Customer Experience in a Post-COVID 19 World
Tourism, worldwide travel, and the hospitality environment are all being impacted by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. For many industries, a 'new normal' is being carved out, one that encourages all organizations to try to adapt to new client expectations.
Restaurants and regulatory agencies have been debating the importance of ever-adaptable reopening tactics. These strategies have ranged from using transparent screens at the cash register to restricting the number of clients at each table and maximizing outside dining options.
It doesn't end there, though. Employee training in new health and safety laws has become a top priority, and the need to transition to contactless transactions via digital menus, mobile ordering, and payment has increased considerably.
Customers in the COVID-19 era are more conscious of hygiene, health, and safety than ever before. This means that the catering sector has a larger responsibility to instill greater confidence and comfort in its guests when they return.
With that in mind, what are some of the COVID-19 changes that could be beneficial to hospitality businesses in the long run? What are the best ways for you to meet this new set of customer expectations?
What Steps Can Bars and Restaurants Take to Adapt?
To begin with, if you want to manage a successful bar or restaurant, you'll need to check off the health and hygiene box.
New criteria and laws have already changed the way you do business, and these restrictions are here to stay for the foreseeable future. Customers are now more aware of shabby restrooms and expect to see hand sanitizer dispensers throughout your establishment.
Other important rules to follow include the Australian government's COVIDSafe plan, which, among other things, requires all food industry operators to have sufficient ventilation - the introduction of fresh air and the removal of stale air from a place - to prevent the transmission of viruses.
Customers are more informed about such measures than ever before, and they expect them to be the standard. Government officials will hold corporations more accountable for putting such procedures in place in the future.
Even once the COVID-19 restrictions are released, there are ways to reassure your clients that you still care about them and their safety. What can you do to give your visitors that sense of security?
Keep Your Cleanliness Levels Up
It is now more critical than ever to keep your premises clean. In your rush to get back to 'business as usual,' it's critical that you don't disregard cleanliness by focusing less on your cleaning product budget or cleaning hours allocation.
That's something you can't afford to do! Customers will need time to trust public spaces again, and you should help them trust you if you want your business to grow. Here are three pointers to get you going:
Hire a deep cleaning provider to maintain your restaurant clean every quarter in addition to your in-house cleaning crew.
Create a cleaning schedule for all of your employees, emphasizing the significance of cleaning and keeping excellent hygiene at all times.
Most importantly, let your guests know about your efforts. It's a good idea to post signage with your cleaning schedules or even highlight your hygiene processes on order receipts to let guests know about your new and better standards.
TIP: You can write attention-getting messages on a variety of chalkboards, including tabletop and wall-mounted chalkboards, as well as huge A-frames for pathways and outdoor places. Using a bright set of whiteboard markers is sure to draw attention!
Which Social Distancing Operations Should You Keep?
Contactless payments were one of the inventions that had really started to gain traction prior to the epidemic. When it comes to paying a bill or inputting a PIN number, it saves time for both the client and the business owner. With customers expecting more sanitary and time-saving methods of payment, tap-and-go technology is here to stay.
As part of a transition to a more environmentally responsible style of working, several businesses have already implemented e-receipts in favor of traditional paper receipts.
Sending receipts to your customers' email addresses is an excellent approach to grow your client database. This makes it easy to keep customers informed about special offers and new drinks or foods you've added to your digital restaurant menu.
TIP: If you're seeking for new methods to communicate with your consumers, our guide to Beacon Technology will show you how simple it is to leverage wireless networks while remaining contactless.
Digital Menus and Mobile Check-Ins
Mobile check-ins will cut down on lines and wait times while also improving contact tracing. They make it simple for your personnel to confirm customer arrivals and rapidly manage table assignments.
Even the most digitally averse guests are now more comfortable using their phones when visiting a pub or restaurant, thanks to the increased understanding of safety standards and laws as a result of COVID-19.
Mobile check-in apps can also help you provide faster assistance and better service to your guests by displaying your menu directly after they check-in.
Condiments for the Table 2.0
Limiting the spread of germs by removing salt and pepper sachets or dispensers from shared spaces is a simple but efficient measure. Simultaneously, rethinking condiment distribution and just offering them when requested helps to reduce food waste.
Allowing condiments to be an optional extra rather than a required item on each table contributes to a more sustainable approach.
Services for takeout and delivery
While restaurants with pre-existing delivery channels had to upgrade their services, others who had never specialized in takeout (or worked side-by-side with food delivery companies) had to quickly adjust if they wanted to stay open during the lockdown.
Accepting phone and online orders, delivering food while it's still hot, and setting up an online payment option are all part of establishing a rapid and profitable meal delivery service. However, with the rise of internet food delivery applications, restaurants and pubs now have more options than ever before.
Preparing for a Post-Pandemic World
So, how are Australian restaurants and bars preparing for a post-pandemic world? On Deliveroo, Mary's Pitt Street location offers a digital restaurant menu with more vegan alternatives, expanding the number of items available to cater to a far bigger consumer base than ever before.
Customers at Porch and Parlour in North Bondi may now use the Hey You app to order from the full electronic menu, avoiding waits and personal touch with others.
Yellow & Monopole in Potts Point, Fred's in Paddington, Mr. Wong in Sydney's CBD, and Ester in Chippendale are just a handful of the fine dining establishments that have started offering takeout services, bringing good food to people's homes for the first time. This isn't your typical takeout!
The COVID-19 pandemic has caused the hospitality industry to rethink what customer experience and care entails in such a short period of time. While we may not disinfect every hour at home, public spaces will be scrutinized much more closely.
Above all, we must remember that we will need to learn and adapt on a continuous basis, taking into account factors that have never been addressed before.
"When restrictions go away, or we are met with new constraints, all of a sudden we can do new things," says Tim Calkins, a clinical professor of marketing at the Kellogg School.