If you haven’t heard of TRAY, you’re in for a treat. TRAY is an amazing company that does engaging point-of-sale type technology that is designed with the customer in mind, creating solutions to real pain points. Logan Korn, the Manager of Client Relations for TRAY, joins us today to discuss what the company is all about including the specific problems it solves. Customer experience is king in business. By focusing on how clients feel at the beginning and end of interactions, TRAY is engaging their customers and making them feel like they are integral to the buying experience. Discover more about this powerful software as Logan talks about how they’re fulfilling customer’s needs and many other key benefits of their powerful tool.
We have Logan coming to us from TRAY. It is an amazing company. I was introduced to them. I had to bring them on board. What they do is they do point-of-sale type technology that is engaging. It is designed with the customer in mind and it's creating solutions to real pain points. I wanted to bring Logan on. Logan, welcome to the show.
Thanks, Ben. Thanks for having me. I’m a long-time follower. It's great to be on the other side and be in the conversation.
I'm honored to have somebody who's been a follower for that long. The show has been around for a few years now. We're coming close to 140 to 150 episodes. I'm excited to have somebody who's been sitting and dedicated week after week. I thank you very much for being part of that loyal audience. Let's talk about TRAY. Who are you? What do you do? Why do you do it? Who do you do it for and why do they care? What's the problem you solve and what's the story of TRAY?
Let's start with how TRAY started because that illustrates the problem that our founder, Peter, noticed in the beginning and what we're striving to help accomplish nowadays. It started when Peter was doing a lot of traveling and something that he noticed no matter what country he went to, there are lots of issues in bars and getting drinks to the males. That's how it worked. As a male, it's a little difficult getting the attention of a bartender. He saw it as an issue and jumped right on it. What he created was something called Barseat.
It’s like bar seats. What you would be able to do is order your drink through your phone and it would go directly to the bartender. You don’t have to wave them down or yell at them or squeeze in front of a whole group of people and make a fool of yourself. You could order your drink and get a text when it's ready. Filling that gap between the customer's needs constantly increasing, to be honest, customers are getting more and more needy because we're enabling that generally speaking. That's where it stemmed from is the need to satisfy the customer as soon as possible.Customers are getting more and more needy because we're enabling that. Click To Tweet
That's an interesting thing because that's where a lot of invention comes from. You're in a situation. You personally feel you're not being taken care of. You’re looking at it and said, “There's got to be a better way.” Most people put up their hands and get frustrated and go, “Yeah, whatever, it is what it is.” There are that select few people that go, “There's a business out of this.” Those are the entrepreneurs that I applaud because there's a group of entrepreneurs that have this wild idea that comes to them in the middle of the night. They say, “Because I love it. Everybody's going to love it. It's got to be right because I think it's great.” They do absolutely no research. They do no focus studies. They don't test the market. They don't do anything. All of a sudden, six months and two years down the road, they're out of money and they're out of business.
It's like 65% or 75% of entrepreneurs are out of business in the first five years. It's an incredible, huge number. There's that group that sits there and goes, “What's the need in the market? What's the pain point?” You said there with the bar. I love that. The pain point with the bar is, “I can't get a drink.” The girls are getting drinks, the guys aren't for whatever reasons. It is what it is in a bar and I'm not going to sit here and debate about it. It's interesting that they said, “There's got to be a better way.” He invented it. Where do we go from there? How do we go from a point-of-sales system specifically designed for the bar system to where you are? First of all, tell us what TRAY means and where the direction of the company has gone from those days to where you are now.
It's totally evolved from the beginning story that I went over and where it is now because there is a bigger need that was noticed that need had to be filled. Something that I like about TRAY is that the technology revolves around the customer. That's what TRAY stands for: Technology that Revolves Around You. This is extremely important when we are talking to customers about our product.
It's interesting that you say Technology Revolves Around You because that's not just the name of a company, it's a brand. It's a philosophy. The reason for being of your company is you sit there and say, “This is what we do. We build Technology that Revolves Around You. Where Apple is no longer just a technology company, they're no longer just about creating computers. They are now about a lifestyle. TRAY is about creating Technology that Revolves Around You. As you morph, as technology changes, as the needs change, it doesn't make the name of your company irrelevant. It doesn't make your brand irrelevant. It allows you to morph and shift and evolve with the market as you move forward. First of all, I love the name.
