Providing guests with unmatched hospitality and a great experience expands to more than just good food and service, Karl Atiyeh, chief operating officer at servme tells Catering News Middle East in an exclusive interview during the Global Restaurant Inves
The hospitality industry is a very competitive sector where many success factors may be outside the control of the restaurateur, however with a little bit of extra effort, operators can ensure a personalised experience for every guest, according to Karl Atiyeh, chief operating officer at servme.
“While great taste, ambiance and a central location will help attract customers, it is the overall service and experience that customer’s rate as the highest reason for returning to the restaurant,” Atiyeh explains.
“Providing excellent service is exceptionally difficult and goes beyond having a motivated staff that responds to each guest’s requests. Recognising guests when they return, paying attention to their special needs, especially allergies or dietary restrictions and catering to their preferences, including seating, drinks, and meal preferences are aspects that distinguish restaurants with top-notch service,” he adds.
However, attaining the needed data for this has been beyond the reach of most restaurants and as such they turn to other methods Atiyeh says, “Many restaurateurs are turning to loyalty programs to aid in enhancing their service and expanding the restaurant’s consumer base but unfortunately, loyalty programs excel in collecting guest’s contact details, thereby allowing the restaurateur to send mass emails or SMS, but are unable to provide the relevant data that improves service. Very little thought is given to how to reward the guest in a meaningful manner, resulting in 50% to 70% of reward programs going unused by the guest. Moreover, there is very little evidence that these programs increase guest spending and retention.
“A successful loyalty program is not about the number of guests that sign up but rather the ability to use real-time, organised, and relevant data to segment and reach specific customers based upon their preferences and habits. Using this data to personalise the guest’s experience and communicating with them through their preferred channel will make the guest feel special and drive loyalty,” he explains.
So how can loyalty programs collect data and use it to their full potential? This is where companies like servme step in, “In order to be effective, loyalty programs needs to integrate with current and future systems to truly offer a 360 view of the guest,” says Atiyeh.
“Servme is a data focused CRM software that integrates with currently isolated platforms like telephone networks, POS systems, loyalty programs and more through a robust table management system.
“The platform generates and aggregates real-time data about diners to provide restaurateurs with new and unbiased insights allowing them to cater to different customer segments and establish long-lasting guest relationships,” he adds.
“The use of relevant and organised data is a key driver in enhancing service and creating loyalty customers. Only through integration can restaurants collect the relevant data to truly make an impact in ways that standalone loyalty programs are unable to achieve.”