Qbot Markets At Colleges To Foster Growth

by Luke Jones  on Monday, Mar. 24, 2014 12:00 am  

Sodexo isn’t the company’s biggest revenue driver, Howell noted. Rather, the campuses serve as a marketing base.

The company depends on young, tech-savvy students to discover the app in college. They then spread the app’s use by word of mouth to local businesses. These businesses are the app’s backbone, Howell said.

“We find it very easy to get into a new market when we have the campus,” he said.

“Students are early adopters,” Lehman said. “So when you launch in a new city, once you have the campus on board, it’s like gaining a hub of users.”

Hurdles

With many of Qbot’s clients being chain or franchise stores, one problem comes with keeping clients’ employees abreast of the technology.

“We go in and personally train the cashiers, but there is a lot of turnover, especially in quick-service restaurants and casual dining,” said Howell. “So we create videos for management to use … that train what to say to customers. But a lot of times that doesn’t happen. Maybe they hire a new employee that doesn’t go through all the training.”

She said the company tries to contact its clients at three-month intervals to deal with this issue. “Our goal is to train everybody as often as possible,” she said.

Also, because Qbot contracts with individual chain or franchise members, some users complain that their rewards can’t be honored between different stores.

Lehman said he hopes this issue will be resolved as the app gains traction around the country.

“We think the more Qbot gains exposure, and the bigger we get, the less and less of that will take place,” he said.

There have been some software problems, too. On Google’s Play Store, of the app’s 236 ratings, 102 are five-star and 64 are one-star. Many of the one-star reviews complain of connection problems and of the app crashing.

Lehman said the latest version of the app is addressing some of those issues.

Connection problems, he said, tie into data service strength at the client’s location.

“So if there’s a poor data connection, the app functions poorly,” he said. “I think we’ll address that in the next version of the app. We’ll have a different strategy to determine location. That’s our super-secret sauce that we’re rolling out. And I hope that as time moves on, and data networks become more reliable, we’ll have a much better opportunity to serve our clients.”

 

 

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