Pagers have been big in the hospitality industry for a while now. With wide-ranging and ever-evolving functions, choosing the right one for your business might seem like a daunting task. But the objective of investing in technology is always to take advantage of what is available, integrate it into your specific needs (and possibly some you didn’t previously know you had), and reap real-life benefits.
Hospitality is a field with a lot of challenges and margin for error, but there’s always ample room for improvement – especially thanks to the advent of modern technologies.
There are two main keys to choosing a paging service for you. First, you should be familiar with what is available, how it works, and what some potential applications may be. Second, and arguably most important, you should be mindful of what issues you are trying to resolve or what things you might want improving upon within the specific functionality and needs of your business. Think about all of the ways this could help you, and what the benefits could be.
Know what you’re looking for, and keep yourself open to the possibilities of use for the devices. For example, you might not have expected your paging system to help with data compilation for analytics, but you might be surprised. We will dive into all of this below.
What Paging Systems Are Available
These are arguably among the better known of the paging system families. They can also be referred to as signal pagers, and issue a buzz, beep, or flashing light. A hard, portable block of plastic that let you know when your food or table is ready. You should pay attention to the range of service each device has to offer, and take note of what you will need for your establishment.
Consider whether they provide optional signal range extenders or not. Also take into account how the actual device communicates, which is typically through radio frequency telecommunication.
2. Simple Two-Way, Alphanumeric, & Numeric
Some other, slightly more sophisticated options are two-way, alphanumeric, and numeric paging systems. These are essentially the same as the previously mentioned devices, except they might have call buttons for staff, little screens that can convey messages, and potentially a sort of keyboard.
If you prefer to opt for one of these messaging systems, you should consider the sophistication of the actual codesets and keyboards available. You might want just some numbers, or just some numbers and letters/symbols, and more or less screen space. Think about how long or decoded you need a message to be, and if these paging systems will be enough to meet those needs. Pay attention as well to storage capacity and battery capabilities.
3. Modern “Smart” Pagers
It seems obvious that someone would have evolved pagers into something more recognizable by our 21st century standards. You will be able to find more than justt a few options for smarter pagers, so brace yourself.
These products have a lot to offer. Aside from the functions already mentioned, some may come with full-on software integration into your tablets, smartphones, and smartwatches. This, of course, could offer you a modern screen with full typing and/or text and image capabilities.
Here are some of the other features highlighted on modern pagers:
- Reservation widgets
- Visual table and order management
- Back-end, back-to-front, and front-end communication
- Support bots
- Data-collection and analytics
- Payment for guests
- Customer-to-staff communication
- App compatibility
- Wi-Fi and/or RF based system
- Tech support
- Cloud technology
- Back-end configuration
These are just some of the more common features available. Luckily, there are plenty of options to choose from, and brand representatives from each company are typically available to discuss your needs and expectations as well.
Assessing Your Needs
Not every business has the same needs. For example, places of worship generally opt for simpler, quieter options. You should assess what aspects of your workflow already seem to be covered, or if they could be improved upon.
Think about what the paging system will bring to your establishment, and you could even get creative with it. How has your business adapted to the pandemic? Could this possibly be an aid in your transition toward better, more mindful service? Where would you like to focus your energy? Are you open to other possibilities for improvement? These are just a few introductory questions you can ask in order to determine what option will be the best fit.