Customer experience rises to digital level
MANILA, Philippines–No more “I want to talk to your manager.”
In Mobikon’s vision, a restaurant manager can pinpoint which customer is unhappy about his dining experience before he even makes that pronouncement, for “the price of a happy meal a day.”
Starting at $99 a month per outlet, or nearly $3 a day, the customer engagement solutions company offers a 12-month deal on a software that gauges customer experience and helps companies profit from it, said Anuj Jain, vice president for Asia-Pacific.
The food business has been very traditional , he said, but people “have to adapt … so they will be able to use this platform to launch and monetize” positive customer experience.
The technology, mEngage, hosts in-store surveys and then crunches the data into a digital dashboard containing, for instance, a mood meter and ratio of negative to positive comments.
mEngage has engaged more than 2.2 million customers, in 700-plus outlets and 130-plus restaurant brands, such as Spaghetti Kitchen and The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf.
Present in Singapore and India, and key cities like Dubai, London, Macau and Kuala Lumpur, Mobikon in July last year added the Philippines to its coverage list, through a partnership with Powercom, an outsourced marketing agency and business incubator.
It now adds Seafood Island, NIU by Vikings, Potts Point and Shrimp Shack to its growing base here.
“F&B businesses [put] a large focus on the transactions and operations area of business,” Jain said, claiming that tunnel vision results in customer engagement that ends when the bill is settled. Establishments then miss knowing their market, and shoot from the hip with expensive but unspecialized promotions.
“Marketing [has been] looked at with skepticism because of the lack of sophistication,” Jain explained. “For the first time, it is a revenue generator, if you think about it.”
Fusing marketing and engagement, mEngage can alert management for 25 negative comments in the survey, such as “salty” or “long queues,” and can identify the tables that rated below ideal. The survey runs even without Wi-Fi.
“There was previously no catch net for bad reviews, people ranting on Facebook,” said Jain. The mEngage platform can monitor social media and also integrate existing apps.
“If you are not happy and somebody is able to come before you leave—or even within 24 hours after you’ve left and somebody calls—to say ‘I understand you have a problem. Can I help you?’ you can even turn into a brand ambassador,” he added.
Mobikon believes that loyalty and word of mouth are more profitable than luring in new customers, said Jain.
Over time, the “data-hungry” mEngage can segregate the survey sample through the frequency of visits, spend or points, and demographics, he said. It can then launch intelligent campaigns.
High-raters and birthday celebrators can receive electronic discount coupons. Customers can send referrals to social media friends. The platform can also promote sister brands or launch “miss you” campaigns. Mobikon can run multiple campaigns simultaneously.
Survey results would also reveal valuable insights. Secret Recipe, with around 200 outlets in Malaysia, improved its ambiance because it was the lowest-rated aspect, said Jain.
The mEngage is also something of a motivational tool. The survey can identify the best-performing employees, Jain explained.
It migrates from hours manually sifting through evaluation forms to automation, using “cloud” computing and the statistical analysis system. Reports are churned out in 20 minutes, covering varying periods.
The owner can receive summaries automatically.
According to Jain, some shops saw their revenues increase by as much as nine times through the platform. Customer response was also at 17 percent, compared to 6-8 percent for pen-and-paper surveys.
“Mobikon is very unique and perhaps the only company in Southeast Asia which has a real-time, in-store customer engagement platform … which ensures increased footfall,” Jain said.
Deals with banks and hospitality establishments are in the pipeline. Companies in the Americas want the platform but Mobikon is refusing as of now, Jain said, because “it’s a different animal altogether.”
The platform, downloadable through Android OS and iOS, will ask for pictures, a logo and the questions for the survey, and will go live after three days.
An outlet will get two tablets for free to pass around for the survey, and can opt to add more even for lease.
“We are very flexible,” Jain said.
Mobikon also offers online reservations and ordering, responding to “a big trend in Asia because of [worsening] traffic.”
“The vision is that if I open a restaurant, I just have to take a Mobikon tablet and everything is on it, everything is done,” said Jain.