It is difficult to name an industry where operations were not affected by the global coronavirus pandemic; and service industries may have been the hardest hit. Social distancing requirements have made it both necessary and urgent for organizations to re-imagine the way they serve their customers. This has led businesses across the service sectors to find alternatives to in-person customer service where possible. Now, innovative customer self-service systems are likely here to stay.
Business digitalization, which has been taking place for decades, was accelerated to a mind-boggling pace during COVID and expanded into new areas – especially the areas of customer service and visitor reception. While organizations raced to find ways to move various aspects of their face-to-face businesses operations to remote alternatives, there continue to be some activities that simply must be done on location, such as the delivery of food, tangible products and certain services. When social distancing made the traditional way of carrying out these activities impossible, digitized service solutions were required to carry out many basic functions of society. Now individuals who are returning to a more normal version of life are beginning to expect digital services in nearly every location they visit for work, play, and life.
The German company friendlyway (https://www.friendlyway.com/), a provider of interactive digital signage software, responded to the needs that were presented by the COVID crisis by adding capabilities to their existing self-service kiosk system, working with their customers to develop and implement solutions for new health and safety use cases.
For example, airports and transportation stations increased capacity for self-check-in to minimize face-to-face interaction with agents. Self-service kiosks incorporated workflows to verify vaccination status and confirm agreement with health and safety requirements before dispensing a ticket.
Self-service kiosks are also being used to a greater extent In healthcare settings for patient check-in and registration, and even video consultation with a care provider. These options provide safe and convenient alternatives to face-to-face patient service in many cases.
These new innovations in customer self-service came about to help businesses and individuals adapt to COVID restrictions, but many will remain as convenient and often even enjoyable options to accomplish their goals.