How Technology Can Assist Service Staff

Ombori on Assisting Service Staff

Queue Management Apps

Queue management systems refer to a variety of digital software options that keep lines short and reduce perceived wait time by using virtual queues. They help businesses address and improve productivity and turnover, all while improving client satisfaction.

Appointment Booking and Virtual Check-In

Appointment booking and virtual check-ins are part of queue systems. They offer a platform through which the customers book appointments and check-in. In past years, these systems were already prominent in healthcare settings. Many patients have found themselves requesting or booking appointments online and completing check-in paperwork prior to arriving in the waiting room. However, the pandemic prompted the restaurant and hospitality industry to adopt the technology quickly. Customers can now schedule reservations online and check-in prior to visiting.

Digital Signage

Digital signage refers to static images, video feeds, and interactive signs used for informational or marketing purposes. Signage can be placed in varying locations — wall-mounted, floor-mounted, or ceiling-mounted — to target specific audiences during their in-person experiences.

  • An interactive map that directs airport patrons to specific locations within the airport. Customers can find bathrooms, stores, restaurants, etc.
  • A guided selling feature that directs customers towards products in the duty-free section. Users can browse available inventory and purchase products. This system can also help users identify products based on their preferences.

Self-Order Kiosks

Self-order kiosks are an interactive form of digital signage that have risen in popularity in the restaurant industry. They provide interactive menus and touchscreens visitors can use to order and pay for their food without interacting with a staff member. One prominent issue that the self-order kiosks address is errors in fast-food orders. In 2019, Rachel Pittman of QSR wrote about the increasing problems the industry sees with order inaccuracies and the factors that contribute to it: “More complex menus, busier lanes, and the drive-thru’s emphasis on speed are all factors that put pressure on accuracy. But these pressures aren’t expected to dwindle in the near future…” With self-order kiosks, the opportunity for miscommunication dwindles, and customer satisfaction increases.

Online Ordering (BOPIS and BOPAC)

BOPIS (buy online, pick up in-store) and BOPAC (buy online, pick up at curbside), are click and collect services primarily seen in the retail sector. More recently, these platforms have been used in the hospitality industry to accommodate eCommerce trends, and in the restaurant industry to streamline to-go orders. With click and collect services, customers order and pay for their product online ahead of time.

How Technology Benefits the Service Staff

The data is clear — queue management services, digital signage, and click and collect services make for higher customer satisfaction and increased sales. But what do these technologies do to benefit service staff?

  • Service staff members offer improved customer service. As Ombori CEO Andreas Hassellöf , “Poor time optimization not only results in frustrated customers, but it also means frustrated employees.” Because digital solutions make for more efficient use of them, they also make for calmer staff, which means better customer service.
  • Service staff can be allocated more appropriately by management, improving their experience at work. The analytics provided by technology offer management insight into peak hours, offering them the opportunity to staff accordingly. When restaurants are under or over-staffed, staff satisfaction declines. With technology that offers strong analytics of the flow of traffic, managers can build schedules that better serve everyone.

Better Living through Technology

Technology is at its best when it makes our lives simpler, not more complicated, and in the restaurant and hospitality industries, it is doing exactly that. While the COVID-19 pandemic forced businesses to adopt new tools like self-order kiosks, queue management systems, click and collect platforms, and digital signage, the increased customer satisfaction that came with those changes tells us something important: the pressures of the pandemic did not create unnecessary innovation; rather, they accelerated businesses toward solutions that better serve both customers and employees. These are innovations we can expect to stick around.

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