It does nail the points that we want to get across. Are you familiar with the book by chance, If You Give a Mouse a Cookie? I'm not too sure if that's a common book. The premise here is when you give a mouse a cookie, it's going to want more. It's going to want the milk to wash that down. After that, it's going to have other needs. It's a silly book. It is a child's book. It's great because it shows that when you help a customer out, when you show them this can be easier. They're going to take that and run. One example that everybody always goes back to for obvious reasons is Amazon. You can order something and get it same day now. That illustrates the constantly growing needs of our customers.
You're totally right, TRAY being modular. We can mold it to the customer's needs is insanely important. There are lots of businesses that have this cookie-cutter point-of-sale software that they are like, "Here, adapt your business to this.” That's not the right way to do it. You want to build loyal customers by meeting their needs, not making them meet your needs to better use your product. You need to give them the tools to get to their goals. TRAY does an excellent job of that, constantly moving and constantly changing.
You'll look at Amazon, what Amazon was many years ago was a book company. When Amazon started off, it was a place that you bought your books online. I'd be curious to see what percentage of their overall business their book business is now. My book, Powerful Personal Brands, it's sold on Amazon. I don't produce the book. Amazon produces it for me. You order one, they produce one, they ship it out to you. It's amazing technology. It has to do with the fact that they've created a flexible model where one out of two online purchases. I don't know if it's North America wide or if it's worldwide is done through Amazon.
Let's talk about flexibility with customers' needs and where you are now. Let's talk about the point-of-sale. People think of the point-of-sale as the cash register. When I was in retail many years ago, you learn how to use a cash register, that was the point-of-sale. You had a few grabs and grow things right by the tail. There were shelf talkers. They go, "Buy me,” because it's quick and it's easy. Those were add-on sales that you ran through the tail to keep the kids happy while you went grocery shopping. That was your point-of-sale experience. Many years later, it's completely different. There still are cash registers, but we put the flexibility and ownership into the customer's hands. How do you do that in a retail environment? How do you engage the customer and make the customer feel that they're part of the buying experience?
Things have definitely changed from that handful of years ago. It’s moved past that idea of the cash register because every customer is different and you need to be able to cater to their needs. Not all customers want to have that human interaction when they go eat or when they go to a family fun center, for example, like an indoor trampoline park. They want to get their kids jumping on that trampoline and worn out or they want to get their food as soon as possible. I don't know about you, but I get a little hangry when I don't get my food on time. Enabling the customer to do things themselves is what we're focusing on. We do have self-service kiosks, so it's evolved past that cash register. Essentially, there are these big tablets that are going to greet you right when you walk in the door. You're going to see maybe different menu items. If it's a burger joint, a big burger on the screen and you're going to know what you want right away.
Is this like the McDonald's ones that you're seeing that are six feet tall? You come up and you put your finger on the screen and you can order with pickles, without pickles, with mustard, without mustard and all that type of situation.Enabling the customer is gold nowadays. Click To Tweet
I love it. It's something that got me energized because I'm vegan. When I eat, I have a whole list of different things that I want the waiter to go through, “I don't want this or this on it.” This enables me as a customer to sit there and look at what I want to eat and take my time if I want to. If I want to skip the line, I can do that and I can be even faster than the person at the register, give or take. You're totally right. Enabling the customer is gold nowadays. The bread and butter of TRAY and why we're finding success so early is it's almost like the customers have their own software as opposed to they have TRAY software. It is very personalized and perfect for any business needs, which is what I love.
I have no idea if this is your customer or not, but I was in Costco. When you're doing your shopping and you're doing it at Costco, I would say, “I want an ice cream cone.” As I'm walking out the door, I figured, “I get an ice cream cone.” I noticed myself and I did too. I'm of that generation. I stood in line waiting for the cashier to take my order for the ice cream because I knew as soon as she did that, she was going to make the ice cream and she was going to give it to me. I looked to my right, even Costco has put point-of-sale touchscreen things where you can sit there and enter your own order in. Nobody is using them. It's like the self-serve cashiers in the grocery stores. If you've got one, two, three or four things, it's so much easier to go through the self-serve cashier, but a lot of people aren't using them. You find that you could step up to those things. Why do you think so? Is it acclimatization? Is it culture? Is it habit? What is it going to take to move people to accept that that is another viable option for them?
