Imagine walking into a restaurant and instead of being handed a menu, you are handed a tablet device. On the device is an interactive menu with photos of the food selections and suggested wine pairings. You make your selections directly on the device, the food is delivered to your table, at the end of the meal you swipe your credit card yourself, and the receipt is emailed to you. If you have dined recently at one of at least 600 restaurants already using the Presto system from Elacarte, you know that this is not a hypothetical, it is a reality. Get ready to see it at a restaurant near you, because the restaurants currently using it are boasting increased sales of 10% and a 25 percent increase in the number of times they can turn the table.
Businesses in every industry are currently looking at tablets or iPads and wondering, how can we use them to improve our customer service? Is this technology the answer to customer service problems? It is estimated that by 2015, more than 2.7 million tablets a year will be shipped for use in North American retail and hospitality centers.
One of the most quickly adopted applications for tablets has been the Square Register card reader. This small plugin device turns any smartphone or laptop into a mobile cash register. Armed with these devices, customer service representatives are free to roam around a store and help consumers wherever they are. Salespeople are free to conduct offsite meetings and accept credit cards for payment on the spot. Delta Airlines has been a leader in testing and adopting tablet technology for customer service. They are in the process of deploying 4500 iPads in airport hubs to give passengers access to flight information, food and beverage ordering, and as a way for travelers to pass the time checking social networks and playing games.
While these are all interesting and innovative uses, they are not the answer to all customer service problems. In fact, depending on your customer base, it could create more problems. Aside from potential adoption issues, there is still a human component to any business. Most people would still prefer to see a smiling and helpful server who cares about their experience when dining. Also, no iPad can make up for a missed service appointment or canceled flights. Tablets are a supplement to your current workforce, not a replacement.
Tablets and technology can be great tools, but they cannot make up for poor customer service. At NBRI, we recommend using a customer service survey to truly understand the impact of technology initiatives on your specific business. After you establish a new technology based customer service plan based on the results of the initial survey, re-survey periodically to gauge the success of your improvement initiatives. Contact us today to get started!