Can you over-invest in customers?

We learned a lot at last week’s TechTable Summit where discussion topics ranged from mobile payments, reservations, and big data. Gary Vaynerchuk, co-founder of Resy, shared a story that resonated with the crowd and brought home the event’s tagline “hi-tech for hi-touch.”

Vaynerchuk recalled when he worked for Wine Library and wondered if he was overinvesting in his customers. As an experiment, he found a customer with an average wine order, and – through some light social media stalking – discovered he was a huge Jay Cutler fan. His team sent the customer a signed jersey that Jay had worn then sat back and waited to see what happened. After months of hearing nothing from the customer, Vaynerchuk suspected there may actually be a point when investing too much in customers was a poor business move. Not long after, a huge order came in with a note, “I heard about you through my friend that you sent a Jay Cutler jersey to. P.S. I’m a huge Bruce Springsteen fan.”

Even at a restaurant technology conference, the conclusion was that the guest is the most important factor in the restaurant experience. Pactric Yumul, president of Mina Group, described how they use technology to know more about their guests’ preferences – and at the end of the day give their guests a more personalized experience. Danny Meyer said it best when he stated, “the tech world has taught me that scale is not a dirty word.” Tech has enabled restaurants to grow while still being able to keep that “mom and pop” feel. Technology should enhance hospitality and not replace genuine human-to-human interactions.

Great conference Team TechTable! We can’t wait to see what’s in store for next year.