Ponti’s Asks Their Guests: How are we doing today?

Italian restaurant chain, Ponti’s Group that operates Ponti’s Italian Kitchen and Caffè Italia, has implemented a customer experience programme provided by Empathica, the UK’s leading Customer Experience Management (CEM) company. The programme was put in place to ensure that Ponti’s delivers consistently excellent Italian hospitality, makes improvements based on real customer feedback, and to drive brand advocacy via social media. Ponti’s joins leading brands in the UK including Mitchells & Butlers, Zizzi, and Caffè Nero by implementing a CEM programme from Empathica.

This concept has been several years in the making, as Stefano Ispani, CEO of Ponti’s, points out: “When I took over the running of the business in September 2007, it was clear that the business model was outdated and we needed to catch up with modern catering. While we’ve gained some insights into our customers and operations since then, we felt we needed to take the objective of getting closer to our customers to the next level and start talking to our actual customers on an ongoing basis to understand what makes a great dining experience for them and drives their loyalty as Ponti’s customers.”

In order to achieve this, the company selected Empathica’s Customer Experience Management (CEM) programme. Printed invites are being actively handed out by Ponti’s staff and till receipts issued to customers at random intervals to invite them to complete an online survey, with incentives – including an instant win of an iPod and ten chances to win £1,000 in a daily prize draw – designed to tempt high levels of customer feedback and thank customers for their time. Ponti’s customers are surveyed about a range of factors that contribute to the enjoyment of their visit. For instance, patrons can rate their levels of satisfaction about the food and drink they consumed, the service provided, the cleanliness and ambience of the restaurant, a specific team member’s performance, and also provide demographic details that further assist with Ponti’s research and communications. The company’s marketing team is already reaping benefits from the programme, with Ispani noting, “We’re getting a real understanding of what our customers want and more importantly, what makes them happy.”

Ponti’s has  employed Empathica’s GoRecommend application, which allows companies to leverage the power of social media  and encourages consumers to recommend the restaurant chain to their networks via Twitter, Facebook and email.

“Twenty years ago”, Ispani continues, “a dissatisfied customer would have written a letter to your restaurant, and it would take around three weeks for a resolution to be achieved. However, with the emergence of smartphone technology, customers can share information immediately. People now want to share their feedback with their friends in real time and we need to be a part of this experience. Empathica’s GoRecommend tool has an important role to play in spreading positive word of mouth about Ponti’s by our patrons.”

Ponti’s Twitter and Facebook pages have already proved a tremendous success, with users able to share their experiences and feedback with both the company and their friends and followers straight away, whilst also being able to stay up-to-date with news and promotions from the restaurant chain.

 

Steve Raher, Business Development Director at Empathica, notes, “Ponti’s is a family business with  nearly half a century’s heritage of providing true, Italian style hospitality. Traditional in that sense, they are also very keen to continually learn and improve, focusing on who’s at the centre of their business – the customer. Our programme will enable them to get a true understanding of the desires of their consumers, drive improvements across all of their restaurants and spread positive word of mouth in social media”.

 

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