Box Technologies, the provider of customer interface technology solutions, has worked with WorksUnit to develop a bespoke self-service ticketing solution to improve customer service for Red Funnel, Isle of Wight Ferries, who operate between Southampton and Cowes on the Isle of Wight.
Red Funnel Isle of Wight Ferries is a highly successful transportation company and is well aware of the increasing levels of customer service demanded by today's travelling public. Its management team identified a need to speed up and upgrade their booking processes by adopting the latest developments in customer facing technologies, including self-service kiosks.
Many of Red Funnel's customers preferred to buy their tickets on the day of travel. However, this meant that customers often encountered long queues, particularly during peak hours, school holidays and when events and festivals were held on the Island. In addition, the manned booths at the ferry terminal only had set opening hours which again was a limiting factor in terms of customer service.
Box Technologies were tasked with supplying bespoke touch-screen kiosks that would be reliable and robust enough to withstand the demands of high-volume ticket delivery. They needed to be visually engaging, easy to use and enable secure payment transactions. They also had to fit in with Red Funnel's brand values and have a sleek, airport-style look and feel. WorksUnit were briefed to specify, design and implement a software solution that would be intuitive and make it quick and easy for customers to select and purchase their tickets.
Steve Wilks, Technical Director of Box Technologies highlighted the areas of expertise that Box Technologies could bring to the solution," We focused on helping Red Funnel improve their customer throughput by serving, supporting, engaging and retaining customers, with a reliable ticketing self service solution.
Providing both a cash and card facility was essential for out of office hours and the ticket printer had to be adapted to use the same hardware and media used within the existing ticket offices. The corporate image had to be preserved and the 'through the wall' Box kiosk was able to achieve all of these objectives with minimal design change. The solution is an adaptable, robust, visually appealing, secure self-service platform which is easy to use for both customers and staff alike".
Box Technologies installed its own high quality, versatile self-service kiosks which were to be flush mounted within the existing wall panels leaving only a well lit touch screen and pin pad. With a choice of hardware configurations, the unit also afforded Red Funnel the flexibility to customise the kiosks to their specific requirements, including the use of their logo and company colours to reflect the company's corporate identity.
Supplied with 17" touch screens, and robust enough to withstand 24/7 operations, these attractive kiosks provided maximum functionality within a compact design with a touch screen display that provided a vandal resistance surface, and yet was responsive enough for those users wearing gloves during colder weather. The software application developed by WorksUnit, also made it easy for passengers to perform cash and card processing transactions using the touch-screen interface and associated pin pad.
The kiosk design incorporated all the features expected by today's customers - privacy, speed, simplicity and convenience. From an operational standpoint, it was also important for Red Funnel to be able to utilise their existing printer and ticket type to ensure commonality within the unit as well as at the traditional service points.
The net benefit of the project has been significant, according to Jonathan Green, Sales & Marketing Director, Red Funnel, "There has been a significant improvement in operational efficiency and reduced queuing time, particularly during peak periods. With the self-service option to purchase the most common ticket types at any time of day, ticket office staff can now provide enhanced levels of customer service to those with more complex ticketing requirements and be more able to sell ancillary products such as rail, event and attraction tickets.
The after-sales service from Box has also been excellent and the kiosks are proving to be reliable and resilient to wear and tear so the total cost of ownership is proving to be lower than our initial estimates."
Red Funnel has always been an innovator in terms of technology and the introduction of the self-service ticket kiosks have been a great success and have brought undoubted benefits in terms of customer service, as Jonathan Green confirms. "We are delighted with all aspects of this project. The roll-out and introduction of the units has been excellent on time and to budget. Our customers have embraced this use of customer facing technology as strong ticket sales through the kiosks has demonstrated."
Indeed, customers have gained twice over. Those purchasing through the kiosks have appreciated the speed of service and the flexibility of the 24/7 operation whereas those needing more assistance can now receive even greater service from the ticket office staff.