A recent survey by Intouch Insight revealed nearly 20 percent of customers would choose a different fast-food restaurant if it did not provide self-serve kiosks. This is just one piece of the larger modernization puzzle. More consumers are beginning to expect the increased accessibility and efficiency technology provides at restaurants.
“Self-serve kiosks are here to stay, and they are growing. Nothing’s changing that,” Laura Livers, head of strategic growth at Intouch Insight, says. This slideshow will look at Intouch Insight’s recent survey on customer experience with self-service kiosks. 1,454 consumers from across North America took part in the survey, ranging in age from 18 to 75. The survey revealed the changing landscape of technology and modernization within the quick-service restaurant industry.
It’s All About the Demographics
The Intouch Insight survey uncovers how consumers are handling the shift toward more technology in their dining experiences. When asked about preference, nearly 62 percent of those 55 and older said they preferred a cashier.
“In the data we found brands need to be aware of their demographics, and for the time being they need to offer both traditional services like cashiers and more advanced technology options like self-serve kiosks,” says Sarah Beckett, director of marketing at Intouch Insight.
Numbers come back more split when fast-food customers are asked if their only option at their favorite restaurant was a self-serve kiosk. Would they go somewhere else? Across all age ranges, there was a 50/50 split showing how divided people still are over self-serve kiosks.
Driving Traffic with Technology
Consumers, younger generations, in particular, are taking notice of the increased modernization of their favorite restaurants. Intouch Insight found 24 percent of respondents said technology influences whether they will return to a restaurant. This rate jumps to 34 percent when looking at the millennial age range and increases another 10 percent when looking at the Generation Z age range.
However, the survey also showed rates of adoption for the older generations are still lagging. The question remains, how do quick-service restaurants balance the need by younger generations for more technology with older generations’ desire for traditional face-to-face systems? “Customer experience will be the deciding factor for many customers when things like pricing and quality of food are equal,” Livers says. Technology should be approachable and a driver of positive experiences for all customers, especially when restaurants begin to roll out new technology.
“Seventy-one percent of people who preferred to order from a kiosk said it was because kiosks are quicker, so it comes down to speed,” Beckett says. This is not surprising, considering people enjoy fast food because it is a faster and more time-efficient option. Furthermore, of the people who preferred kiosks, 60 percent thought it was easier to make customizations with kiosks.
While people are just as likely to say their preferred form of ordering is better for customizations, the numbers start to trend in favor of self-serve kiosks again when it comes to speed. Only 45 percent of respondents said they preferred a cashier because it was quicker. In the end, the efficiency of self-serve kiosks was recognized by customers who preferred the cashier and customers who preferred the kiosks.
Removing Barriers to Good Customer Experiences
Customers want the best experience possible and at the end of the day they will return based on their experience, especially if there are similar quality food and services elsewhere. This means that if customers are uncomfortable with new technology quick-service restaurants should be open to offering incentives or have other ordering systems in place. According to Livers, customer reticence can be overcome with incentives, which can also be applied to age barriers.
“When people who are in the 55 and older age range go out, it may be for different reasons and the way you get that age group used to self-serve kiosks could be through discounts or something more personalized like loyalty points,” Livers says.
Other techniques can remove ambiguity from the process and have been proven successful in previous Intouch Insight studies and can be a pleasant addition to incentives. “Small things like having clear signage on where to wait for your order and whether you will be told when your order is ready can have a real impact on removing friction from customer experiences,” Livers says.
There Is No Going Back
Brands need to evolve with consumer preferences and do so without losing sight of customer experience. When new technologies are adopted, like in the case of self-serve kiosks, quick-service restaurants need to keep up with consumer preferences. Customers are slowly switching over as the adoption of new technology continues. The future is here, Livers says, but restaurants still need to accommodate other styles of ordering.
Livers asks quick-service restaurants to consider how they are evaluating the new systems and technologies they are implementing. “Quick-service restaurants have to measure and test new systems’ impacts on the business and customer experience,” Livers says.
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By Ya’el McLoud