How to Ensure High Adoption for A Bill Pay Kiosk

In our experience, once a customer uses a self-service payment kiosk, they’ll continue using it again and again. There are many benefits to customers who use the technology. Customers who use self-service kiosks to pay for things like electric and water bills, parking tickets, property taxes, and more:

  • Skip the line, with fast transactions of under a minute on average
  • Maintain privacy and discretion, for instance if they need to pay a little toward their bill throughout the month
  • Avoid fees and penalties, since kiosks can offer 24/7 service with real-time posting to their account
  • Gain control and convenience in the payment experience, enabling people to pay what they can, when they can — including after business hours, so customers don’t need to take time off work to make important payments

Many of our kiosk clients reach 100% adoption for customers who pay in person, and particularly for those who pay in cash. CityBase kiosks are easy to use, quick to pay, and offer free options for people to stay current on their important city, county, and utility bills — sometimes even from the same one-stop bill pay kiosk

So how do you ensure a high customer adoption rate when you introduce this new payment channel? We recommend the three Ps: Placement, Promotion, and Practice.


Placement: Put Your Kiosks Where Your Customers Are

“We used to have lines of people outside the lobby before we opened. Of course we don’t have that anymore,” says a customer operations manager at City Utilities of Springfield

There are many options for where to put a payment kiosk. CityBase has indoor, through-wall, and outdoor kiosk models that can be installed as a drive-through or walk-up kiosk pay station. Since the only site installation requirement is power and cellular service, it’s easy to install kiosks in the optimal location (we also conduct site surveys to help with this decision!). 

The best locations for kiosks are where your customers most commonly pay, and where they’re most comfortable paying. For instance, if you see a monthly rush in your payment center lobby on billing due dates, consider kiosks both inside and outside your lobby, so people will see them when they come to pay their monthly bill. 

If you don’t have a payment center or you have limited hours of operation, it may be more convenient for customers to have kiosk machine locations in familiar community businesses like in grocery stores and other retailers.

Las Vegas Valley Water District drive-through kiosk
Las Vegas Valley Water District has kiosks inside and outside their payment center, including drive-through kiosks where customers can pay without leaving their vehicles.


Promotion: Let People Know They Have a New Way to Pay

“Overall, accessibility is something that the constituents have really been pushing for. Anytime you invest in technology, especially technology that brings accessibility and reduces the burden on your constituents, it’s always a win for the city,” says the comptroller for the City of Chicago

For customers to use a new payment channel, they need to know the new option exists. Here are a few recommended tactics for promoting your new bill pay kiosk. 

Promotional flier – Include a printed flier along with mailed bills for the first two billing cycles of your new kiosk program. Fliers can spread awareness of the new payment option, how it works, and where customers can find the kiosks.

Website text – In the same place you provide information about billing and payment options, provide information about how customers can pay by kiosk, including kiosk locations.

Invoice update Prominently promote the kiosk payment option on bills your customers receive. We recommend this as a permanent change to your invoices. Additionally, if you email your customers their bill, you can include this information in e-communications about their upcoming payment.

Signage – Place signage to spread awareness about your kiosks in locations where customers come to learn information about their account or make in-person payments, such as at a payment office, building lobby, information desk, or other high-trafficked areas. 

Press release Announce the news of your kiosks with a press release that can be published on your website, social channels, in a community newsletter, and local news outlets. 

Social media – Celebrate your investment in customer convenience and accessibility by sharing news of your kiosks on your social media accounts.

Outdoor payment kiosks can be installed as a drive-through 24/7 kiosk
Lawrence Utilities has clear signage to promote their outdoor payment kiosk.


Practice: Staff Greeters and “Anchor Payments” Build Customer Confidence

“Once the customer uses that kiosk once, they are coming back and using the kiosk the next time they make their payment,” says an accounting services manager at Alabama Power

Some customers may be hesitant to use new technology for the first time. You can help get them past the initial hurdle by training your staff as greeters. Staff greeters can welcome customers and direct them to pay at your new kiosks for the first 6 to 8 weeks of your new kiosk payment solution

Staff should allow customers to complete their kiosk transactions on their own, so that customers gain familiarity with the technology and can see how easy it is to use. Staff can stand by to answer any questions to ensure customers have a positive experience. If customers have questions following their transaction, make sure your staff greeters continue conversations away from the kiosk so other customers can access the kiosk.

NYC kiosks in their business centerc
New York City used staff greeters to familiarize their customers with new payment kiosks in their business centers.

Another way to promote practice is by including an “anchor payment” on your kiosk. CityBase kiosks enable multiple bill types on the same machine, across a single city or county, or from multiple entities like a utility provider and its neighboring local government. 

Payments with high frequency like a utility bill or a tax payment mean that customers have to pay multiple times throughout the year. This anchor payment will both help customers gain familiarity with a new payment channel from repeat use, and it will also multiply their convenience from using a faster payment method over and over again. Next time they need to pay a bill — whether it be the “anchor payment” or a different bill that’s also available — they will turn to the kiosk time and again.

By building customer confidence that new payment kiosks are easy to use, and more affordable and convenient than other payment channels, you ensure a high percentage of happy repeat users.

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