Category Archives: Advice and knowledge

Self Service on the Rise: Speed and Convenience

Several recent industry reports and surveys tracking self-service trends have seen a jump in the use of automated self-services.  According to an infographic compiled by 1-to-1 Media, “Self-Service is a growing global trend that’s helping customers to get the optimal experience they’re looking for more quickly.” 

With the advancements made by each technologically savvy generation, there is a growing consumer need to be able to help themselves, manage their purchase, and see more immediate results.  They also have a higher expectation for more self-service offerings whether at retail outlets, banks, supermarkets, post offices, medical facilities, pharmacies, motor vehicle departments, airports, seaports, hotels or train stations – virtually anywhere.   

With this in mind, the time is ripe for each of these vertical industries to examine which of their offerings can in fact benefit from being turned into an automated self-service operation that will successfully and happily get customers what they want in an expedited manner – where they are ensured a quick, fair and successful transaction.

When looking at service offerings that can be automated here are some points to consider:

  • Is the transaction something that is needed 24 hours a day – or could self-service automation enable it to be offered 24 hours a day?
  • How long does the average transaction take when handled by staff?
  • How long would the average transaction take if automated?
  • How long is the waiting period on average to service a customer?
  • How much time would be saved if the service was automated?
  • How complex is the transaction you are looking to automate?
  • Can you realize cost-savings by enabling customers to help themselves?
  • Will your customer experience/customer journey improve as a result of self service automation – will your offer be competitive, attracting customers?
  • Do you have additional upsell opportunities as a result of self service automation?

If you are pondering these questions, you are not alone. Consider talking to a Tensator self-service automation specialist to understand your options. Contact Tensator today.


Sequestration's Effect on Airport Queuing

It’s just been implemented and already the effects of sequestration have hit hard.  Lines at major airports have ballooned to 150-200% their normal size, creating delays and headaches for many travelers. According to the Customs and Border Protection agency (CBP), at John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) in New York, there were approximately 56 flights with wait times in excess of 2 hours, and 14 flights over 3 hours. Miami International Airport (MIA) reported 51 flights over 2 hours, and 4 flights approached/exceeded 3 hours – all uncharacteristic wait times and a result of reduced staffing.

The consequences of sequestration are only expected to worsen as federal departments implement furloughs and hiring freezes as we head into the busy summer travel season.

While travelers have been advised to get to their airports earlier, there are some other immediate proactive considerations that can be cost effectively implemented to help reduce or ease wait times:

– Deploy Virtual Assistants to deliver highly visual and attention capturing information to deliver clear, consistent messaging to effectively direct and ensure passengers understand all the information they need to know at either boarding, customs or security to improve efficiency, passenger flow and their overall airport experience.   

– Leverage automated queue management systems to determine the best, most effective queuing configuration based on current airport conditions.

– Implement display and signage, post and rope, Tensabarriers® and Single Line Queuing to ensure maximum airport efficiency in getting passengers to where they need to be, keeping them informed and increasing the speed in how passengers get served.

By putting in place these proven queue management solutions, the effects of sequestration as they pertain to long lines can be significantly minimized.  To request a meeting with a queue management specialist please contact Tensator

Deterring Flash Robs and Retail Theft with Access Control

This year’s NRF event covered a tremendous amount of ground educating retailers on a wide variety of subjects. An article that appeared in the show daily on NRF’s Guidelines on Flash Robs was definitely a worthy read. Flash Robs are an emerging phenomenon in which teens and children, some as young as 11, take part in gathering as an organized mob that has been triggered via social media for the sole purposes of robbing a retailer enmasse.

Retail crime is on the rise from flash robs to straight out shoplifting. According to a recent article in The Guardian, the overall cost of retail crime in the UK has soared by 15.6% in a year to £1.6bn as the sector is targeted by serious, organised criminals. The British Retail Consortium’s Retail Crime Survey 2012 found that nearly one in 20 stores was robbed during this past year. The average cost of each incident tripled to £3,005, from £989 the previous year, a result of more organised offending. The survey indicates there are 2m incidents of shoplifting a year in the UK retail sector as a whole, involving about £200m worth of goods. The average value of goods stolen rose by 28%, to £109. Systematic targeting of higher value goods by organised criminals is the primary cause for the increased cost of retail crime. 

In this news interview of flash rob victim Luke Cho, Mildblend Supply Co. store owner, you can tell he senses something is out of place when he sees streams of teenagers flood through his store doors. His gut tells him to lock the store to prevent more members of a flash mob from entering and preventing the ones in the store from leaving with $3000 worth of jeans.  For a while, this idea seems to thwart the offenders until they figure out how to open the door and make their getaway.

Leveraging this same concept, Tensator access gates provide an excellent way to help prevent and deter flash robs by making it easy to enter a store but difficult to leave with an unpurchased item.  The automatic gates clearly indicate where the store entry is – and there is only one way to enter the store; customers cannot exit back through the entrance gates as an alarm is triggered notifying sales/security staff.  Instead, customers have to follow the flow around the store to the exit which is after the checkout/point of purchase area. Tensator offers different models and customized styles of access gates to meet your store look and feel.  Access gates are an affordable investment that by their presence alone make criminals think twice about an easy getaway – and more importantly help ensure the safety of your employees, customers and merchandise.

 To learn more, visit access gates.



NRF Captures the Pulse of Retail 2013; Tensator Virtual Assistant Captures the Attention of Show-Goers

This year’s NRF had a decidedly energetic and enthusiastic feel to it.  The year is new and fresh – and so were the ideas and topics being discussed at NRF.  From debates on “showrooming” to  wowing in the store and not cutting prices – retailers came to learn about the latest trends and to get exciting ideas on how to capture customer attention and create one of a kind in-store experiences.  

The exhibition floor was positively a beehive of activity with large crowds of retailers swarming the floor.  We chose to showcase our next digital signage solution, the Tensator Virtual Assistant using our female standing model (the Tensator Virtual Assistant can be male, female, a celebrity, historical or a brand character, and it can be standing, sitting etc….).

Tensator Virtual Assistant

And she was in her element – determined to shine.  Literally glowing, (pun intended) she stopped people in their tracks, their jaws dropped, and their faces broke into smiles at her compelling human form that stood ‘head and shoulders’ above a sea of flat screen signage. 

They stopped to look and to listen to her tell her story — her voice rose above the show floor noise but she never had to raise her voice, and she just kept reeling people in.  She informed, guided people to the next available service agent as part of her integration with Tensator’s call forward system and she showcased Tensator’s custom, sleek PDUs.  She pulled long booth hours – never complaining about her shoes or how her feet hurt, didn’t take a lunch or bathroom break and never got tired of smiling or of telling her story. 

A conversation starter?  Oh yes, but so much more than that  – she captured people’s attention enabling Tensator’s team of experts to really engage 1-on-1 with retailers; half hour booth-side conversations were more the norm than not. The creative juices were flowing as retailers envisoned using Tensator Virtual Assistants in a myriad of forms, sizes and shapes from animated brand mascots to celebrities to helping sell promotional products to providing recommendations on dinner, recipes and wine pairings.

And while Tensator was at NRF to promote the Virtual Assistant, along with our newly launched MSM solutions, ironically enough, she did the promoting herself.  Judging from the reaction she got from retailers, she proved her point by just being her attention-getting self.