We write a lot here about the many ways restaurants employ on-site paging, tablet surveys and other tools to improve the guest experience.
But, modern technology is being used to increase efficiency and drive profits in hundreds of other industries that have nothing to do with restaurants. From the Bering Sea to a little Baptist church in Alabama, the technology is being put to use in every way imaginable – and even a few ways we never imagined.
Here are four examples where paging systems are promoting communication and efficiency — and boosting profitability — in non-hospitality settings.
David Wilson’s job setting is not unlike what you see on the reality TV show Deadliest Catch. He’s the operation manager aboard Iquique U.S., a 150-foot commercial fishing vessel that spends a lot of time in the harsh Bering Sea.
Out there, the only tie to civilization is an expensive satellite connection that’s too cost-prohibitive to engage on a regular basis. There are no cell phones and no Internet. But on the Iquique, communication is important because a federal fisheries observer must witness each catch as it is hauled aboard. Otherwise, the vessel can be heavily fined.
Whether it’s 2 p.m. or 2 a.m., the crew needs the ability to reach that observer at a moment’s notice, no matter where he is on the ship. Any delay keeps nets out of the water, which affects revenue
While thinking about his problem, Wilson remembered the cool restaurant pagers he always sees while ashore. He ended up purchasing a nearly indestructible, waterproof pager that observers usually carry in their high rubber boots.
Wilson said the innovation has transformed communication on his ship. The nets spend more time in the water, where they can make money, and the vessel has not been fined for failing to meet regulations.
In the Warehouse
Paging solutions have a number of uses around the warehouse. Two big ones are forklift paging and truck driver paging.
In the case of forklifts, alphanumeric devices can be hardwired via a 24-volt connection and mounted on the overhead guard post. It flashes when a message is received and displays a message instructing the driver to move something, go to a specific location or contact the front office. There are several benefits to this approach, including the ability to receive a message without taking your hands off the steering wheel. Drivers can be directed without wasting valuable time and without shouting to be heard in a loud environment.
At the warehouse receiving office, pagers can help smooth over the delivery process for truck drivers. As soon as a driver checks in, he is handed a pager and can wait in the truck. When the receiving staff is ready to take the cargo, they send an alphanumeric page telling the driver where to go.
This saves the office staff time in tracking down drivers and keeps the receiving dock running as efficiently as possible. It also helps prevent traffic jams and confusion on the loading dock.
In the Church Nursery
As any parent knows, there’s a certain amount of anxiety in leaving your toddler with someone — even trusted people, such as fellow church members.
You never know what’s going to happen, from a “potty accident” to a temper tantrum. Parents want to stay in touch, and caregivers need a simple way to reach parents in a pinch.
At Weatherly Heights Baptist Church in Huntsville, Ala., the solution for its childcare center was a nursery paging system. Now, instead of sending someone to disrupt Sunday services in the sanctuary, volunteers can easily page a child’s parents using an intuitive transmitter keypad. Parents, who are assigned a pager when checking in their child, can respond immediately.
“Both members and visitors love the new system,” said Jana Williams, the church’s Minister to Families with Children. The top priority, she said, is that parents now feel more comfortable leaving their children during services.
In an Eye Clinic
When the Blaine Eye Clinic in Minnesota moved into a new building, effective staff communications became a challenge. The previous method of yelling across the office, handing off Post-It notes and ringing a doorbell when patients were ready just didn’t work anymore.
So Blaine installed an on-site paging system that did a lot more than improve staff communications. It actually improved the patient experience and boosted revenue.
Now, staff members can be contacted instantly, no matter where they are on the premises. Doctors can send alphanumeric messages to technicians from any exam room, which saves time and improves patient care. There are fewer hang-ups by callers who get tired of being on hold, and patient flow in the office is more orderly.
“The new system has resulted in quicker staff response times, which has helped improve our patient flow, allowing doctors to see more patients, thus increasing revenue earned,” said office manager Nate Sulerud.
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Michelle Strong is chief marketing officer at LRS and an advocate for meaningful customer engagement.