-by Mani Kulasooriya
Imagine this: It’s Saturday evening. Your chefs are working tirelessly to prepare meals while your service staff arranges tables for the big rush ahead. Suddenly, your network goes out. The reservations on your guest management system disappear, and you have no way to tell who will be entering your doors on your busiest night of the week. You know the drill. You get on the phone with customer service, sit on hold, wait for assistance, and hope for the best.
This model of customer service is broken. Response times to resolve issues are slow and consistently take restaurant owners away from where they need to be, like running their businesses and tending to their customers and staff. It is also difficult for customer service teams to fix problems without a full investigation into the issue, and it can be hard for them to prioritize their attention if multiple clients are in need of help. Living in a world that increasingly relies on technology to organize and operate our businesses means we must be prepared for a malfunction at a moment’s notice.
But change is coming. With the technology available today, there is no reason why the next generation of customer service hasn’t taken off. Restaurants are already implementing next-generation customer service that preempts the need to call and sit on hold after an issue has already disrupted the flow of business.
Effective customer service means using real-time proactive monitoring tools that identify issues and address them before they become problems. It is important that the system provides an easy-to-read, color-coded dashboard view that clearly captures the status of all aspects of the management system for a particular restaurant. Alerts should be proactively triggered for the customer service team when an issue is identified, with thresholds calculated based on a combination of industry standards and averages.
Whenever possible, the customer service team should perform diagnostics and troubleshooting behind the scenes, without the need to notify the operator. If the operator does need to be looped in, the customer service team should reach out proactively, rather than wait for the operator to recognize an issue and call for help. The system should also track important operational metrics, including:
Network connectivity, such as overall bandwidth, or connectivity between registers within a network
Machine data, such as computation speed, disk usage, temperature of hard drive, or the number of hours the power has been on Router data, such as keeping an eye on whether cables are connected correctly
With these standards in place, customer service technology will be able to determine factors that indicate a restaurant’s equipment is likely to fail, such as hard drive failures, insufficient hard disk space, network failures, and more, many times before the failure actually happens.
With improved, proactive applications of customer service, restaurants will no longer need to fear technological glitches disrupting their business. Instead of scrambling ahead of the busy Saturday night rush, you can rest assured that your customer service team has already begun resolving the issue before you have a chance to even notice there is a problem.
This approach to customer service, though new, will prove incredibly beneficial to restaurant owners who are still adjusting to the use of the latest technology to run their businesses more efficiently. Technology cannot help restaurants operate more smoothly if it does not work. With systems that prioritize customer service and help troubleshoot and resolve issues before they are problems, restaurant operators can focus on their core business, knowing their technology is being monitored and issues are being resolved in real-time. This eliminates the need to spend time checking to ensure everything is working properly or acting as de facto tech support. As a result, restaurants can use technology to its full potential, employing data and management hardware to help them make better operational decisions and increase their success.