When you’re an early stage startup, you’re like a newborn baby that’s trying to figure out the world and your place in it. Eventually, you grow out of life’s early stages of infancy and childhood and find a place for yourself. Reserve has moved through those stages in the past two years and is better off for it — we now fully understand our mission and have a stronghold on our position in the industry. We don’t need to crawl or walk anymore. Now, we can sprint.
As a result, we recently launched our Restaurant Success department across the country, whose sole purpose is to ensure that our partners have the best experience with our product and help them leverage it’s power to run and build their business.
What’s “Customer Success”?
As a part of growing up and our continued commitment to better serve our partners, we recently introduced two new changes: a clearly defined Customer Service team and an integrated chat thread into our table management called intercom.io. So what the hell does customer success mean? What is the purpose of this new team? At Reserve, we view customer success as more than just providing support to the restaurants we work with. Instead, it’s a partnership to ensure they are getting the most value and impact out of our product as possible.
Don’t get us wrong — support is an essential component. In fact, I love taking care of people, and nothing makes me happier. That’s why I got into restaurants in the first place, to make people happy. And one of the biggest frustrations for restaurants, something we view as a great opportunity for tech companies like us, is the total failure of customer support in the restaurant technology space. But customer success is about more than that. It’s about being a real, true partner — not just a support shoulder — to ensure that our clients succeed. If they succeed, then we succeed. It’s that simple.
Why We Care So Damn Much About It
Our client base is a group of businesses whose sole focus is to make people happy and deliver exceptional dining experiences. For that group, there is nothing more disappointing than calling the service desk of their highly expensive restaurant tech provider only to be told to call back during normal business hours or to leave a number and someone will get back to them…eventually. Often a problem can arise right in the middle of service when the last thing a restaurant can afford to do is wait for a call back from a representative who’s going to “gather information” then have some other person call them back again a bit later! At this point, the restaurant has probably already hacked a solution together with sharpies, duct tape and a mail pigeon and is mentally preparing the tapestry of words they are going to unleash on their account manager if and when they do call.
But what other options does the restaurant have? What are they going to do, rip out their table management system? Actually, yes. A resounding YES to ripping it out (they’re the one paying the bill, remember?)!
Customer Service the Reserve Way
Because of all this, we’ve recently equipped our Restaurant Success team and our restaurant partners with a way to make communicating more efficient and lightweight for both parties: intercom.io. Essentially, intercom.io is a chat thread that restaurants can pull up, ask a question, and one of our Customer Success team members will respond in short order. When you hear back, you don’t receive a standard auto response or canned help desk text. Instead, it’s a live, two-way conversation between the restaurant and Reserve, in most cases including various bitmojis and emoticons. Intercom.io is currently being tested in our table management system, and the feedback has been very positive.
We’ve always believed in having a direct line of communication with the people that use our product the most. Until now, iMessage has been thought to be the best way to do that but, operationally, that can be tough to scale. Thankfully, intercom has presented a better way for us to accomplish our goals without needing to compromise our support standards. This is another way for us to show restaurants that we care about their experience with us as much as they care about the experience their guests are having in their restaurant.
Now getting feedback is no longer a telephone game from host to manager to support to rep to tech — it’s immediate. Hosts, managers and reservationists alike all have immediate access to our team to give feedback and ask questions as they need it. “How do I do that thing from the new update?” “Is there a shortcut for doing this thing?” “You know what would be great…” It’s as much of a powerful tool for us as it is for the restaurant. We’re now in direct contact with the people that use our product the most, in real time, while it is happening. How cool is that? This gives even the newest hosts a co-pilot on a busy night, and owners and operators have a clear view into what those hosts are experiencing, no matter what comes up. Plus, it gives us a front-line view into how we are doing.
At Reserve, we call this hospitality for the hospitality industry, or Restaurant Success.
That’s something I’m proud to embrace as one of the core principles of our company because it is about damn time someone started treating restaurants the same way they treat their guests — as the most valuable asset they have.
Peter Esmond, Director of Customer Success at Reserve