It Ate My Money… Where Is My Coffee?


Today I witnessed a rather interesting situation at a local supermarket. The checkout line happened to be long, and while waiting, a customer went to grab a cup of coffee from a nearby vending machine. He inserts the bill, selects the beverage, and … nothing happens. He tries it again – the same result. A quick back and forth with the store staff member boils down to the fact that they are not responsible for this vending machine. It belongs to another company, and the store only provides a spot for it. “Call the hotline,” the employee said, pointing to a small sticker at the top right corner of the machine.

The man did not want to call anyone and get into another back and forth conversation with someone on the other line – he just wanted his coffee. Or at least to get his money back.

One of brave employees took a chance by pulling the plug of the vending machine and plugging it back. The vending machine rebooted. The man gave it another shot, and voila – the machine finally started preparing his beverage.

In this case, the problem happened to be solved informally on the spot, even without engaging the organization that owns the vending machine.  But I wonder if that customer was the first one who experienced this problem? How many customers before him had the same experience, but didn’t take it as far as he did? Does that vending machine have a problem which causes it to lock up frequently until someone decides to reboot it?  The equipment owner will never know this, simply because the customers do not usually take effort to call some “hotline number”.  What if all the customer had to do was to point his smartphone camera to a QR code and ta-da – the operator gets a text message that someone just had an issue with that machine at that location? 

Equipment failures are unavoidable. It is about how quickly a business can react to a problem and get it fixed.  Whether you have a dozen or thousands of units in the field, it is difficult to be everywhere to make sure everything is working right. An AirVote QR smiley gives the customer a way to provide their feedback on-the-go. Ran into a problem? Just scan the QR code and alert the equipment owner.  Want someone to get back to you?  Just enter your contact information.  Or enter an anonymous comment. In this particular scenario, would AirVote have changed anything for the man getting his coffee that day?  Probably not.  But – it would have prevented others from experiencing the same problem over and over.

AirVote records customer responses and comments. It can immediately alert the owner about the problem. All responses are timestamped and available to an operator to see if there is some failing equipment in the field or if it needs a product refill. If the customer includes their contact information, the operator can contact them and help solve the problem on the spot, or compensate for the damage. In any case, it is an opportunity to correct an issue that otherwise would have been left unnoticed.

AirVote helps you react and fix minor issues before they turn into big problems. Try it and find out for yourself.

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