Industry News | June 21, 2007

Study Shows Consumers Are Driving Self-Service

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On-the-go consumers prefer to handle an increasing number of transactions themselves through self-service devices, and are more likely to do business with companies that make it easier to for them to do so, according to a major new study conducted by BuzzBack Market Research for NCR Corporation (NYSE:NCR).

More than three out of four (77 percent) of the 633 U.S. and Canadian consumers polled said they are more likely to do business with organizations that offer self-service, and 92 percent value combining mobile devices – like mobile phones or PDAs – with the Internet and self-service kiosks or ATMs to improve their overall service experience.

“People want more control of their interaction with your business,” said NCR President and Chief Executive Officer Bill Nuti. “Why wait for assistance with transactions they can more quickly and easily do themselves at guaranteed quality? Consumers increasingly expect to be served where and when they choose, and are putting pressure on businesses and government agencies to deliver seamless service through the integration of self-serve devices, including the Internet, mobile devices and multipurpose kiosks.”

Some of the more frequently cited transactions respondents said they would like to see automated through multipurpose kiosks include: renewing drivers’ licenses or vehicle registration (76 percent); checking the status of items ordered online (71 percent); purchasing transit or airline tickets (62 percent); making photo copies (57 percent); and ordering flowers, books and other items (54 percent). The top-three locations where respondents would like to see this type of convenience are in airports (70 percent); malls (65 percent); and grocery stores (55 percent).

Respondents also showed a strong preference for self-service when it comes to printing on-the-go. An overwhelming majority (85 percent to 94 percent) of respondents indicated they would prefer to use self-service to print items such as maps, tickets, schedules, coupons and other items while banking, shopping, travelling, dining or visiting a medical clinic.

The research also examined the extent to which consumers would prefer to wait for personal assistance when banking, shopping, dining, travelling or visiting a physician. Results showed that while respondents prefer to manage the majority of activities on their own, a significant number still prefer person-to-person interaction for complex transactions such as obtaining mortgage or investment advice.

“Proper deployment of self-service will allow business to focus personal assistance where consumers find it most valuable,” said Nuti. “Companies that want to remain competitive in the future will need to understand how to deploy self-service to maximize convenience and provide the flexibility required by consumers.”

Food Service Industry-specific consumer preferences for self-service:

Dining:

* accessing entertainment content – 83 percent

* getting information such as menu, prices, directions and reviews – 78 percent

* receiving promotions and tendering coupons – 72 percent

Most consumers showed a preference for serving themselves across a number of industries. However, results indicate many respondents prefer to obtain personal assistance with more consultative, financial transactions. For example, 74 percent said they would prefer to speak with someone to obtain investment advice, 73 percent would prefer this option for purchasing insurance, and 69 percent would like assistance obtaining mortgage advice.

A total of 633 U.S. and Canadian respondents, at least 18 years old, participated in this study. The total sample is representative for age, gender, household income and region.