Businesses have been hurting over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic. First off, many, if not most, businesses had to completely shut down for several months at the outset of the virus, losing a huge amount of revenue and then, once they were finally permitted to re-open, there were capacity restrictions in place limiting the amount of business they were able to do.
What’s more, with case levels expected to continue to rise again in the coming months, these businesses must find a way that they can remain open – which includes implementing strategies in order to collect the contact information of all their customers to be used in the event contact tracing needs to occur. Many industries, including restaurants, bars, and those in the beauty industry have been collecting contact information from patrons manually during their visits. As one could imagine, there are a number of downsides to manual information gathering, among them longer wait times, input errors, and people purposefully falsifying their information.
To this end, what if these businesses could implement a completely digital check-in system for customers to use to self-register upon frequenting the establishment?
This check-in system could provide multiple ways for customers to register in order to make the process as quick and as painless as possible. This way, the business would be able to collect the contact tracing information they need, and customers would be happy with the simplicity of the registration process.
How would a digital check-in system work?
There are two simple ways businesses can implement their patron check-in system: by using shortcode keywords or through QR codes.
If a business has access to a shortcode number (a five or six-digit phone number that is easy to remember) it is able to register a keyword such as GUEST and customers would be asked to use their smartphones to text that designated word to the associated shortcode to register their visit.
For example, let’s say Charlotte and her family decide to go to a restaurant that has this digital check-in system implemented. When they arrive at the restaurant signage posted at the front door asks someone from the family to register their information for contact tracing purposes by texting “GUEST” to 11111. All Charlotte has to do is send a text message containing the word “GUEST” to the 11111 phone number and show the host the confirmation reply before they would be seated and served.
Two weeks later, it turns out that someone who had been to the restaurant around the same time as Charlotte and her family tested positive for COVID-19. The restaurant is then able to pull the contact information from all the restaurant patrons who checked in with the shortcode keyword within a specified time frame and a notification could be sent out to Charlotte and the rest asking them to self-monitor for symptoms.
The second option for businesses to use for registering customers is through the use of QR codes (quick response codes). Customers would be presented with a QR code before entering a business and they would use their mobile device to scan it to receive a short registration form asking them to provide their contact information. This option is ideal for those businesses that need to collect more information than simply a phone number.
For example, let’s say Charlotte has a scheduled hair appointment and she arrives at the salon a few minutes before her scheduled appointment time. An employee asks her to scan the QR code located at the entrance to the salon and fill out the form with the necessary contact tracing information, such as her name, email address, phone number, and a declaration that she has not traveled internationally within the last 14 days.
A week after her appointment, a hairdresser at the salon tests positive for COVID-19. The salon then pulls a record of all the hairdresser’s customers within the last while and sends them an email and a phone call alert notification advising them to self-monitor for symptoms.
This option relies on customers providing their correct information when filling out the form, however, the send reports for the messages should indicate whether or not a message has been sent successfully – hence why it could be important to collect those additional pieces of information such as the customer name and multiple contact methods.
Benefits of a check-in system
There are numerous benefits for businesses to implement a check-in system that is easily accessible to customers. Here is a brief list of just some of those benefits:
- Customer self-registration reduces wait times at entrances (thereby improving customer satisfaction).
- There is a greater chance of accuracy when collecting contact tracing information digitally (and no need to decipher messy handwriting).
- Digital information storage makes it easier to send mass notifications in the event of exposure (instead of manually reaching out to affected customers one at a time).
- Contact information is easily disposable once it is no longer required (ensuring greater information security).
- Reports of alert notifications sent to contacts are easily stored and downloaded from the digital check-in system (as opposed to scattered written records that may or may not exist).
Where to find a customer check-in system
Whether a business chooses to implement a digital check-in system using shortcode keywords or QR codes, SimplyCast has the right tools to set up the system quickly and efficiently without any additional development or configuration.
Through the combination of its SMS channel, Alerts channel, Form Builder, built-in CRM, and its SimplyCast 360 automation solution, businesses can easily collect the necessary contact tracing information from its customers and store it effectively and securely so that it is at their fingertips the moment it is needed.
Be sure to click on the button below to sign up for a demo of the entire SimplyCast solution to see how your business can implement an easy-to-use check-in system today!