Health-Aware World written in 2020, Geoffrey Bessin, chief evangelist at Intuiface rightly said:
“Touchscreens and touch-first content aren’t going away, though the rules are going to change,”
His long term vision was absolutely correct, continuing on: “Touch alternatives will become natural complements and will inevitably lead to richer and more personalized experiences accessible through the medium of preference for each user,” Bessin said. “Give your audience a choice, and they will be more likely to engage.”
Businesses desperately need to recognise that providing options for a contact free experience is essential for their growth. To maintain the loyalty of customers, brands need to be listening to their customers needs and pain points and must provide solutions that are functional, inclusive and engaging. As undoubtedly the results will be growth in sales due to happier, more satisfied customers who will keep returning.
Gesture control has already been adopted into some kiosks post pandemic as a contact free solution and has worked well for those preferring not to touch. However, unfortunately it doesn’t meet the needs of those who are blind or with visual and physical impairments as mentioned above, where touch is not a choice. Voice is the ONLY functional solution able to successfully meet the needs of customers with such disabilities and impairments, giving them the independence to order just as everyone else does without feeling excluded or not catered for.
My purpose through my blogs is to create awareness and a better understanding about the benefits of conversational Voice AI. Although voice technology has been around for some years now on our phones and in our homes, it’s actually quite new to commercial settings and Sodaclick is leading the world with it’s proprietary technology.
Now that we’ve looked at solving the important pain points of self service kiosks to make them contact free for the hygiene aware and enable them to be fully accessible to the wider communities, let’s look at some of the additional benefits of adding Voice AI to kiosks.
Not only is voice the most natural method of communication for humans it is actually 3 times faster and easier to navigate than touch or gesture controls. Meaning that in an increasingly populated world, more customers across industries can be served even quicker and more efficiently, further reducing queue times and increasing sales.
Conversational Voice AI is also friendly and as near to a human interaction as possible. Being both polite and responsive in real time, most would actually forget they are talking to a kiosk and not a human! And with a multilingual feature in over 85 languages and variants, voice is suitable for use worldwide meaning it is accessible to all customers in their own language without any barriers or need for assistance. So in a world where we are all looking for new and positive experiences, Voice AI truly is immersive and engaging.
Adding Sodaclick Voice AI to existing kiosks is simple and inexpensive. You don’t need to buy new kiosks, all that is required is the Sodaclick bundle which includes a license for the SDK and the beamforming microphone and speaker set which is very easy to install. A Sodaclick Voice AI SDK is fully functional and very easy to integrate with existing data bases and requires minimal work from senior developers, meaning it’s not as daunting to get started with as most might think.
Most importantly though let’s remember the inclusivity that Voice AI can offer. In a world where brands need to prioritise accessibility for customers with disabilities, Voice AI is the perfect solution and will be greatly welcomed by those with visual and physical impairments as well as SPD.
Voice enabled self service kiosks will
Check out the video below to see a demo of a Voice Enabled Kiosk in a QSR setting. If you would like to find out more on purchasing or integration of a Sodaclick Voice AI SDK package please contact us.
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