Whether or not to require members to present a physical member card for services is somewhat controversial. Issuing member cards has become a standard process at most, if not all, clubs. Yet clubs vary widely on how strictly they require physical member cards to be present.
Prior to the pandemic, many clubs preferred the physical card to be present to avoid mistakes inherent in verbally providing the number, such as the member mispronouncing the number, the employee mishearing it, or for security of other members overhearing the number.
COVID-19 has introduced a new issue: the need to increase physical distance and reduce physical contact between members and staff. This necessitates a new approach to reservation check-in and retail check-out that leverages technology to provide a high-touch member experience with less physical touch.
Digital Member Card
Some clubs have implemented a digital member card concept. This approach uses the club’s mobile app to scan a code from the member’s mobile device. This simplifies things somewhat for the member since most people keep their phones on them even when wallets are a moot point at most clubs. However, this still requires a physical interaction that can be difficult to socially distance and requires the member to fumble around the app looking for their digital card.
Virtual Authentication: No Card Required
A more sophisticated approach to digital member card utilizes location-enabled technology such as beacons to check in the member in a way that is automatic as well as authenticated, all without requiring the member card or number.
When the member enters a certain location, they will receive a push notification via the club’s mobile app to ask if they are ready to check in for their dining reservation. At the same time, the host is alerted that member has arrived via the host terminal or mobile device. As the member approaches the host stand, their picture and member number are shown on the screen based upon their proximity to the host stand. The host or hostess can then greet the member by name. This name recognition makes the member feel welcomed and appreciated and considering name recognition is one of the single most important aspects of any engagement and is vital to a club’s member experience.
In addition to seamless reservation check-ins, technology can also enable a streamlined mobile-enabled check-out process for member charge authentication without a member card or physical signatures on paper or electronic signature pad. Utilizing the same location-enabled technology described above, the POS user can select the member from her screen and choose to send the member a mobile app push notification or SMS message. When the member receives it, they can sign on their own smartphone screen. Nothing is exchanged between member and guest, keeping the interaction as safe as possible.
Rethinking “High-Touch” Service
Not only do clubs have to create inviting and warm member experiences, they also must ensure the safety of members and employees during this new world of COVID. The passing of physical member cards from a member to a host, and the close proximity of people puts both members and employees at risk. Having the ability to identify a member and check them in without standing directly at the host stand essentially allows for all operations to operate in a safe manner. Signage and technology allow members to know where to stand and wait, while beacon technology reduces the need to physically hand a member a pager or their member card after checking them in.
Whether your club is looking for a way to keep members and employees safe, or a way to create memorable and lasting experiences for your members, Cobalt is here to help you with your club endeavors. Click here and see how Cobalt can help your club navigate COVID safety measures, member recognition and streamline reservation check ins.