Jul 22, 2021
DivDat Kiosks: Serving Communities with Convenience and Care
At the heart of our company’s mission — to promote the inclusion of the unbanked and underbanked in today’s online banking and bill paying services world — is the idea of service. For DivDat, that means finding ways of Leveling the Paying Field™ to provide marginalized or left-out populations access to systems that offer benefits most of us already enjoy.
In last month’s blog I shared what some users have to say about how they are being served by our kiosks. Given the centrality of the user experience to our mission, I want to talk a bit more this month about that experience, but this time from a slightly different perspective — that of our ambassadors.
What Are Ambassadors?
Ambassadors are folks who “float” across locations with DivDat kiosks, helping people learn how to use the kiosks, pointing out the features of doing so, and soliciting real-time feedback on user experiences.
As they spend time in various places and get to know the people who use the kiosks there (many who regularly use them on the 1st, 3rd, and 15th of the month, when paychecks arrive and bills are due), our ambassadors become integrated with local communities. This integration affords our ambassadors a unique perspective into how users perceive the kiosks and what they have to offer.
Lead ambassador, Brenda A., is quick to report on behalf of all our ambassadors that the prevailing user sentiment is simply this: They love the kiosks. But the takeaways go far beyond that, according to Brenda. Based on ambassador interactions with users, including their comments and feedback, we have a clear picture of how our kiosks are serving user communities with convenience and care.
Convenience is a broad term, but Brenda talks about several specific manifestations when it comes to how users feel about our kiosks:
“[People] do their [regular] grocery shopping and can pay their bills when they go to the grocery store.”
Brenda says many of the people she and other ambassadors talk to used to go to multiple locations to pay their bills. Those folks tell our ambassadors how convenient it is to be able to pay several of their bills in one place in their neighborhood — often within walking distance of their home or job — and how happy they are to avoid having to drive somewhere and pay for parking, take a bus, or get a ride to take care of their bills.
“Some [people] can’t believe that we don’t have fees.”
Brenda indicates that users are constantly both astonished and grateful that there are no fees for paying bills through the kiosks. Many users have come to expect that they will pay for any kind of convenience in their lives and are pleasantly surprised to find that’s just not the case with the kiosks.
“[Users] are happy to get a receipt and love that it comes right away [on paper or by text or email]. They also like that [payment] is posted right away.”
Brenda says many kiosk users are folks who, until recently, paid bills by mail or went somewhere and stood in line at a customer service window to submit their payment. She says those people consistently tell ambassadors how relieved they are to have immediate proof of payment and virtually instant payment posting.
Convenience comes up again and again, Brenda says, in ambassador exchanges with kiosk users. But she notes it’s also clear that users feel cared for as they are introduced to bill payment through our kiosks and use them on a regular basis. “They enjoy us being there,” Brenda says. She talks about how friendly and welcoming ambassadors are and how patiently they work with first-time or reluctant users to make them feel comfortable with the technology. By all indications, users understand that we (DivDat) — in the form of the kiosks and our ambassadors — are here for them.
The Bottom Line
We are working hard at Leveling the Paying Field for the unbanked and underbanked, trying to change their bill payment landscape. Our ambassador program, which exists both in and for the communities we serve, is just one more way we are pursuing our mission.
Are you part of a community that’s interested in being served with convenience and care? Do you have other ideas about our service and how it might be even better? Drop a note in the comments or reach out to me directly. Together we can make a real difference in the lives of our fellow citizens.
Jason Bierkle is President and CEO of DivDat Kiosk Network and currently on a mission to promote the inclusion of the unbanked and underbanked in today’s online banking and bill paying services environment through free, convenient, self-serve payment kiosks.