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    Blogs from Around the Industry

    When Were Restaurant Pagers Invented?

    Reservations used to look like tipped-in chairs and restaurants used to assume the table would be filled every night with their usual faces of businessmen and people who like to take up the same table each night.

    Of course, throughout the 20th century, people realized that this was no longer a dependable way to reserve tables nor fill their seats with new people. Restaurants in the 1980’s found that the concept of no-shows was causing big problems, impossibly long reservation lists, and emptier restaurants with an unhappy and lengthy line. Soon though, a new technology would fix their problem.

    Enter - the restaurant pager. Restaurant pagers gave a measured and fair tell of who was where in line without the businessman bias or the no-show issue. Especially when restaurants became chains and the entertainment of the night for families and couples was, in fact, going to dinner.

    Themed places like The Cheesecake Factory would have people waiting up until an hour and a half for dinner, making it possible to utilize the technology to make better use of the lines and waits. Now, we see restaurants hand out these palm-sized pagers to let its patrons walk around without worrying that they missed their reservation, or their name being called out.

    It also allows customers to wait longer than they might ordinarily because they are not just sitting there waiting for the time, but they can also walk around and look at stores, shops, or other means of entertainment to pass the time.

     

    The Invention Itself

    The invention of the restaurant pager actually came along long before its utilization in the dining industry. In the 1950’s, physicians created what we know now as the restaurant pager. It took 42 additional years to use it properly in restaurants on a regular basis.

    In 1995, the restaurant coaster-style pager was invented, and the wait times and restaurants collectively took an exhale. Originally, the pagers did not buzz, this was added later on as well as some unnecessary and memorably annoying features were also added.

    The pager would buzz and make an alarmingly loud noise if you exited the range of the pager, quite literally shouting at you: “You are out of range!” While some of these kinks have been ironed out by time, others have remained, and some older restaurants don’t have a need to upgrade considering the simple technology doesn’t really age out.

     

    Final Thoughts

    The restaurant pager is an integral invention to the flow and movement of lines and restaurants and is the reason why we can have long wait lines today. It is a fool-proof way to make sure that the next order received is the next order filled, everyone is happy, everyone gets a seat.

    How Do Restaurant Pagers Work?

    Of course, you’re already familiar with the four-by-four disks that you’re handed nearly every time you decide to go to a busy restaurant with a wait – but how do they work? Often, we do come across items that we use every day, but we still have no idea how they work. However, today, we’re going to look at how a restaurant pager must work in order to let you know when your table is ready.

    Typically, we get handed this small little box that gives us the freedom to wander about while we wait for our table. But how does this technology work? In essence, this tiny box is actually just a pager. By definition, a pager is a very simple radio that listens to one station all the time. The radio transmitter broadcasts signals over a very specific frequency so that the pager can pick it up. All of the pagers for the specific network are tuned into the same frequency broadcast from the transmitter.

    Each Pager has its own identification sequence known as a CAP (Channel Access Protocol) code, and each pager listens for its individual and unique code. When it hears its code, it alerts the user and, depending on the pager type, will let the user know additional information. There are 5 basic pager types. The Beeper, VoiceTone, Numeric, Alphanumeric, and Two-Way. They all serve different function in the notification type but for the same goal of alerting the user. Most restaurants use the beeper type. These are the ones that buzz in your hand to let you know your table is ready.

    The restaurant will have a small paging system to cover the surrounding area, this is called an on-site paging system like a desktop transmitter. This is the device that sends out the signal for the pager is to be listening to for their unique code. The area range can change based on this device, but restaurants typically like to keep the area small anyway so that customers can make it back to the front desk to claim their table relatively quickly from when they receive their alert.

    Pagers usually run on rechargeable batteries, hence the fact that you will usually see them stacked up in a tall pile. This is because they all charge together through the contact of the metal of the connective screws at the corners. They charge through conductive metal electricity and form a charging chain.

    So, the next time you wait for a table at a restaurant and patiently (or not so patiently) stare at the pager in your hand, think about how much work goes into you knowing that your table is ready for you. You might just have a whole new appreciation for the technology that gives you the freedom to walk around while you wait.

