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Behind the scenes of commentary host and Yelp’s small business expert Emily Washcovick shares an episode of this week’s podcast.
Jeremy Julian, host restaurant technician Podcast to know a thing or two about the food and beverage technology industry. He grew up in a family business that repaired cash registers, and now, more than 20 years later, is the VP of Professional Services at the same company, Custom Business Solutions.
Despite his long tenure in tech, he was the first to caution small businesses against assuming technology will always solve their problems. “Technology for technology’s sake is worthless,” Jeremy said, elaborating that technology isn’t worth the investment unless it’s implemented with the right mindset.
Early adoption that looks cool or creative may give your business an edge over the competition, but caution must be exercised — for example, using technology to create a better customer experience.
“People who are doing [technology] Have a good understanding of who their guests are and how they want to interact with the brand,” Jeremy said. “Once you define who your consumers are and what your brand is, that’s where you start to segment the technology. layer time. At the end of the day, it’s all about the experience and making sure guests have the experience they expect. What was that experience like? Your brand and what you’re trying to show the world really defines how you determine where you use technology. “
Because technology is supposed to solve problems or improve current processes, identifying existing pain points is key to using technology effectively. One way to do this is to become a customer yourself and “buy” the technology experience in a similar business.
“Go and be a consumer of two or three brands you know,” Jeremy said. “Business owners love talking to other business owners, and they love talking about what they’re doing well.” This can give you insight into how customers want to interact with the technology you’re trying to implement.
It’s also important to remember that what works for a large business might not work for a small business. When choosing a technology partner, think of them as a full-scale business partner. “They represent your brand. They represent your product. They represent your solution to the consumer,” Jeremy said.
Because technology is sometimes the first point of contact for consumers, the solution you choose should be intuitive and reliable. Otherwise, you risk losing potential customers. “Usually, they don’t walk in and talk to the owner. They’re on your website, they’re on this app, scheduling their time. It’s frustrating if they don’t have a good experience,” Jeremy shared .
Before buying a technology, consider whether it can grow with your business and integrate with other technologies you may need in the future.
Taking restaurants as an example, Jeremy said: “So you have to have a point of sale. My advice: that point of sale also needs to be open to other inputs to the system — whether it’s third-party delivery, online ordering, SMS ordering, SMS payment, All these different options – really create the customer experience you’re looking for.”
Fifty years ago, business owners collected customer data through face-to-face interactions. They know what regulars expect and like. With the advancement of technology, collecting data is easier than ever – but what you do with it is more important than simply having it.
As Jeremy points out, “Consumers, especially today’s consumers, as they continue to get younger, if you ask for it and you do something with it, they give you this data. If you ask for it Without doing anything about it, they will no longer come to your institution.”
In practice, this looks like parsing data for more efficient and personalized marketing campaigns, for example, showing you understanding consumers and why they frequent your business. One free way to get customer feedback is through online review sites like Yelp.
Ultimately, any technology you employ should support the original purpose of your small business. “[If] You’re in this business to serve people good food, hospitality, good service, back to that topic. Use technology to capitalize on that and provide a better experience for guests,” Jeremy said. “It goes back to ‘why did you create this brand? Then use technology to enhance the process and help you do it at a better scale. [It’s important] We do this at a rate that really helps consumers, because without them we end up having no business. “
While Jeremy’s specialty is restaurant technology, his advice applies to any small business. When considering technology, keep these tips in mind:
- Start by defining your consumer base. Before implementing a new technology, consider how your customers will use your business; this should guide your technology choices.
- Start small if needed, but have options for growth. If you’re starting with a small technology, make sure it’s adaptable and can grow with you as your business expands.
- Technology should always serve a purpose. Technology for technology’s sake can be more harmful to your business than beneficial. First determine the need for it.
- Become a consumer before implementing a new technology. An important step in adopting a new technology is to “buy” other similar businesses to see what you like (or dislike) about their technology.
Listen to the episode below, directly from Jeremy and Emily, and subscribe behind the censorship More information from new business owners and reviewers every Thursday.
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