August 2, 2001, 12:00 AM

Consumers will embrace kiosks, says NCR survey

57% of those who have used a self-service electronic kiosk and 36% of those who have not believe kiosks improve customer service, says a survey from NCR.

Kurt Peters

Executive Editor

A majority of consumers who have used web-based self-serve kiosks believe the technology will enhance customer service, according to a new survey today from NCR Corp., a manufacturer of kiosks. And more than a third of those who have not used such kiosks believe that as well.

In the survey of 1,020 consumers 18 or older by Opinion Research Corp. International, 17% have used self-service kiosks. Among those who have used them, 57% say kiosks improve service, while 36% of those who have not used kiosks concur.

“The fear that technology somehow makes the shopping experience less personal seems to be exaggerated,” said Nelson Gomez, NCR general manager for web kiosks. “People tend to see service as a continuum in which businesses are always looking out for their customers’ needs, and companies using kiosks will be perceived as valuing their customers’ time and convenience.”

Of those who have used a self-service electronic kiosk, 46% did so at a mall, followed by 39% at grocery stores and 35% at airports. The survey reports that younger people, who have grown up with the Internet and are more comfortable with technology in general, are more likely to have used the kiosks.

“In the age of pay-at-the-pump gas stations, self-checkout terminals and ATMs, people are used to serving themselves,” Gomez said. “Market acceptance of these technologies is making them part of a broader range of services, from retail to transportation. Today people are most likely to use kiosks as part of a retail transaction; tomorrow they’ll be banking or checking their portfolios, renewing licenses from government agencies, making hotel reservations or buying plane, train, bus, subway and movie tickets.”

The survey reports that those who have operated kiosks overwhelmingly found them easy to use. Ranked on a one-to-five scale ranging from very complicated (1) to very simple (5), 68% of users find them either very simple or simple to use. Only 3% say they are very complicated.



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