I recently had a great experience at a popular restaurant that made me think about how the customer experience was created and how customer experience is maturing in general. Clearly, a series of technologies were uniquely connected to create a greatly improved experience. Let’s review how these connected technologies helped drive a new experience.
In many casual restaurants, you place your order at the cash register and get a square device that would lights up and vibrates when your order is ready. Then you would go to the counter, look for your food, avoid other customers, and pick up your order. This is relatively efficient except if you had confusion on which order was yours, had a faulty buzzer, or the restaurant was busy and you had to jostle around other waiting customers. All in all, not terrible, but with continuous improvement and continuous customer experience improvement.
This restaurant used a series of connected technologies to implement not one but two improvements for their customers. I placed my order at the register and was handed a square device. But this wasn’t a buzzer; instead, it was a location device that tells the staff where I am in the restaurant so that they can deliver the order to me when it’s ready. I avoided the counter crowd altogether and was greeted with a smile from the server who delivered my order right to my table. Some type of geolocation technology is being leveraged either via wifi, RFID, or another system. I can easily imagine the square device being improved to provide an enhanced customer experience such as my name if I am a loyalty member, account balance, order info, or other helpful information.
In another scenario, I don’t even have to approach the counter. I open the restaurant’s mobile app and place my order. I then find a table, which is conveniently marked with a table number. I update my order with my table number. I now have avoided the cash register lines and the food collection lines. I can focus my time on finding a table. This improvement has used a mobile app, the cloud, a series of APIs, table number changes to the restaurant’s operational systems, and some good old people process improvements to deliver a new experience. I suspect that this system can track analytics as to food prep, wait, and delivery times. All of which can be used to refine the future experience.
We all have a responsibility to deliver great customer experiences. While the example that I experienced focuses on a dining customer experience, nothing is stopping us from exploring how connected technologies can improve existing – or creating great new – customer experiences.