Three Questions with HT’s 2017 “Rising Star” Award Recipient
Today we have the honor of sharing an important award recognition bestowed upon one of our own employees. Hospitality Technology (HT) magazine has recognized Kristen House as a winner in the first annual Top Women in Foodservice Technology Awards. This program recognizes an inaugural class of women for making a significant impact in the food-service technology industry—re-imagining how things are done in restaurants while demonstrating excellence in leadership, inventiveness and skill.
As the head of messaging for Paytronix (and of mobile products before that), Kristen House has worked directly with many of our clients and partners who have experienced first-hand what impact she’s having upon their mobile strategy. Kristen has helped move multiple retailers and restaurant chains onto a multi-channel platform that has allowed them to embrace new technologies, such as geofencing and mobile messaging.
Within the company, Kristen’s recent efforts led to the development of the Paytronix Campaign Center’s survey capabilities, delivering an innovative messaging platform that enables retail and restaurant marketers to elicit feedback from their customers and quickly respond to customer sentiments and adjust their offerings accordingly.
“We were thrilled to be faced with the task of culling through so many deserving nominations of highly qualified women in the food-service technology industry,” said Dorothy Creamer, editor, HT magazine, in an article announcing the winners. “The achievements of all the nominees are truly outstanding and we will be paying attention to what the future holds for each of them.”
The HT awards were created to pay homage to women from up-and-coming innovators to high-achieving mentors who continue to inspire. Kristen has been recognized with a “Rising Star” award for demonstrating leadership and making a mark in food-service technology at an early stage in her career.
As a winner, Kristen House is profiled in this month’s March 2017 issue of Hospitality Technology. Read the feature here. She’ll also be recognized during a formal awards program at the 22nd annual Multi-Unit Restaurant Technology Conference (March 7-9, 2017 in Las Vegas).
We sat down today with Kristen for a short interview about the award. Read on for more on the mobile and technology innovations Kristen is spearheading, and for perspective on what it means to be honored with a Top Women in Foodservice Technology Award.
Until recently, you were the mobile product manager at Paytronix. In this capacity you shepherded the introduction of new capabilities, such as geofencing and refer-a-friend, into the mobile platform. In just four years at the company, you built innovative features into an app that more than 65 Paytronix customers launched. What were some of the most exciting technologies you worked with in that role?
We designed our mobile apps to help our clients bring a mobile experience to market efficiently, without the heavy price tag of custom applications. The apps include a larger number of features, are scalable across multiple merchants, and are updated often. I have very much enjoyed watching the apps evolve into a broader mobile platform, which includes a wide variety of mobile messaging options, hosted mobile-friendly websites, and payment capabilities.
In 2015, I helped introduce geofencing capabilities to the Paytronix app. Paytronix Geofencing enables restaurants to leverage geographic data on program members who are in the vicinity of a restaurant. As a member crosses the virtual “fence” around a specific store, the geofencing module surfaces a message to their smartphone that reminds them to use rewards they’ve earned or to come in to try their favorite drink. Because each message is integrated into the rewards platform, retailers and restaurants ensure that each offer is segmented appropriately. For example, a free coffee message will only be sent to members who have a free coffee on their account. Geofence messaging has enabled customers like the Elephant Bar restaurant chain to send messages to rewards members when they are nearby a location. In a review of three 2015 campaigns, Elephant Bar determined that approximately 30% of members visited a restaurant on the day that they received a geofencing message.
Also, in January 2016, I initiated collaboration with California Pizza Kitchen (CPK) CIO Andy Mai on the development of a next-generation CPK v2.0 mobile app. Like the previous version of the CPK app, it is integrated with the Paytronix Rewards Platform, a foundation which underlies the entire CPK Pizza Dough Rewards program. The app also integrates directly into CPK’s Aloha cloud-based POS platform.
In your new role as messaging products manager, what new messaging innovations are you driving, and how are your clients benefiting from these new tools and associated data?
In my new role I work closely with the Paytronix install base to help them become more powerful and relevant with their messaging strategy. Managing the Paytronix Campaign Center, we provide a centralized user interface that enables users to manage all campaigns in one place. I’ve been able to enhance the combination of campaign tools, data at the user’s fingertips, and messaging options that enable marketers to learn quickly and act instantly.
Additionally, it has been a pleasure to keep infusing new value into the Paytronix messaging platform. Our new one-to-one survey suite allows marketers to elicit guest feedback within a single platform. Marketers can avoid the complications and time consumption of creating, deploying, analyzing and rewarding behavior across multiple systems. Whether triggered upon close of a check or sent in a custom campaign, this new tool set brings the customer data to the marketer more quickly. As a result, marketers can gather preferences directly from customers, build rich customer profiles, quickly respond to customer sentiments and adjust their offerings accordingly. To date, users have seen a near tenfold increase in the percentage of guest responses when compared with traditional survey calls to action typically found at the bottom of the guest’s receipt.
The Campaign Center, survey tools, white-label mobile apps, and geofencing messaging enable brands to be agile marketers – which means, they learn fast, deploy smarter campaigns, and deliver exceptional positive financial results.
This is a new award program for Hospitality Technology that celebrates the accomplishments of women who are innovators in a historically male-driven space. What does this honor mean to you?
In reality, I share this honor with the terrific colleagues who work hard to deliver the best features each day. I hope this will inspire other women to be a formidable presence in the technology space, even early on in their careers. It’s a dream come true to be recognized alongside some of the inspiring women in the field, including Anita Klopfenstein of Panera Bread and Stephanie Nardini of Jersey Mike’s.