The Danger of ‘Technology Narcotics’ While Meeting Your Customer’s Needs
Post-pandemic cautions should not compromise the customer experience
I recently read an article about restaurants using QR codes to replace their menus for customers. It laid out many benefits while also providing some concerns and cautions – something we as owners should review in our businesses.
As essential employees who were faced with a lethal virus late in the first quarter 2020, the automotive repair industry quickly adapted to touchless technologies that limited the opportunity of spreading the “COVID-19 virus” to the best of our knowledge at that time. The technology allowed us to perform all of our duties while keeping risks to our employees, staff and customers to a minimum. The question today is – do we continue using touchless technologies?
The article pointed out a number of things to consider, which I will get to shortly, but the primary takeaway I got from the article was an important one from a CEO of a restaurant chain: “Using a QR code has multiple attributes but be careful about your client – they are coming to your restaurant to relax and have an enjoyable experience. If the first thing they do is sit down with an immersion into the very technology narcotics they have used during the day and are trying to get away from, the experience could become negative very quickly; you must develop the relationship that puts your customer in control of that decision.”
An important point worth noting.
The other cautions came from using technology that takes customers to a website and all the security concerns it may expose your customer to, thereby creating other risks. QR codes, for example, are a link to the website, and one restaurant owner mentioned that they did not realize the provider was tracking information on their customers.
Returning customers using the “touchless menu” were prompted to order items based on previous choices and frequency. If the item was ordered before, customers were upsold for other items that may complement their meals.
“My concerns were, what else are they getting from this customer and are they retrieving any other information from my customer without their or my knowledge? Am I being exposed to a new cyber liability?” asked one of the owners. “I originally went into this going after a younger crowd, making it convenient to change menu item offerings and prices and making it an opportunity to reduce errors in ordering while also providing a safety net for potential food allergies that sometimes gets lost between the wait staff and the chefs. Suddenly, I have new worries that I never thought about.”
The owner went on to say after doing research, the third-party vendor acknowledged it does not sell or distribute information and that the risks are not any higher than any other customer online experience.
Does this mean we go back to our “old ways?” Not necessarily, but we should explain the “why” we do it so that customers can understand that it is to reduce the time their vehicle is in for repairs, not just for “our sake.”
The article concluded that many restaurants are beginning to offer both options to their clients when seating them – “giving control to the customer always makes for their best experience.”