Hai Di Lao’s (海底捞) Recipe for Success – Perfecting the Customer Experience

Posted in Small & Medium Businesses | by KC Kwa on 27 June 2016

Last updated on 26 December 2018

I have always been fascinated by the long queue at Hai Di Lao steamboat restaurants. After all, there are many other steamboat spots that also serve great food. So what’s all the fuss about?

 

Well, you’d be surprised to know that they are the only restaurant chain that provides free manicure service and playground for children while they are waiting. Others may think that this is a small factor, but it’s the small things that make a difference. The restaurant considers their customers’ overall experience, not just the food, in creating the best dining experience. This is what sets them apart, and why their patrons don’t mind waiting in line.

 

So when I heard that their co-founder, Mr Si Yong Hong, was going to hold a talk here in Singapore, I just had to attend.

 

The talk, “将心注入产品,最求客户体验。(roughly translated as “put your heart into the product and pursue customer experience”), was held at Bishan Community Centre. And similar to how their customers queued up in their restaurants, attendees were queueing up to enter this small space to hear from Mr Si. Some could not even get in due to the limited capacity. I had to stand at the back throughout the talk because it was so crowded. We were all eager to find out the ingredients to his success.

 

Mr Si narrated how Hai Di Lao started in a small 400 square-feet restaurant, funded by himself, his wife, as well as another couple in Sichuan 22 years ago. Fast forward to 2015, they managed to grow their humble shop, expanding to 300 restaurants worldwide and achieving a turnover of over 6 billion RMB.

 

 

It’s the Whole Experience

The secret to their success, Mr Si highlighted, is that they view their offering as not just the food they serve their patrons, but it includes the whole experience they have when they first enter the restaurant. It’s about the top-notch service, the right price point, and of course, the ambience that collectively sets Hai Di Lao apart from their competition.

 

Throughout his talk, what impressed me the most was their Human Resource (HR) practices.  To give an example, when they hire a general manager for their restaurant, the candidate has to pass all the theory and practical tests of all the 45 roles, from cleaners to chefs, in their restaurant. This stringent process of filtering candidates results in them acquiring only the most competent people who are truly passionate about their industry.

 

I can draw a parallel to Mr Si’s mentality to ours here at Justlogin. We believe that user experience (UX) is indeed a crucial ingredient to any business’ success. This is why we spent the last 16 years trying to create the best, and most user-friendly HR software solutions on the cloud, covering everything from payroll, leave to attendance. We want to simplify HR so that HR professionals don’t need to worry about tedious administrative tasks, and instead, focus on improving employees’ overall working experience.

 

We have rolled out a new easy-to-use interface for our payroll, leave, and attendance software earlier this year. We also have further plans to continually roll out UX improvements to other aspects of the software in the coming months.

 

Other than improving our user interface, efforts have also been continuing with regard to streamlining our training, support, and customer on-board processes. We believe that improving our customers’ experience with us is a very important and continuous process. This is why we moved our office to a bigger and better space to accommodate a more spacious training facility. This improves the experience of our customers, making the training and on-boarding experience more comfortable and convenient for everyone. Those visiting our office are also served freshly-brewed coffee, together with a range of small nibbles. When they leave, we will also offer them little door gifts, like our newly designed post-it pads. It may not seem like much, but we take these small details seriously. They all add up and make a difference to the overall experience of our customers.

 

Considering our shared passion in improving the overall experience of our customers, we are definitely proud to have Hai Di Lao as one of our own customers. They have been using Justlogin software since they started their first restaurant here in Singapore in 2012.

 

We have put our hearts into developing the best HR software in the market in the last 16 years. Listening to Mr Si’s talk has reinforced my belief that we here at Justlogin are headed in the right direction – pursuing the best possible HR experience for all our customers.

 

A good summary of Mr Si’s talk in Chinese can be found here

 

Interested in our software? You can sign up for a free trial here.

 

This story was originally published here on LinkedIn.

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