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Using Technology to Make More Customers Happy in the New Year

As we enter 2015, how can you make your new year happier than this past year? Most of us could agree that there are three areas that are essential to increasing happiness (after the really important areas of health, family, and relationships).

They include:

  1. Improving customer relationships
  2. Being more profitable
  3. Improving quality of life

Let’s break down these three areas and articulate how to accomplish the goal of happiness by utilizing technology. This will be the first of two articles on this important topic. Also bear in mind that one size does not fit all, and you will likely wish to mold these suggestions to work for your business.

Improving customer relationships. Understand that you have two types of customers: the obvious external customers and internal customers who need to be happy to keep you happy. You cannot do it alone; you need to foster relationships with your managers and staff. And strong relationships with your internal customers will help them improve service for external customers. How can this be achieved?

    • Get your technology in order, so that you become more efficient for the benefit of your customers – your customers will see that you care and will be happier as well. Upgrade your processes. Get your POS up-to-speed. The money you will pay to be sure the programming is friendly, efficient, current, accurate, and utilized properly will pay for itself over and over again. Frustrations with your POS can spill into conversations between servers or cashiers and cooks. Customers can hear and sense bickering. However, it is easily prevented by improving technology.
    • If you need to upgrade your POS completely, just do it. So many of us get a new phone every couple of years, spend a ridiculous amount of money monthly for service, pay for cable every month, and yet, put off improving the technology that runs, or should run, every aspect of your business. Look into mobile devices, secure payment methods, and cloud solutions. The way we do business is changing and improving, and you should reap the benefits of that improvement.

Being more profitable. Be mindful, if you complete step #1 above, then you will have happier employees and happier, more frequent customers, which translates into more profit. It is critical to invest in your business. This is easily and often confused with spending, which does not have a return-on-investment (ROI). Understand the difference and then embrace the ROI.

    • Social Media. Invest in someone who can help you navigate, utilize, and maximize this most import tool moving forward. It is too important to underutilize.
    • Replace those printers in your kitchen with screens. Ask anyone who currently uses them, and you will quickly be converted. You will see more profit because labor is reduced (generally this will pay for a whole new system), food quality is improved, waste and food cost is reduced, mistakes are reduced, and table turns are improved.
    • Put an end to those reports you have been looking at for the last umpteen years. Invest in cloud-based analytical tools. You will realize employee efficiencies as your check averages start going up and up. Shrink goes down because the reports expose the areas of loss and put them right in front of you. You can get alerts on your phone when a closed check is opened or an employee (think expensive cook) is approaching overtime.

Improving quality of your life. How can technology help improve your health, family, and relationships? After all, without these, it is not worth working so hard.

    • Health. You will be mentally and physically happier when the technology helps you work less hours, work smarter with better information, and work with the peace of mind of knowing you do not have to be there to see and analyze problems. You have made your customers happier, your employees happier, and you have time to go to the gym or spend time with your kids.
    • Family. Time is what your family wants and need from you. The smarter you work, the more love you will earn.
    • Relationships. With your customers. With your employees. With your family. With your health. That is the goal, and the answers are right in front of you.

Technology is a part of our lives, our children’s lives, and our customers’ lives. They live it, and for the most part, they love it. Make embracing technology for your business a resolution in the New Year and increase your level of happiness.

About the Author

Henry Pertman is Director, Hospitality Consulting at CohnReznick, located in the firm’s Baltimore, Md. office. He can be contacted at 410-783-4900 or henry.pertman@cohnreznick.com.

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