Yesterday I had the good fortune of spending a couple of hours with Ryan, a field manager of one of our Action Card clients. Flagship Restaurant group is a local treasure dedicated to the customer experience in their restaurants and they’re growing quickly. I was a customer of theirs long before they were a customer of ours and my family enjoys their Mexican fare at Roja and the best sushi in the Midwest at Blue Sushi. Their field manager is a work horse and will spend hours in their restaurants holding staff accountable to their rigorous standards but he does it the right way, encouraging staff, training and recognizing the positives. I watched him interact with the staff yesterday as we met to review the latest Action Card release. The meeting was supposed to be about me walking him through the app but I’m certain I learned more than he did. I thought I’d share some takeaways on Action Card in the field.
Action Card has some great features, almost all of which were given to us from our pre-development franchise market-fit group, beta-testers and active clients. However, realizing the efficacy of any software is dependent upon user-adoption. If clients aren’t using the app, it doesn’t matter what it does. To get clients actively interacting with Action Card and learning how to configure it for their businesses, we have been very hands on during and after client trial periods. Lots of phone calls, consultation and sharing best practices. However, it is much easier to do that with local clients. I realized that Action Card needs to be a thought leader on how to conduct good site reviews that drive positive change and that is a function of proactive communication and client engagement, something we will need to focus and improve on. Building a community around our clients is a goal.
Keep it Simple
Ryan is a sharp guy and good on the relationship side in his role with Flagship. But like many, he is not surrounded by technology every day. It was good for me to see how he used the app and where he wasn’t clear on things. I know that in order for us to engage clients and build that community, our app needs to be easy to use, contain helpful resources and tutorials and stay focused on the core mission of streamlining paper inspections and identifying easy to track action items. My big lesson is to think like a new user when looking at Action Card. We have a big development road map ahead of us and need to ensure that it does not become overly complex. We are also staffing up our support team so that our clients get quick responses to questions and issues.
Pushing it Down to the Location Level
A common challenge some of our clients have with Action Card is communicating to the locations and the location manager. We can help you do that. The concern some of our clients have is that there will be a negative perception from franchisees, store and restaurant managers regarding a tool that is essentially being used to ensure they are doing their job well. Action Card was created on day one to not be one-dimensional in that respect. It is a collaborative app that offers resources to the location being reviewed and will dramatically reduce uncomfortable e-mails, texts and phone calls from the main office that today feel like micromanaging check-ins. The way it is introduced to locations is important and the ones that do use it love it.
So my biggest takeaway was that in order for Action Card to continually grow and retain clients, we cannot lose sight of the big picture which is to always help our clients drive consistency in best practices at all of their locations and that every feature in the app should contribute to that big goal and be accessible to all clients at every phase in the relationship.