Data driven: eSaraha uses cloud to deliver analytics

Dubai-based start-up eSaraha looks to the cloud to provide its customers with real-time data mining and analytics

Tags: Amazon Web Services (aws.amazon.com/)eSaraha (www.esaraha.com)
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Data driven: eSaraha uses cloud to deliver analytics Nadien Yaghi, director of sales and business development at eSaraha (ITP Images)
By  Tom Paye Published  September 20, 2015

eSaraha is a Dubai-based technology start-up specialising in customer loyalty and feedback solutions. It began as an idea in 2012, and by December 2014 it had turned into a consumer insights platform aimed at the services industry. The company offers a customer service back-end, using technology to survey, track, and report on customers’ experiences in real-time.

In its most successful form, eSaraha is an electronic survey for restaurantgoers. At the end of a meal, the waiter will bring a tablet PC to the customer’s table, on which the survey is completed. The information from that survey is instantly loaded into the eSaraha database. Through the information collected in that database, eSaraha can then offer its clients (the restaurants), data-driven insights into customer satisfaction.

“It’s a tool for restaurants. It’s the paper comment cards being replaced with technology. It’s an electronic customer feedback survey. It’s put in a cover that looks like a restaurant wallet, so the bill goes in, and it’s taken to the table, it’s given to a customer. They fill out the survey, which is about two pages — it’s very quick, with one-word headlines and you rate on a scale of one to five how satisfied or unsatisfied you were,” explains Nadien Yaghi, director of sales and business development at eSaraha.

“We ask if the customer had a problem, and the customer answers if they did have a problem, they can vent and write as much as they want, and let the restaurant manager and owners know what the problem is. And then as soon as they finish the survey, the customer gets an SMS, saying sorry for the inconvenience, someone will be contacting you from management shortly. And then another SMS goes to a manager so that they’re aware of the problem as well. This is so important today, when everything is at your fingertips — information is passed along in seconds. Before your customer has a chance to go on Twitter and complain, as soon as they pick up their phone, they’ll see the SMS and it’ll relax them, it’ll calm their nerves.”

eSahara provides its restaurant customers with the tablets (loaded with survey questions). However, the real value in the company comes after the surveys have been conducted. Using the data gleaned from the customer feedback forms, eSaraha provides real-time data mining, as well as daily, weekly and quarterly reports.

Business challenge

While the eSaraha product is now up and running — and generating meaningful insights for restaurant owners and operators to act upon — building it out was something of a technical challenge. The company not only needed a supply chain that could help it procure large numbers of tablets for restaurant customers, but it also needed a robust back-end that could handle large influxes of data. That back-end also had to be scalable if the company was going to be able to accommodate its ambitious growth plans — eSaraha wants to roll out its customer feedback technology to every restaurant in Dubai.

What’s more, the development of the solution itself was of great importance — there was no point going to market with a survey-like system that failed to work, so the company had to invest plenty of time in ensuring that its development strategy was sound.

The solution

In terms of procuring large numbers of tablets that would be suitable for the job, eSaraha contacted an unnamed device supplier that could customise the tablets for the company’s needs. The tablets could be light on features, seeing as they would only be used for one job, but they also needed to be of a relatively high quality. Indeed, a key consideration was that they needed to be responsive, so as not to frustrate customers trying to fill out the digital survey at the end of a meal.

To meet these requirements, then, it became clear than an Android-based device would suffice. According to Yaghi, another consideration was being able to offer tablets in a range of colours.

“We get these tablets which are actually customised for us. We get them through our supplier, and it’s fairly straightforward. Some clients get more tablets than others, but basically they’re all customised to us. And in some cases, we’ll do custom colours for our clients specifically. Our colours are red and yellow, so our standard tablet is red. For some customers who are larger chains, they’re more focused on their brand, they prefer colours that match their brand,” she explains.

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