Kiosk Services Logistics Support
There are a plethora of companies willing to provide support and services for your project. Some companies include:
- CES Customer Engineering Services
- NCR (primarily for their customers)
- Many more
Here is blog entry on technicians we did.
I noticed the other day that Beeline purchased OnForce (see news link on kioskindustry). Most people don’t recognize those names but if you look into the service side of self-service they can be familiar. Reason it came up for me was that I was in the middle of a general canvassing/review of industry service programs in the self-service industry that had me drilling around.
The servicing and the warranty programs never seem to get the attention they deserve. They might be the red headed stepchild for self-service industry.
Part of the reason I was focused on self-service was that I was doing my own review of capabilities, stated capabilities and options offered (publicly and privately). I looked at top ten kiosk companies I am familiar with and then I scored them (including my company CTS).
Here are some thoughts I’ve put together:
- FieldNation, OnForce and others are examples of “tech for hire” solutions out there.
- Companies like Diebold specialize and will provide contract services using their techs?
- IBM and Fujitsu service groups do the same thing (and handle international).
- Fujitsu service has the largest footprint outside the US?
- Small and midrange kiosk manufacturers have to deal with disconnected “silo” systems and generally do not support enterprise modules for Customer Service and RMAs. At best they are spliced in with rough connections.
- Others may have full range accounting but then are stuck in some homegrown google-excel mishmash.
The freelance vs. dedicated workforce argument is compelling. Typically, freelance/independent contractors offer a lower cost and larger footprint for service. However, the dedicated providers (thinking of Diebold e.g.) may provide a more consistent coverage and service levels.
Kiosk operators and their end-customers need to consider:
- Complexity of the kiosk solution – For more straightforward, field-replacement service issues freeleance/indpedents work well. They don’t require a lot of technical training and component swaps can be done easily. But, as you delve into more complex repairs, the freelance option begins to lose its appeal. First, you often don’t have the ability to know if the field tech has been trained to handle a particular device. Even if they are trained, you won’t know how often the tech has seen the unit.
- Uptime requirements – Where uptime is a critical issue, you need to know the provider has the tech coverage to meet SLAs. Managing the SLAs with either type of service provider is difficult and even more so with freelancers who can’t provide detailed updates/reports. We’ve all run into some clients with extremely ambitious uptime requirements (2 hour or less-repaired…not calls…repaired). Frankly, some of these reach the point where they need to consider installing multiple devices.
- Customer service- In the financial services industry, having well-groomed, uniformed techs with security badges (and background checks) is an expectation. Of course, a dedicated service provider doesn’t guarantee this will happen everytime, but it does establish a precedent.
All in all, there is no doubt that service is a complex equation. Being able to offer different levels and types of service is not the same as someone being able to sell you a three year option instead of the standard one year (though there are providers with standard 3 year).
Higher reliability components, eliminating consumer technology, longer lifecycle and eliminating unnecessary complexity are some of the ways you can make it easier on your service group. Having to support 20 configurations with 20 different firmware levels, 10 different computers running 3 different Operating Systems patched 20 different ways is why larger service-anything-anytime companies like NCR and IBM do a healthy business in the enterprise.