SELF-SERVE CHECKOUT COUNTERS INCREASE PRODUCTIVITY AND REDUCE WAITING TIMES.
One of the most common complaints about shopping at supermarkets, according to Gary Rhodes of Kroger is the time it takes to check out. No one likes waiting in long checkout lines. The self-service units provide customers
with a faster checkout alternative where hey can control _ how long the checkout process takes. As a result. -the U-Scan systems have proved to be enormously popular with Kroger's customers. In addition, the U-Scan systems
are much more economical to operate than the traditional checkout counter with "a cashier ringing in the hems.
Kroger one of the nation's largest super market chains, is introduction self-service checkout counters. The U-Scan self-service checkout system, which is manufactured by Optimal Robotics, has been installed in approximately
one-third of Kroger's 2,380 stores. The U-Scan system accept all form of payments, including cash, credit cards,
bank tellers are no longer needed to process customer deposits and withdrawals, and customer service representatives are no longer need echo answer telephone calls. However, service managers need to recognize that by going entirely to a self-service delivery system, they will exclude certain market segments. For example, some customers do not want to pump their own gas at a gas station; similarly, other individuals prefer to obtain professional advice on investing in the stock market rather than doing their own analysis. Consequently, many service firms offer self-service as only one of several distribution channels for marketing their products. Inasmuch as it is usually the least costly channel, many service firms will offer customers incentives, often in the form of discounts, to use this channel, or, conversely, charge more when the interaction with an individual is required. Exhibit 4.6 provides some examples of how firms encourage customers to use self-service delivery systems.