Tensator Virtual Assistant blends man and machine (Video)

 

In an age where consumers prefer to interact with technology, contact with an actual human being is becoming an antiquated — and often avoided — concept. But for those looking for the perfect balance between man and machine, or who miss a little bit of the human element, a “virtual” person might do the trick.

Enter the Tensator Virtual Assistant Ultra, a product the company calls a next generation digital signage solution. It creates a projected image and creates the illusion of a real person to convey brand messages, impart information and highlight products and promotions.

With a small footprint of 50cm by 50cm, the Virtual Assistant can fit within an aisle or as part of the aisle end caps. The base unit of the Ultra is made up of interchangeable covers, creating a full surround or three-sided wrap if placed flush against a wall, making it ideal for advertising and promotion, according to a news release on the product.

Visit Retail Customer Experience.com to read the full article.

 

Self Service on the Rise: Speed and Convenience

Several recent industry reports and surveys tracking self-service trends have seen a jump in the use of automated self-services.  According to an infographic compiled by 1-to-1 Media, “Self-Service is a growing global trend that’s helping customers to get the optimal experience they’re looking for more quickly.” 

With the advancements made by each technologically savvy generation, there is a growing consumer need to be able to help themselves, manage their purchase, and see more immediate results.  They also have a higher expectation for more self-service offerings whether at retail outlets, banks, supermarkets, post offices, medical facilities, pharmacies, motor vehicle departments, airports, seaports, hotels or train stations – virtually anywhere.   

With this in mind, the time is ripe for each of these vertical industries to examine which of their offerings can in fact benefit from being turned into an automated self-service operation that will successfully and happily get customers what they want in an expedited manner – where they are ensured a quick, fair and successful transaction.

When looking at service offerings that can be automated here are some points to consider:

  • Is the transaction something that is needed 24 hours a day – or could self-service automation enable it to be offered 24 hours a day?
  • How long does the average transaction take when handled by staff?
  • How long would the average transaction take if automated?
  • How long is the waiting period on average to service a customer?
  • How much time would be saved if the service was automated?
  • How complex is the transaction you are looking to automate?
  • Can you realize cost-savings by enabling customers to help themselves?
  • Will your customer experience/customer journey improve as a result of self service automation – will your offer be competitive, attracting customers?
  • Do you have additional upsell opportunities as a result of self service automation?

Sequestration’s Effect on Airport Queuing

It’s just been implemented and already the effects of sequestration have hit hard.  Lines at major airports have ballooned to 150-200% their normal size, creating delays and headaches for many travelers. According to the Customs and Border Protection agency (CBP), at John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) in New York, there were approximately 56 flights with wait times in excess of 2 hours, and 14 flights over 3 hours. Miami International Airport (MIA) reported 51 flights over 2 hours, and 4 flights approached/exceeded 3 hours – all uncharacteristic wait times and a result of reduced staffing. The consequences of sequestration are only expected to worsen as federal departments implement furloughs and hiring freezes as we head into the busy summer travel season. While travelers have been advised to get to their airports earlier, there are some other immediate proactive considerations that can be cost effectively implemented to help reduce or ease wait times: - Deploy Virtual Assistants to deliver highly visual and attention capturing information to deliver clear, consistent messaging to effectively direct and ensure passengers understand all the information they need to know at either boarding, customs or security to improve efficiency, passenger flow and their overall airport experience.    - Leverage automated queue management systems to determine the best, most effective queuing configuration based on current airport conditions. - Implement display and signage, post and rope, Tensabarriers® and Single Line Queuing to ensure maximum airport efficiency in getting passengers to where they need to be, keeping them informed and increasing the speed in how passengers get served. By putting in place these proven queue management solutions, the effects of sequestration as they pertain to long lines can be significantly minimized.  To request a meeting with a queue management specialist please contact Tensator. 

Inefficient Check-Out Lines are Biggest Customer Frustration at Grocery Stores

Ask customers to identify their most common frustrations in a grocery store and a wide variety of answers will abound.

Many shoppers are annoyed by the arrangement of products within the store, or instances when stores re-arrange the merchandise.  Others reserve their highest frustrations for the behavior of their fellow shoppers (such as other customers blocking aisles, abandoning carts, or writing checks in the check-out line).
But in general, the check-out experience seems to be the most common frustration expressed by grocery store shoppers.
Unfortunately, grocery stores have largely been unable to go to single-line queuing systems (utilized at banks, airports, fast-food restaurants, etc.).  So, customers still have to choose a check-out line, and nervously hope they picked a fast-moving one. Additionally, many studies have found that self-service checkout lines, which are often less populated than lines which have a working cashier, do not get customers through the check-out process any faster. One potential time-saving process is being tested.  Some stores are experimenting with technology which enables products to be scanned (and even bagged) before a customer arrives at a station featuring a live cashier. While superstores such as Target and Walmart also operate with multiple-line, rather than single-line, queuing systems, they have improved customer satisfaction on high-traffic days (such as Black Friday) by utilizing line management systems at their entrances and at other locations both inside and outside their stores.  Portable stanchions with retractable-belt systems have created physical line space which results in first-come, first-serve line management which is organized and fair.

Get your customers to make Impulse Purchases!

I was paroozing the internet today looking at ways to boost your customer’s impulse purchases when I stumbled upon Barbara Thau’s post , “‘Buy Me!’ 7 Ways Stores Get You to Make an Impulse Purchase“.  Her statistic, 9 out of 10 customers make a purchase that they did not intend to make when shopping, caught my eye.  That is an impressive statistic.  Exposing your customers to the opportunity of impulse purchases is a given, what Barbara drive home is the WAY you can expose your customers to that opportunity. Two of her seven are ideally implemented in your checkout queue although you can probably take elements of all seven. Color Coordinating Displays – We all know that color can make a huge impression on us human beings.  Try testing your line queue with complimentary color combinations and see what kind of impact it was on impulse buys. Quick Before Its Too Late Messages! – Offer promotions in the queue that make people want to buy more!  Buy two items and save 30%, Buy one get one free, etc. I highly recommend any retailer to read her entire post!