In today’s fast-paced business world, convenience continues to be the name of the game when it comes to attracting and retaining restaurant customers. Increasing demands for faster order pickup have many chains rolling out virtual drive-thrus encouraging customers to preorder and prepay. Other brands are capitalizing on artificial intelligence to take orders more efficiently. Convenience is the reason for the rapid evolution of delivery even as we grapple with cost and food quality.
While everyone likes convenience, or at least some, and we’ve learned to get what we need through self-service, we must remember that quality service with a human touch will always make the difference between a restaurant experience that draws the customer in and one that pushes the customer right over to a competitor.
So, how do we provide customized experiences in a convenience-driven world in a way that builds trust and loyalty?
We must customize customer service and communication.
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McKinsey reports, “The closer organizations get to the consumer, the bigger the gains.” These gains can include loyalty programs that bolster business by recognizing your customers and their interests. It can also have various touchpoints “such as checking in post-purchase” or asking customers to “write a review.”
Focusing on the customer experience helps demonstrate your investment in the relationship and not just the transaction. And all relationships are built on a foundation of strong, ongoing communication.
Here’s how we believe Convenient & Personal Transactions, Clear & Prompt Communication, and Trustworthy & Loyal Relationships can provide customized experiences in a convenience-driven world:
Convenient & Personal Transactions: Concentrate on convenience as a critical part of the overall customer experience – particularly as it relates to transactions. Meet your customer where they are – whether that be drive-thru, delivery, online, or dine-in. Be quick to respond and personalize whenever you can – learn names, remember small details about customers, give spontaneous rewards, etc. Having a personal touch during a transaction can set your business apart from others in your market.
Clear & Prompt Communication: Setting expectations with your customer is critical to your customer service strategy. Be clear and concise with your message. Be engaging with your tone. Be prompt with your communication. The sooner you communicate with your customer, the sooner you solidify the relationship.
Trustworthy & Loyal Relationships: Create a culture inside your business to ensure every customer is treated with the utmost care and transparency. When the inevitable customer service issues arise, be sincere in your resolution. And follow up after resolution to ensure satisfaction was achieved. Offer discounts or coupons where needed. Each customer service interaction is a marketing opportunity.
What else can we do to ensure customers return when demand wanes?
Be consistent with your customized experience. You own the customer experience you create and consistently delivering on that experience will drive loyalty.
Nowadays, the business challenge is clear: customers are demanding a personal experience with the businesses they choose. We need to be thoughtful in how we react. But it is not easy and since we can only respond at scale using technology, the answer is complex. Your technology response needs a human touch, your stamp. Without humans AI is nothing!
At GSS, Restaurant365 is one of our technology choices to ensure a consistent customer experience. We customize Restaurant365 to track the metrics that we’ve learned make financially successful restaurants. Please reach out if you’d like to discuss the platform or business in general.