    How Far Can Restaurant Pagers Reach?

     

    The moment every patron is waiting for – when the pager buzzes. But before that, the question they ask first is always: “How far can I go to where it still works?” We’re going to look at the answer to that question and any more information about pagers that will help you understand how to best supply your restaurant and more importantly, your patrons.

     

    Best Pager Style

    First, let’s talk about the best style of restaurant pager. The classic style of buzzing and light-up pager is truly the way to go. They’re numbered so it’s easy to keep track of all of them, come with a home base console, and easily stack. This is so helpful when considering that you will have many different patrons scattered and will need to categorize them as a number. This variety also typically doesn’t need to connect to the internet or phone lines, is easy to operate, and is a no-setup required version.

     

    How It Works

    With a centralized hub system, the pagers are activated by a hub that you dial the number, and it pages the specific pager. This eliminates the need for noisy overhead announcements or cause of confusion with names or anything of that sort. Additionally, with an increased pressure on security in this day and age, this also eliminates the need to offer phone numbers or exchange personal information. It’s much easier and much less personal, which is a priority.

     

    Reach Distance

    The typical pager reach is around 805 meters, which is equal to about a half a mile. This is plenty of room for your guests to be spread out but also close enough to make their way back quickly. Additionally, it is unlikely that even in a shopping center setup the patrons will go farther than that distance. It’s really great that there is the perfect amount of distance post-pandemic to allow people both freedom and comfort at the same time.

    Additionally, there is also a capability to add extenders to the main hub in order to increase distance if you have a bigger area you need to cover. The half a mile distance is great, but should you need to increase it more, there is always that option. Covering the smallest and biggest of spaces, the pager system is a wonderful solution for any waiting system.

     

    Final Thoughts

    The pager system and distance is incredibly ideal for any scenario and allows for the safety of your patrons while keeping them updated and alerted of their place in line.

    What is Customer Service Technology

    Good customer service is the result of the right attention to strategy, business processes, technology, and people management. This seven-part series focuses on customer service technology and explains the what, why, how, and when of the technology. Let’s start at the beginning: What is customer service technology?

    The contact center technology ecosystem for customer service is a nightmare of complexity. At a high level, to serve your customers, you need to:

    1. Capture the inquiry, which can come in over the phone, electronically via email, chat, or SMS, and over social channels, like Twitter, Facebook, or an interaction escalated from a discussion forum or a Web or speech self-service session.
    2. Route the inquiry to the right customer service agent pool.
    3. Create a case for the inquiry that contains its details and associate it with the customer record.
    4. Find the answer to the inquiry. This can involve digging through different information sources like knowledge bases, billing systems, and ordering databases.
    5. Communicate the answer to the inquiry to the customer.
    6. Append case notes to the case summarizing its resolution and close the case.

    The technologies to do this are the ones for:

    • Multichannel communication. This category comprises technologies that support the business processes for interacting with customers over voice, electronic, and social communication channels. These technologies include automatic call distributor, computer telephony integration, interactive voice response, speech recognition, predictive dialing, email response management, chat, co-browse, virtual assistants, social media adapters, proactive outbound notification, and mobile customer service applications.
    • Knowledge management. This category comprises technologies that are used to identify, create, review, publish, and maintain multimedia content, including video, that allows customer service agents to answer customers’ questions and allows customers to find answers to their questions via Web self-service. These technologies include knowledge management, video, and customer communities.
    • Agent productivity solutions. This category comprises technologies that agents use to create and manage an incident (case) in response to a customer inquiry. It includes applications that are used to monitor agents’ answers to questions to ensure a consistent service experience in accordance with company policy and applications used to optimize agent staffing and scheduling. These technologies include case management, process guidance, unified agent workspaces, quality monitoring, and workforce management.
    • Customer service analytics. This category comprises analytics used to deliver the optimal service interaction that is targeted to the persona of the customer and the issue at hand. Technologies include next best action and interaction (speech and text) analytics.
    • Voice of the customer. This category comprises technologies that customers use to interact with their peers to share advice, best practices, and how-to information. It includes the technologies customers use to voice their opinions regarding a company’s products and services over social channels. Technologies include enterprise feedback management systems and social listening platforms.

