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Lets talk about pubs and customer effort. 2 of my favourite subjects, although not topics that are often talked about in the same sentence, but hear me out

Went out last Friday, and the difference between user experiences owned by 3 major breweries could not be more stark, leaving us never going back to one, despite it being a regular before, and one of the nicer ones in town

1st pub, a Fullers pub, order on the App. Ok, I’m not the world’s greatest techy, but this is 2021 right, so on we go. Really easy to download, doesn’t ask me to register, easy to navigate, simple to order, put in the basket, took my payment. Easy. To make it even better, next time I ordered, it remembered what I’d ordered before, and most of my payment details, even though id didn’t have to set up an account to use it. Brilliant, happy Keefy

Next Pub, a Whelans pub, even better, order on the app if you want to, but plenty of table service, can actually talk to a person, you know the old fashioned way like we always used to, pay into a card machine, so happiness is.

And finally to the Greene King pub, where things go majorly wrong. If you’re inside, its table service, if your outside, its app only. Well firstly, who decided to come up with that silly rule? It makes no difference to your operating model so maybe its just making someone feel important

Anyway, it’s the 1st weekend of June so we want to be outside, after so long being cooped up. Here’s where the issues start. QR code on the table to access the App. After 7 attempts finally loads. Really clunky menu, poorly curated, but eventually I manage to get a couple of drinks into the basket.

Go to pay. Oh no, you have to create an account first. Click the button, and go to create account, give all my details, inside leg, daughters middle name etc, then it wants to send me an authorisation code. I have to come out of the app, go to my email or text, get the auth code. I’ve now been kicked out of the app, and it wants/expects me to start the whole process all over again. AAGGH!

Its been 15 minutes by this point. So we give up, and guess what, walk back the 150 yards to the Whelans pub, sat down and got served.

It was a 9 o’clock on a Friday night, in the middle of town, and was only half full. They really couldn’t afford to be losing any more customers.

It left me thinking and reflecting the following morning about the whole experience, and how the biggest company of the 3 had got it so badly wrong. Is this yet another example of the biggest companies trying to use tech to solve human interactions and completely fail to grasp basic user needs, wants and emotions?

It’s a massive CX design fail, dreadful user experience, poor customer journey, call it what you will. Or more fundamentally, just really poor business.

There is always plenty of talk about needing to help out the pub industry. How about the pub industry starts helping itself, and helping its customers?

Onwards

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