Despite the rise of automation, technology can’t replace the human-to-human interaction. Or can it? New technology and video kiosks helps businesses provide a personal touch in a technological world.

Editor’s note: An earlier version of this article ran on Kiosk Marketplace, a Mobile Payments Today sister publication

In the age of smart home technologies, artificial intelligence and mobile-enabled food delivery, many renowned brands install interactive self-service kiosks to reduce waiting time, fuel better client interactions and ensure seamless customer experience. People all over the world are using digital kiosks to withdraw money from their bank accounts, pay for their shopping, print photos, get medical prescriptions and much more.

Digital seems to be having its moment in many industry areas, as customers enjoy having access to self-service technologies, too. However, the lack of personal touch can quickly alienate consumers from the kiosks, while some users do not have the required skills to use new tech.

Human connection matters more than ever in the age of digital technologies. In this regard, many brands add video conferencing into touchscreen kiosks to make their customers comforted, capture first-party data, provide a more personalized user experience and help clients solve their problems more efficiently. Additionally, brands save time and money by hiring one agent, who serves multiple customers in different locations.

Thanks to video kiosks, a company can provide tailored recommendations that help guide orders and actually improve the customer experience in different industry areas.

On-site staff-free bank

Banking is arguably the main sphere where interactive video kiosks are used on a global scale. Banks all over the world have been using Interactive Tellers, allowing clients to make a deposit, withdraw cash, make a payment, receive and print their account statements, get a consultation, modify their information and much more.

Banpara Bank from São Paulo, Brazil is a model example of a bank with zero staff in a branch office. In one of its branches all work is done by interactive teller kiosks. Now clients of Banpara Bank can contact an operator in a single click of a button, while operators can use visual cues to provide information about balances, transactions or loan agreements. In other words, video technology allows banks to function efficiently, even in the remote mode.

Transforming customer service in airports

Have you ever gotten lost in an airport? What about those endless airport security lines? While self-service check-in kiosks have already found their way into our everyday lives, video kiosks are still a relatively new thing. With the help of video conferencing technologies, passengers can connect with a remote call agent who will provide the information about new flights or simply help them find their way around the airport spanning for thousands of square miles.

In the Istanbul New Airport, the growing inflow of passengers forced the management to develop a new approach to customer service. They ultimately decided to implement click-to-call video kiosks that enabled passengers to contact operators in a matter of seconds. Thanks to the technology, the visitors of Istanbul Airport can experience a new level of real-time customer service and get immediate help in a matter of seconds. Self-service kiosks dramatically lowered the cost basis for the Istanbul Airport versus traditional customer service models while maintaining excellent quality of experience.

Better access to car rental

Video kiosks have enormous economic potential, as they help many companies to transform their business models and cut operational costs. Hertz, the largest car rental service in the world, opted for this solution because it was an excellent response to fluctuations in customer traffic. Hertz installed video conferencing kiosks in large airports, tourist centers, body shops, and parking lots so that customers could quickly contact an operator and rent a vehicle. The technology allowed remote agents to review customers’ driver licenses and IDs and even dispense an ID card that will allow clients to unlock their vehicles. Using content sharing, customers and call agents can review car rental agreements or look through the list of available vehicles.

Making students’ lives easier

Colleges and universities are continuing to use kiosks around campuses to provide support to students. For example, student kiosks can be used to print documents, take copies, take money loans, make calls or connect to university staff. Two most common kiosk deployments are campus student services kiosks and wayfinding kiosks.

In Victoria University, students can easily contact IT support almost from any part of the campus. Previously, students located in remote parts of the campus had to spend hours to have their IT problems fixed. Moreover, the users can exchange messages or share files while communicating with one another which is always critical for making customer support more time efficient. The technologies provided by Microsoft, Cisco and Avaya helped Victoria University to make IT support more time efficient since now students can get in touch with the help desk in a matter of seconds.

New ways of reaching patients

Like so many other technological advances, telehealth services are quickly moving from novelty to convenience, allowing doctors to remotely monitor, record, manage and share patient data without the need for face-to-face interaction. Telehealth kiosks have been designed to make healthcare more accessible for patients living in remote areas and promote regular medical check-ups.

In 2019, the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center installed several video kiosks in the Giant Eagle stores so that patients could quickly contact physicians who provided treatment plans for a variety of non-urgent symptoms. In-store locations were also equipped with thermometers, otoscopes and blood pressure cuffs needed for assessing the physical state of a patient. The new solution also enabled medical workers to send prescriptions right to the customer enabling them to take medications immediately. Similar projects were implemented by hospitals in New York, Florida and South Carolina.

The digital future is here

Self-service kiosks have already replaced a large share of the human workforce, and they will continue to do so as more and more businesses are investing in remote customer service. Additionally, kiosks can often be a better option for people with disabilities, those who do not speak English fluently or experience social anxiety.

Despite the rise of automation, it appears that human-to-human interaction is still what matters most in many areas. While some tasks may be replaced, human workers still should be at the center of the future workforce, providing advanced guidance and support to customers.

Video kiosks are the future of remote customer support and contact centers. Thanks to video conferencing technologies, workers don’t need to be physically present at the same place with the customer to be able to help, saving time and money on commuting. Video kiosks do not replace workers — instead, they create better working conditions and result in increased customer satisfaction.

Building an incredible business isn’t only about how much additional margin you gain — it is also about how human a company can be. While automation might work faster, it’s the human touch that makes for better customer interactions. Combining modern technologies with human connection is a win-win option for any business.