    Original article by Kate Leggett @ https://go.forrester.com/blogs/13-06-27-what_is_customer_service_technology/

    Role of Technology in Amplifying Customer Services

    Undoubtedly, technology has always been the prime mover behind the progress of this human civilization. Thankfully, you don't have to re-invent the wheel for branding the unparalleled power of it. Similarly, the role of technology in amplifying customer service is not undeniable. Before we move to the focal point of this article we need to answer a simple question.

    In this digitally smart age, how we define a customer today? A mere consumer?

    Nope. Today's smart analytics systems define a customer through his buying pattern, social activities on popular social media platforms, interests, online searches, food patterns and others.

    And technologies play an important role in amplify customer service. Below are points that will help you to understand the whole picture in an organized way.

    Technology helps to improve customer experience and improve customer loyalty.

    Harvard business review says that- ‘we’ve found that organizations able to skillfully manage the entire experience reap enormous rewards.’

    So, what is the key metric to improve customer experience? Evidently, it's the proper communication with the right context which should be always ready for the customer's activities. Today, every marketer knows that their customers are a phone call away. Added to that, e-mails, onsite chatting services, social media are redefining the level of real-time communication.

    50 years ago instant communication was a virtual concept. Now, customer experience depends on these tech factors and it's not hard to understand that a good customer experience breeds customer loyalty.

    Technology has made payment and refund policy easier, which is very important.

    Gone are those days where people used to carry loads of cash to their favorite shopping places for payment. Technology has made most of the payment systems that we use every day, cashless.

    According to Epam, an American carries as much as $20 with them daily. Moreover, 10% American don't even bother to carry any cash with them. The most interesting part of the story is No, as they have predicted, fewer than 25% of all in-store purchases will be cash based.

    So, here's the idea. Most of the finger happy next-gen, who are a single tap away from buying their wishes, will not care about old school and lengthy cash dealings as this are the age of seamless electronic payments. Technology has made modern payment and refund system simple, transparent and instantaneous through the web.

    Admittedly, customer's trust greatly depends on these tech factors and probably, this is the cardinal reason behind every user's thinking that e-commerce stores are safe heaven regarding this neo-modern payment and refund system.

    Advanced features like live chat can help increase the interaction with customer.

    Business is all about making a healthy relationship with customers and it greatly depends on instant communications. ‘User interaction’ is the linchpin here in this case.

    Since the advent of www2.0, the web has become awfully interactive with us and the same thing happened with marketing too. That's why marketers like to brand modern marketing as 'interactive marketing’.

    Most of the e-commerce stores and other online business offer advanced services to their customers like 24*7 online customer support, online problem docketing, live chat tools and other similar ones. It's statistically proven that those companies are getting ahead in building a large user base that are employing these advanced techniques to offer a superior level of service to their valued customers.

    Technology enables you to keep your customers updated and engaged.

    I bet, right now you are thinking about various aspects of user engagement. Visually brilliant landing pages, stellar display of product features, push notifications, deep linking and so on. You are right. These are the proven techniques to increase user engagement.

    Let's consider that, you want your customers to stay updated, in a continuous manner, with your product. What's the first thing comes to your mind? Let me tell you, it's the medium of the communication or publication as you want to reach as many users as you can. If you fail to do that, the very purpose of the product update will get defeated. Right?

    So, the best way to do this? Obviously, the best way to execute is through your website as you know that most of your users are hooked to web 24*7*365. So, if you publish your product update on the web it will penetrate most of them.

    We do live in a connected world now where internet is the lifeline

    Today, a morning Alarm goes off early if there is a traffic jam on the way to the office. Even my smart container smiles at me with a slashing tone that I have forgot to take my morning pill. Admittedly, we act like honest pets to our smart devices which govern our daily lives.

    So, the role of technology in amplifying customer service is not a unknown one both to the marketers and users. Technology is only here to shape future possibilities, turn fictions into tangible facts and to communicate people with the opportunities as we all live in a connected world. Aren't we?

    So, what's your take on this? Please, do enlighten us with your valuable visions.