You did hit the nail on the head there. People are creatures of habit, myself included. It takes a lot of time to change the behaviors of customers. There are some that have caught on and they’re like, "There are ways I can get things easier.” I can get my groceries delivered nowadays, for example. That's slowly increasing in popularity because people go to the grocery store and do things traditionally. The same goes for food. A lot of people do that personal interaction when they're getting their food. Maybe personally, if I'm in a place that I've never been in before, I do like asking the cashier, “What do you recommend?” Having that human interaction and taking that out of the equation is the big step. The point-of-sale service kiosks and the self-service kiosk should be used more as a tool. When there's overflow, maybe an increasingly busy day, you don't have customers that are walking out. Customer retention is incredibly important and meeting their needs is going to build loyalty as a result. It's a matter of time. People need time to adjust. Change is scary for a lot of people. Easing people into it seems like we don't have a choice but to do that. We're more than ready for that.
When you talk about easing people into it or the fact that the change is scary and all that because change is a terrifying thing. People are creatures of habit. People are going, “I've always bought my jeans from Levi's store. I always buy 501 Button Flys. There could be 100 different pairs of jeans, but I'm going to buy these ones because I've always bought these jeans. I've always bought a Big Mac with extra cheese or whatever when I go to McDonald's.” We are creatures of habit. There are restaurants I go to. I know I'm going to have a number three on the list.
I could probably hit a button and sit there and say, “I want a number three.” I like the interaction. I like the engagement. I've found it interesting. I was in Dallas. I was coming back from Houston from seeing some clients. I stopped at Houston. I had time for dinner. I went to one of the restaurants at the airport and they had these kiosks at every station. I looked at them and thought, “It's the menu, whatever.” I waited and waited. Finally, I called the waiter up and I said, “Is somebody going to take my order?” He says, “No, you order online.” Nobody told us that we ordered online.
I said, “Fine, okay,” and I ordered online. I didn't quite like it. I like the engagement and I like dealing with the waitress. Why would I give you a tip if I don't have any engagement with you? The tip is to ensure promptness. It’s to ensure personalization. That's where the tip is for. On the other hand, at the end of the meal, it was nice to be able to hit invoice and my bill came up. I can tap my credit card there and I didn't have to wait if the waitress or waiter was busy to be able to pay and go. I like that process of it. It's a matter of how do you build software. When you're building software for customers, how do you sit there and say, “Let's understand your customer’s needs first before we go ahead?” Walk me through the process of how that happens.
What we like to do is understand the usual day for that business. Usually visiting that business, it gives us a good reason to eat some good food, but visiting that business and seeing how they operate in a raw way is the first very important step. Being a customer, you do notice the weaknesses of the business. If you go in and it's preplanned, the employees might not understand all of the weak points. Maybe there are long lines or maybe the self-service kiosks are not being used. As a result, we need to adapt and maybe get some handhelds or some tablets. That way the employees have the tools on hand, but you also get that interaction, that interpersonal communication, which is incredibly important.
Understanding that every business is different and sitting down with them after this initial visit and saying, "This is what we saw as your weaknesses. How do you think we can help you improve?” Understanding their needs is all it comes down to because we're very mobile and malleable. Knowing the customer's needs, we can bend and support their needs as a result. That's general. It is a case by case basis. That is what makes us unique is the fact that we're not going in and asking the list of questions and getting your templates sent over. We're understanding the brand story and their pain points and filling those gaps with technology. That's incredibly important. Not only do our devices allow good customer experience, but you can understand your data better. We have different reporting.
You mentioned that invoice on your phone and how you like that. There are different options like that where we can support the customer and the business in different ways. It all comes down to understanding the business' story. It’s pretty much what you do on this show, understanding the story of the business and the brand. It's incredibly important. Sometimes businesses don't know what their story is and that's when you make them think. They're like, “I don't know what my customers want.” As a result, you might have something that's incredibly productive beyond what we could have predicted. Having an open forum is very important.
