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Issue Date: Vol. 53, No. 3, March 2013, Posted On: 3/5/2013

Smartphone App Connects Customers With Vending Operators

Emily Jed
TAGS: VendCentral, Neil Swindale, vending app MR1, Mobile Request 1, vending machine app, smartphone, vending refunds, vending machine service, QR code sticker

PLEASANTON, CA -- VendCentral, a marketing services provider devoted to vending and office coffee service, has launched a Web-based mobile app intended to help companies elevate their customer service levels by connecting directly with their customers.

The app -- called MR1 (or Mobile Request 1) -- allows vending patrons to have a direct link to the vending company from any smartphone to request refunds, report machine malfunctions, suggest new products and provide feedback.

Vending companies that subscribe to MR1 have a QR code sticker on their vending machines alongside the standard support phone number. Patrons can scan the QR code with a smart phone and immediately access a mobile-optimized website featuring simple action buttons, such as "request a refund," "report a machine issue" and "request your favorite item."

Beyond the standard service requests, vending companies can also use the app to promote social networking sites and link to their websites.

"Every vending company claims to offer the best service," said Neil Swindale, president of VendCentral. "But our new service app can take a company to a new level of service beyond what its competitors can currently achieve. With so many vending companies battling for the same potential customers with many of the same offerings, differentiation is key. And our new app is something truly different in the industry."

He emphasized that the majority of vending companies rely on their route drivers for face-to-face customer service and to report or resolve any service problems. MR1 establishes a direct link between the customer and vending company management, which Swindale said helps optimize the service experience.

"In some cases, management doesn't find out there's a problem until a customer cancels his or her service, and by then it's too late to do anything about it," said Swindale. "Furthermore, though route drivers are responsible for reporting issues, many times they are reluctant because it could reflect poorly on their own performance. With MR1, management is better connected to each customer -- and able to make sure customers are happy -- by being able to see what kind of connections the customer has been making and that the company is reacting to them accordingly."

MR1 is available to vending companies for a startup fee and monthly subscription cost. VendCentral handles all setup and design that is needed to establish the dedicated mobile website for each company.

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