The ins and outs of Contact tracing

We look at all the ways to collect your customers info and the pros and cons

Contact tracing is a term that we have all become accustomed to in 2020, but as a process it’s something that people are still getting used to. It can be awkward, and people can be guarded when it comes to giving away their information. But at the end of the day it’s an effective way to combat the spread of infection and it’ll help keep hospitality businesses open.

You must remember that customer experience is everything, so getting this small technicality out of the way quickly and seamlessly is the goal. There’s a few ways that you can do this, and a few mistakes that you can make as well. So, if you’re still tinkering with your contact tracing or considering reopening soon, here are some key things to remember.

1) Keep things coordinated

At this point, any patron booking a table to eat is likely aware that they will need to submit their details. However, because every venue does it a little differently you want to ensure it’s clear and easy upon their arrival. Especially if you’ve got set booking times, there’s nothing worse than having a crowd of people hovering around as they try to keep socially distant. You should always have a member of staff at the ready to direct people to where they need to go.

2) Find out what works best for you

This really comes down to how your venue is laid out. Some establishments have opted to have a digital terminal there for when people arrive. But if you don’t have much of a waiting area, this can turn into a hassle when big groups all turn up at once. The same goes for a sign in sheet at the front desk. Possibly the most popular option is having QR codes at the table, ready for customers to scan once the seated and waiting for water. This seems to be the most seamless of options but be prepared to have something in place for Nana when she asks what a QR code is.

3) It’s your job to keep this information safe

There’s no doubting that people appreciate privacy, and documentaries like The Social Dilemma have people on red alert when it comes to their private information. They have every right to be sceptical, so it’s your job to make them feel confident in your abilities to keep this information safe. This is definitely not an opportunity to sign people up to your mailing list! They trust you to use that information for what it was intended, so don’t abuse that trust.

4) Keep staff up to date

Keeping the crew up to speed with procedures is commonplace in foodservice, so you should be all over this already. Due to the delicate nature of this type of information, be sure to check on and regularly test staff to see how they’re doing with it. Make sure they fully understand the importance of keeping, storing, producing and destroying information. It seems like something small but all it takes is one mistake and you could find yourself in hot water.

5) Keep your customers accountable

As much as you’d think that people will take this seriously, the unfortunate truth is that some people won’t. Whether they have made an error or simply can’t be bothered, it’s in your best interest to make sure that the information is correct. It’s okay to hold people accountable if they’re clearly ignoring your safety measures.

Contact tracing is something that we all need to get used to, because by all accounts it’s not going anywhere, anytime soon. If you do it right, then customers will be able to sit and enjoy their dining experience with little fuss. If it’s done incorrectly, you risk losing their trust and potential future business. Make it clear, quick and easy to navigate and don’t be afraid to ask the customer and staff how they think the process could be improved. It seems like a small thing, but as it often is the first thing people must do, it sets the tone.

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