Will you go and mystery shop? If you're dealing with a large retailer, they not only do have offices or locations across the city or state, but it could be nationwide. Different people are going to react differently in Georgia, Arizona, New York City and LA. If you're dealing with a national customer, will you send people out to the different locations and mystery shop to be able to sit there and say, “Look in your different locations, this is how people are engaging with you as a company.”People are creatures of habit which is why it takes a lot of time to change the behaviors of customers. Click To Tweet
We found the most success in doing that because you don't want that business to prepare for you to come. That way you don't get an organic experience in that way. Absolutely we will go feel out those locations and mystery shop when we can. I always like a good excuse to try out some new food and travel a little bit. In all reality, it helps us grow as a business as well because we learn more about our customers in many different ways. We learn about them without them even knowing sometimes as that mystery shopping. That can be the most beneficial. We try to maximize that. As a result, we've seen amazing feedback and good customer stories as a result. It's a trend that we're going to keep up.
Here's a double-pronged question. How would you define superior customer experience and how do you enable your customers through technology to deliver that superior customer experience?
We're not only providing a tool. We're providing an experience. That's important to note. We're enabling our customers to understand their clientele better. We enable this through reporting as I mentioned. You can look at that raw data if that's what you're looking for or you can see the different demographics that are buying at different times. This allows you to change as a company, to adapt to your client's needs or your customer's needs. TRAY as a company, not only do we say, “Here are your tools, good luck using them.” We hold their hand throughout the whole process if needed. We have that constant support. That's incredibly important in this day and age.
There are lots of business owners that aren't very technologically adept. They need a lot of help with going from a business that has straightforward cash registers to having everything via touchscreen. We even have smart printers so down to the tee, everything has gone smart. Helping the customer to understand what we've given them and not feel overwhelmed is important. I've seen a lot of success. That's something I like to focus on is communicating with our current clients and ensuring that they are properly using the tools that we provide them, to understand their clientele and get the most out of their business. That touched on both prongs of the question. Let me know if there's more you want to go into, but that's what we focus on definitely.
How do we define customer experience because there's customer service and there's customer experience? I can talk for an hour about the difference between customer service and customer experience, but I want to hear it from you about how do you help your customers and train their employees to utilize your software and your hardware to make the customer experience better? How do you know that customer experience is better in three months, six months and a year? How do we know that you have succeeded and the money that people have spent and invested in you is paying dividends? We've built a customer experience that people want to come back to time and time again.
What I think is important with customer experience is not just the working hours and traditional meetings. It comes to supporting the customer outside of the norms. Untraditional meetings, maybe impromptu meetings if they need the support. I like focusing on individuality. Focusing on the customers individually or our clients. There are different pain points that our clients have. I need to understand those before they train their employees. Sitting down providing everything that I need to them, whether that's guides, whether that is 24/7 support, I'm going to provide it all because I want them to be successful for their business to be successful. Customer experience focuses on how the customer feels in the beginning and at the end of the interaction. You want them to leave with a good taste in their mouth. That's important with customer experience.
It's important to realize that your customers or the people who are paying the bills have two customers. They have their employees and if they don’t make this technology easy to use, reliable and beneficial to them, if the employees think that this software is replacing them, they've got serious trouble. You have the end-user who is your customers’ customers and how they engage with the software and the hardware itself. It’s a matter of looking at there are two horses that you need to feed at the same time. It's being able to realize that both have different needs, both have different wants, both have different expectations.
It's being able to dance that dance to make sure that not only are the employees of the company that you are being paid for are happy and that they think that this is a good thing. They are willing to promote it and they think that there's going to be something that's going to enhance their lives instead of replacing it. It's got to be something that the end-user believes is going to make their life better. That's a tricky dance. Let's get into the apprehension factor. We talked about how change is hard. What are the big factors that you see within companies for employees where they feel threatened by the technology that you bring forward and how do you help alleviate that sense of feeling threatened?
