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Use Self-Check-in Kiosks to Alleviate Wait-Time Pain

By Kip Sweeney, Vice President Client Relations at FMSI

Recently, on the way home from a long trip, I was forced to endure a common First World problem—waiting in a long line at the airport.

Like most frequent travelers, I usually get my boarding pass sent to my mobile phone, eliminating the need to obtain one from the check-in counter. However, the small regional airport I was flying out of didn’t have mobile check-in, or a self-service kiosk.

Glancing up from my watch every two minutes as I waited in line, I observed a long line of slow moving people who would never be mistaken for ‘seasoned travelers.’ Behind the only open counter, a single employee was diligently assisting grumpy itinerants check their luggage and print necessary boarding documents. Understandably, the counter-guy looked stressed. He was only one person and this line was huge. He could really have used some help. It was clear this airport desperately needed an alternate check-in channel.

A sign-in bottleneck creates a strong motive for customers to seek out the competition. In my case, waiting in line is theoretically the only means for my return home. However, unlike airline companies, financial-service providers don’t have the luxury of turning a blind eye to extremely long wait times.

To solve lengthy check-in times, an increasing number of banks and credit unions are using self-check-in kiosks combined with sophisticated tracking software, like FMSI’s Omnix Lobby Tracker™ (OLT).  These solutions can improve the service experience, and help reduce stress for both receptionist and lobby service employees.

OLT facilitates the transfer of information from an account holder entering their name and reason for their visit into a branch kiosk, and then makes it available to the staff and management to see on their own devices.  Once the employees have universal access to when the account holder arrived and why they are there, they can collectively align each specific account holder need with the right available employee—minimizing the risk of time-consuming mismatches.

For example, if an account holder needs to speak to somebody about HELOCs, and the only lobby service representative who specializes in HELOCs is stuck in an office helping somebody with their online banking, it can be a recipe for a service disaster.
Kiosks can be relatively inexpensive and all equipment (kiosk stand, touchscreen tablet, face plate) can be acquired for less than a $1000 dollars. When compared to the cost of staffing an additional receptionist, or recouping the cost of losing multiple opportunities to long wait times, a kiosk suddenly becomes even more attractive.

Even a single kiosk can drastically reduce the line, by offering tech-savvy account holders an alternative. If you have sign-in bottlenecks in your branches, don’t lose another customer or member to a competitor and install a self-check-in kiosk combined with OLT.