Amy Hunt

Your customers now have even more choices when it comes to dining. With the restaurant industry totaling a net worth of $198.9 billion, not to mention the access to more food options through new restaurant delivery options and easier access to groceries and home food service subscriptions, it’s more important than ever to connect with your guests in the moments that matter.

Setting up your internal infrastructure, including technology capabilities, while developing and implementing a data capture strategy is essential to understanding your customers. Then, it’s important to clearly communicate to customers the benefits of choosing your brand for dining experiences and ensure that you are engaging customers throughout their experience. 

Consider these tips when getting to know your best customers:

Don’t rely on a fractured identity: Knowing your customers is essential. The secret ingredient for sustaining customer loyalty and truly knowing your diners is data, beginning with offline data like name and address and extending to digital channels by recognizing consumers via email address and across their devices. Don’t rely on a fractured identity when trying to drive loyalty. 

Capture physical addresses: A physical address helps you understand a customer’s proximity to restaurants in order to encourage visits. Capturing this information also allows you to append external data to determine whether it’s a single person dining, or if you could encourage an entire family to dine and increase average spend.

Think consolidation: Consolidate all information in one platform to drive coordinated, consumer-centric, not offer-centric communications. Understand and centralize information on who views, clicks, purchases and what they do to connect appropriate campaigns to these consumers. Ensure that you are obtaining a holistic picture of your customer and their past purchases, especially if they transact both inside and outside of a loyalty program. All too often, customers look like a one-time customer but in reality may have ordered 10 times outside of the loyalty program because it did not have the right user interface and could not be honored in store due to lagging POS technology.

Segmentation is a must: Understanding how to move your customer from a less active to an active guest is key. Once the data is collected and aggregated on prospective and existing customers, then segments should be created based on Value, Attrition, Potential to further define marketing recommendations at all stages throughout the customer lifecycle for acquisition and engagement efforts. This also helps you understand a full-view of your customers versus prospects and ensures that you are appropriately leveraging your marketing dollars to support your high-value customers.

Loyalty programs drive results: Do you have an existing loyalty program? If not, consider developing one. If yes, consider enhancing it. Your loyalty program value proposition should be defined (or refined) based on the above steps to ensure it is effectively targeting your best customers with the appropriate data-driven value (offer or points) that will drive behavior and further engage your best customers in the moments that matter.

So, has your appetite for getting to know your best customers increased? Engagement can be improved by gaining a deeper understanding of where to best utilize your marketing funds based on a customer’s potential value, attrition risk and current spend. Additionally, it provides insights to future behaviors that can be predicted, where demographic clustering and segment profiles could be created to deliver the right message at the right time. It’s all powered by strategy, analytics and a centralized database with CRM and loyalty capabilities.

Ultimately, the value of knowing and connecting with your best guests will enable you to measure the success of your customer experience, build lifetime loyalty and increase share of stomach.

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