That's a very valid thought. There's a lot of scary technology doing things that people should be doing. You and I have touched base in the past about different automated chat services that different companies may utilize. This can be a double-edged sword in the sense that if a company uses it as a crutch, your customers are talking to a robot and you've been replaced a full job. It's important to provide tools to help the businesses find a solution as opposed to providing a solution. What we're focusing on is adding a tool to their tool belt as opposed to taking care of their tasks for them. TRAY increases efficiency. You're totally right, you have to have happy employees to have a good customer experience. That's the bottom line.
If the employees think they're being replaced, they're not going to be happy with their job. If you do enable them to do a way better job to be way more efficient, they're not only going to grow. As a result, the company is going to grow, but they're going to be happy and they're going to be confident. A customer experience, the whole feel and environment change when that representative is confident. They are happy with their job and they're happy with the product. That's a big weight that's put on TRAY’s shoulders. It's something we are very prepared for. Giving them that tool to provide the best experience is very important.Understanding is the basis of change. Click To Tweet
The keyword you used is tool. It's a tool that takes the roads in the monotony out of technology. What it does is it allows you as an employee to focus on the human being, the customer and make that experience more satisfactory and make it better. If we all realize that in the end, humans buy from humans, humans want to be around humans, humans want to engage with humans and trust humans. If we could look at business that way and say, “The tools that we're going to put in place, how does it allow our people to be more human and take care of our customers better and create a better customer experience?” Those are good tools and technology. Let's quickly talk about technology. It's not just this large point-of-sale technology. Your being is in the software and the hardware can scale from six-foot terminals probably right down to the phone itself. How do you go about determining what is the best medium to use? Which is the best piece of hardware to use to be able to deliver your technology within a particular environment?
I'm going to go back to the customer's needs because it depends on what voids we're trying to fill. Family entertainment parks, for example, the families want to feel welcome. They don't want to be in this big warehouse with trampolines, playgrounds and be off on their own. Some definitely do but giving the employees, for example, tablets, something mobile enables them to have the tools at their fingertips. That's something that everybody is used to, having all the information at your fingertips right in front of you. That's a constant demand that customers have nowadays. Being a software-focused company as opposed to focusing on the hardware enables us to fit into their needs better.
We also offer the ability to have our software overlap their hardware. They don't even need to change some of the hardware if they don't want to. We go back to that change being scary. This is a good way to ease into it. You still have the employees using the same hardware but their software got a huge upgrade and now they have all these tools to better understand their customers. Once again you hit the nail the head with that one because that is what makes TRAY such a powerful company is our focus on software over hardware. Our hardware is great, but that can constantly change. That's what we want to happen because technology is never going to stay stagnant.
That's important to realize when you're dealing with companies like yours is that it's all the way from ideation to implementation. You're with them from the strategy to development, to training to customer experience and handholding through the entire process. You're not sitting there going, “You've got a problem, here's a 30-page report. Go find a vendor who can fix it.” You're sitting there going, “Here's what we see the problem is. Here's where the challenge is. Let's create a customized solution that's going to meet your particular needs.” I've got two questions for you. The first and the most important thing is how do people get in touch with you?
They can head over to TRAY's website. That's the best way to get ahold of us. That's going to be TRAY.com. You can call us. We're always available. I love and focus on that constant support and always being available. That's something that TRAY has taken to heart as well. You can find our phone number on our website. That's going to be 844-USETRAY. We love the idea that we can help out any businesses. We are there for the businesses and there for their success. It energizes me and gets me excited when I see a business come to us saying, “We have this issue. Can you help us with this?” They think we're going to give them a piece of software when in all reality we are helping them do their job better and their business is going to succeed as a result. We're always open for new connections.
Here's the last question and you've answered it, but I'm going to let you go through this again. When you walk out the door of a meeting, when you get in your car and you drive away, what's the one thing you want people to think about TRAY when you are not in the room?
It's important for customers to know that we understand them and level with the issues that they have. Understanding is the basis of change. You have to understand what they need so that you can help them meet those needs. A customer walking out or a client walking out of a meeting going, “They get me,” is something that I strive for every day. It’s understanding the customer on an individual basis.
Logan, that is absolutely awesome. Thank you very much for being a phenomenal guest. Thanks for adding value to my audience.
Thanks, Ben. It's been fantastic. Thanks for having me. I will be tuning into your next show.
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