Not another QR code by Gary Goodman
It is now a lawful requirement that hospitality venues record guests’ contact details and as of 24 September, they must also provide a QR code linking to the NHS’ Track and Trace app. But, with operators in Scotland and Wales required to also use a backup service, and many businesses also implementing their own track-and-trace systems since reopening, does the requirement of yet another QR code muddy the water and complicate the process for both operators and guests, at a time when we know the success of the customer experience is absolutely paramount?
One of the many effects of the outbreak of covid-19 has been an increased need for simplicity. With restrictions on what we can and can’t do, where, when and with whom seemingly ever-changing, the need for clarity and to provide reassurance has never been more critical. This is especially true for a covid-secure hospitality sector. Our own insight has backed this up, revealing that 60% of customers want simplicity when dining out.
Similarly, the latest data from the We Hear You campaign, a collaborative initiative driven by Yumpingo, CGA and UKHospitality to help the industry navigate the new normal by using guest feedback, also revealed that more than a third of diners felt their experience was negatively impacted by the new covid-19 safety procedures, but understood they were necessary. The balance between providing a reassuringly safe customer experience, and providing a seamless high-quality, memorable one is becoming an increasingly precarious challenge for operators.
It is also vitally important that hospitality businesses continue to build on the positive customer experience delivered during Eat Out To Help Out and do not jeopardise it by complicating the customer journey. We have a real responsibility to keep our guests, our teams and our communities are safe and well. NHS Track and Trace is a powerful way to do just that. It shows teams and guests the hospitality sector is professional, proactive and caring. It will enhance the sector’s reputation. Hopefully, this will also underpin the message that the industry is one worth the Government giving its continued support to.
With this in mind, we designed and launched a platform called Yumpingo Central to enable all operators to easily introduce new digital services that enhance and complement the customer experience across the hospitality industry. This means the guest only needs to use one QR code to access all the front-of-house digital services they require, such as the NHS app; a back-up track-and-trace app; menus; order and pay; and guest review facilities, to name a few.
Meeting the demand for concise signposting to vital information does not only streamline the customer experience, but it also gathers actionable insights that will drive loyalty. This will be more important than ever as the industry navigates what everyone believes will be a tough period as we enter autumn and then winter, with government support schemes coming to an end.
Yes, the sector has adapted swiftly to the new norm, but that doesn’t mean, in the rush to do so, it hasn’t made mistakes. While this has happened, the guest’s digital experience has, in some cases, become congested with multiple QR codes, something that will be further exacerbated by the new track-and-trace requirements, and online touchpoints causing confusion and further impacting the anxiety some consumers are still feeling when going to dine out. Now we have got them back into premises again, the need to simplify the digital journey has never been more important.
This is a challenge the industry needs to tackle collectively. We’re passionate about working side-by-side with technology partners, operators, agencies and industry associations to participate and support in an orchestrated and united industry response to the challenges we face. It was this focus that led to the development of the We Hear You campaign, something that we plan to continue evolving over the coming months to generate actionable customer insight for operators.
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Gavin Adair, CEO of Rosa’s Thai, said of the initiative: “We are delighted to be supporting the We Hear You initiative. There is nothing more important than understanding how happy and safe our customers feel as they return to our restaurants. The more we pull together as an industry to balance the need for safety and hospitality, the faster we all build confidence and custom.”
Join the growing number of operators re-igniting hospitality in the UK by listening to customers and providing quality insight in uncertain times.