Keys to a Successful Self Check-Out Project

This is GOLD if you are pondering self check, etc: (emphasis mine)

  1. Make it all or nothing. When we made the strategic decision to move to customer self check we removed the option for customers to have staff assist them in checking out materials. We made the decision to replace most of our staff terminals with self check units. I have seen a lot of libraries put up 1 or 2 units, off to the side of the circulation desk, but this is really a losing effort that has no meaningful impact. People are slow to change unless they no longer have a choice and although you may attract curiosity by having a few units available, it will never achieve wide acceptance as long as a staff member is available to help.
  2. Sell the vision to staff. Staff, especially circulation staff, need to understand the reason why you are taking on a self check project. It is not to outsource or eliminate their jobs, it is to empower them to perform other tasks. Another common argument is that customers like to have conversation with staff and that this will go away if self check is implemented. Actually, the opposite happens…staff are now free to have more conversations and can greet the customer in many more locations within buildings then before since they are not “tethered” to a circulation desk.
  3. Sell the vision to customers. Conversely, sell the vision to your customers. There will be a lot of questions and possibly some complaints on why you moved to self service. Take the time to explain to customers the need to operate more efficiently with less money and that staff will have more time to perform other valuable functions. Have staff out in front of your self check units ready to help customers who have questions or problems. Show them the benefits of not having to wait in long lines and how they can quickly process their materials to save time. And above all, have patience. It will take 3 months for the bulk of your customers to become completely comfortable with the system.
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