Improving your business knowledge and retention of your customers using technology to gather customer information.
While we have seen a steady growth in customers willingness to use technology over the past 10 years, a recent survey stated that 45% of consumers will ONLY dine out if technology is available. That may seem like a lot but consider it was a fraction of that a year ago. This has accelerated in months at a rate that took us years previously. Master Card is reporting that contactless payments are up by 40%, and Food delivery is up by 70% according to Barons. Most experts agree this will increase even more as new users experience the safety, security and ease, and other benefits of this.
Whose customer information is it?
Now that customers are more open to sharing information using technology, what will you do with all that new customer information? Are you collecting and mining this data? Does it belong to you or is it being collected by a 3rd party? Information is now the new currency. It needs to be collected accurately, packaged, and put into digestible nuggets, to help guide your ship and make sound decisions. Things like customization and focused marketing on customers behaviors, geofencing, menu engineering, and the collection of feedback just to name a few. Many forward thinking restaurants and bars implemented this to exploit the trend in varying degrees. It can be noted that the most successful restaurants in this current pandemic already had strong technology strategies that tapped into these consumer behaviors.
In today’s world consumer habits dictate our priorities and there is no way around it anymore.
Customer Relationship Management (CRM) is critical. Your customers are proprietary. Why would you give this information away for free to a 3rd party reservation or online booking service and pay them for the privilege? You need to have a process to collect this critical data from every guest. There are many inexpensive platforms out there that can collect and manage guests information and even launch and track promotions to help you analyze the success in the same system.
Channeling YOUR customer information
Managing each channel effectively is very important since there can be considerable costs involved with using each channel. Reservations are now a must and all customers will now have to book before visiting your establishment if you are to manage your tables efficiently and keep social distancing guidelines. If you are being charged a per cover fee, the amount you pay is about to go up considerably because of this. These reservations services will cost you thousands of dollars every month if not selected and set up properly.
Shifting to direct channels to reach your current guests and find new ones should be your ultimate goal. These costs may be the difference in turning a profit or not. A solid e-commerce and sustained social media strategy utilizing electronic marketing platforms, is very effective. By communicating what you are doing, sharing exciting announcements, new offerings, upcoming special events, and targeted tactical promotions will drive revenues to you directly and lessen your dependency on other more expensive distribution channels
Technology = Service
Technology doesn’t mean desensitized impersonal service. In fact it can actually create an even better experience for your guests. Knowing and understanding their past dining habits, likes and dislikes, favorites, past glitches, feedback etc. helps personalize service to each and every person. Having an integrated system that seamlessly collects customer information and helps manage their journey from the first point of contact until they depart and even have returned home, is a game changer.
In the current reality every restaurant has to offer some form of online ordering and delivery option. Are you doing this yourself or do you outsource this? Costs of making a mistake can be considerable. These companies charge up to 40% of the total guest order. Have you researched and found the most guest friendly and cost effective options? Have you taken into account how all this integrates together from a customers perspective?
You may have several pieces of the puzzle but you are only as strong as your weakest link. If not thought through then a potential enhancement to your guests experience becomes a complicated and cumbersome obstacle and a liability on your balance sheet. We are here to help.
Speak with us at FOODnBEVTECH about helping to improve your customer information management capability or explore our Four Course Menu designed to help you make the right technology choices.