Automation isn’t coming, it is HERE!

A ninety day jumpstart project will be a catalyst and focus company needs to start Self-Service

 

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New self-service kiosks at McDonald’s

I love the concept of the ninety-day jumpstart initiative.   There is an emerging need for this initiative in the discipline of Self-Service.    The world of automation is not only approaching,  IT IS HERE!  A visit to McDonald’s elevates awareness and provides pause on notions involving “service”.

 

  • Consider the value that customers get out of your product.
  • Create a strategy for turning customers into “Clients” jokingly called “Clistomers”.
  • Develop goals, objectives, strategies, and needs in automating your value chain.
  • Invest in a 90-day JumpStart program to implement your new Self-service strategy.

Future automation is here!     Self-service kiosk revenue was about 600 million in 2011 and grew to a $$$ billion in 2014.   Now the growth is taking off.

 

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Huge forecasts for self-service

 

Global Self-Service Technology Market is expected to garner $31.75 billion by 2020.  This is according to Allied Market Research.    After completing numerous trials and experiments some solid ideas have emerged about how to proceed with a self- service solution but the market is still testing concepts for various customer segments.      Here are some core ideas that have been debated to date;    1)   People tend to spend more when ordering in self-service.      2)  The kiosk is better at engaging in upselling, like in the McDonald’s case, easily adding a drink.     3)   Customization is easy and convenient.   In the “Create Your Taste” program, one identified concern was the time it took, not in ordering but in order fulfillment.

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The movie:  “The Founder”

 

 

I went to McDonald’s yesterday.    Some months ago I had watched the movie entitled  “The Founder” with Michael Keaton and It is an excellent film which demonstrates how McDonald’s founder Ray Kroc became highly focused on creating a speedy service model for burgers and fries.   The movie presents the saga of developing the McDonald’s empire and the central theme of delivering speed.

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Trends in Self Service

McDonald’s is rolling out self-service kiosks to about 14,000 US-based locations.     The program is a lot more than just simply taking orders.    McDonald’s has been experimenting with concepts as diverse as table delivery, and mass customization of menu items such as their “Create Your Taste” initiative and most recently,  “Signature Crafted Recipes”.

 

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new McDonald’s app

 

During my visit to the local McDonald’s, I noticed that multi-mode ordering is implemented.   Aside from a traditional counter order, or even the new kiosks, you can order via a phone app and chose many different forms of delivery:   in store, table, or curb service.

The McDonald’s example provides a catalyst to initiate your own company’s foray into self-service.    In considering self-service there is a myriad of considerations including;  quality, speed, cost, and many more…   What is your customer’s perception of the value you provide in your products?

As basic as it may sound, it’s critical to have a good grasp of your customer motivations and then to validate your ideas with Self-Service rather than spending a lot of money to explore values you could better discover with marketing focus groups.

In looking beyond simple self-service it is important to consider how to improve the relationship with the customer.     With some modest exceptions, let’s face the facts, the days of having a one on one relationship with the counter service person is gone, at least in fast food.     ( however, my local pizza guy recognizes my voice on the phone when I order.. laughs ).    In designing your self-service approach there are some elements you can create to turn customers into regular clients.   I jokingly call these folks “Clistomers”, but the core point is to use self-service initiatives to implement some customer relationship management value.    In the McDonald’s phone app, there is a fair amount of personal data shared.

On the way to developing your own set of goals and objectives for self-service, it is useful to consider the activities that would be involved in a jump start for the program.   Typically, a jump start or fast start is common in the world of technology and involves a project of say…  ninety days with the concept of exploring core questions and evolving a set of checklists that must be addressed in growing additional self-service initiatives.

A charter for a self-service jumpstart is not much different than any other infotech project.    A problem statement is formed,  goals and objectives are refined.   Technical requirements, including the in place systems are harvested. and perhaps most importantly,  critical success factors, constraints, and assumptions are carefully outlined and used to guide a jumpstart program forward.     A self-service initiative for your company is not much different from the evolution of web commerce in years past.  The technology is new and evolving and companies are learning about the challenges and values of implementing Self-Service.    If you are new to Self-Service, then it’s better to have an experienced leader guide you through the challenges, at least for the initial onset of the endeavor.

 

Author: Steve Edens

Solution Architect and sometimes digital sociologist / artist. Steve Edens is a veteran of developing business applications and formerlly Quality Manager for IBM.

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