Before writing for Digital Signage Today, I wrote articles for her sister publication, Kiosk Marketplace. I wrote articles in the past that examined the similarities and differences between digital signage and kiosks as the two become more closely tied. However, we have not examined how the lessons of self-service can apply to digital signage. As signage becomes more interactive and less of a one-way communication tool, it is important to keep these lessons in mind.
Make it easy to use
If a kiosk company creates a poorly designed UI, the customers will likely look elsewhere. For example, let's say you have a retail kiosk that catalogs products. If users have to go through several pages just to find what they are looking for, they will likely become frustrated. The same principle applies if the screen is hard to see or the touchscreen is unresponsive.
The same lesson applies to digital signage deployments such as menu boards. For example, if your menu board cycles through content too quickly, users will become frustrated. If they cycle through information too slowly, customers would rather look at a physical menu that gives them the information quickly.
Make it a custom experience
The digital marketing agency AgilOne found that more than 70 percent of consumers now expect personalized experiences from brands, according to an article by Linkdex. Kiosks have adapted to this need in a number of ways. Card Isle, for example, has a kiosk that allows customers to create their own customized greeting cards.
For digital signage, this aspect of customization can apply in a number of ways. On the content level, companies can use cloud based content management systems that enable hyper localized messages. Another method would be to make use of facial recognition software to identify certain details regarding customers such as age and gender and deliver targeted messages.
Another option is to integrate mobile programs with your digital signage. For example, you can integrate your digital signage with beacons that will push out messages when a customer walks by the signage. Nate Remmes, vice president of corporate development at NanoLumens, mentions in an article that retailers could use display beacons to identify a customer's identity as a man and push out advertisements for men's clothing lines.
Make customer experience the top priority
You can have the coolest device in the world, but if it doesn't work properly, has an inaccurate touchscreen or doesn't deal with a customer's need, it's not a successful device. Developing a successful interactive customer experience requires a variety of features for kiosks. You need a kiosk that can withstand day to day hazards, be it damage from customers or weather damage if the kiosk is outdoors. Kiosk manufacturers also need a good maintenance plan in place to avoid downtime.
For digital signage, the same principles apply. You need a good media player that can withstand hot temperatures. You need a good content management system to keep content fresh. You need to guard against hackers, such as the hackers who were able to hijack a digital billboard in Atlanta to showcase a man's naked backside.
The key element of self service is whether or not it actually improves customer experience by simplifying a task. For digital signage, it's a bit more complicated, as many deployments are simply designed to deliver one-way messages. However, customers will notice messages that directly improve their experience whether outdoors or at a retailer. It's a tough world out there, and it's not good enough to just make a cool product. It needs to have an impact on the customer's overall experience.
Image via Istock.com
/ Bradley Cooper is a Technology Editor for KioskMarketplace.com and VirtualCurrencyToday.com. His background is in information technology, advertising, and writing.