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Customer Engagement For Restaurants - Why Now?

The year of 2020 and winter 2020/21 season, is likely to be one of the most challenging times for restaurants, as restaurateurs cope with the restrictions and risks of COVID-19. Along with winterizing the restaurant’s dining experience or expanding services for takeout or delivery, there are opportunities in this season of uncertainty. Winter 2020 is an ideal moment for operators to enhance their strategies for customer engagement for restaurants.

Along with expanding a restaurant’s experience to take-out or delivery, restaurants can be more proactive with customer data management to find strategic customer insights. By learning more about what your customers want to buy, and how to best serve your customers’ needs, restaurants can re-shape the customer experience for better profitability. Along with year-round patio seating and outdoor heat lamps, customer engagement for restaurants is a prime area that restaurants should invest in. 

What Is Customer Engagement For Restaurants?

What does customer engagement for restaurants look like now?

In the current environment, dining room capacities might be limited by state or local public health orders, and many restaurant customers might not feel comfortable with indoor dining. It’s time for restaurateurs to get creative and be aggressively forward-thinking about how to dig deeper into customer insights.

During uncertain times, your restaurant customers still want to support your business, but they might need a more seamless experience that anticipates their needs and makes it easier for them to order. Customer insights can add value for diners as well as for restaurant operators – by helping the restaurant create a more focused, customized experience.

Customer engagement for restaurants helps generate value in many ways:

  • Getting to know your customers: Restaurants that are more likely to thrive in the future beyond the pandemic, understand the value of getting to know their customers with customer engagement that leverages technology and data from systems they use. 
  • Advanced customer insights: Customer engagement for restaurants, powered with the right analytics and key customer insights, leads to opportunities for growth. 
  • Customer data helps restaurants understand customer behavior: By putting data at the heart of customer engagement, restaurants can get better at predicting behaviors that will give a business the next best action for engagement. 
  • Deeper customer relationships: The more you know about your customers, the better you can serve them with personalized offers that anticipate their needs. In the long-term this approach deeply personalizes the experience for the customer. 

Learn more about your customers, give your customers more of what they want, and watch your profits grow.

“Customer insights can add value for diners as well as for restaurant operators – by helping the restaurant create a more focused, customized experience.”

Will Newman, Owner and Restaurateur
Edley's Bar-B-Que Restaurant Group
Tweet

Five Steps to Better Customer Engagement for Restaurants

Here are the steps that you can take starting today for better customer engagement for restaurants:

Step 1: Know your customers

Start by building a complete customer profile. By looking at your customers’ purchase data, sales channels (where they order – online, phone, in-person, app, etc.), and other details, you can create a more specific view of what your customers are like and how they like to buy. This can help you analyze your customer relationships on a more precise level. 

For example: 

  • Are they a new customer, or a longtime regular customer? How can you improve customer loyalty and retention? 
  • Are they local customers or visiting from out of town? Find out more about where your customers live and where your orders are coming from. 
  • Are they ordering for 2 or 1? Single-person households will have different preferences and behavior than couples or families with children.

“Next best action: finding the next action you can take to contact that customer, interact with that customer, provide an offer to that customer, in a way that delivers the best results.”

JESSICA VALENZUELA, CEO, GOGOGUEST Tweet

See what is possible.

Talk to sales.

Step 2: Don't be shy about collecting customer data

Your restaurant already owns a lot of valuable data about your customers. GoGoGuest can help you get the most of your customer data, by capturing data from systems you already use like POS systems, online ordering systems and third-party apps that collect a lot of data about your customers. All of these types of data can provide valuable insights for how your customers prefer to pay, what they like to order, what time of day they like to buy, and more. 

How GoGoGuest Helps: Here is where GoGoGuest comes in as a customer data management platform:

  • Our technology offers easy integrations with Square, Toast, NCR, Par Technology (Brink POS), Clover, Revel, and Talech to easily gain access to customer data that you own. 
  • We clean and organize the customer data captured from multiple sources
  • We correlate this data with previous customer actions (purchase, campaign engagement)
  • We build the complete customer profile
  • Our platform automates customer segmentation to organize your customer profiles into targeted customer personas or customer groups, helping you identify which “types” of customers are the best fit for certain products or offers. 
  • We help your restaurant see personalize
Gather all your data in one place. Gain access to seamless data pipelines to grow your brand and business in-store and online

Step 3: Refine your restaurant’s next best action

Once you know more about the basics of your customers and have created specific customer profiles based on what kind of people you serve and what they like to buy from your restaurant, you can go further. The next step of customer engagement for restaurants is “next best action:” finding the next action you can take to contact that customer, interact with that customer, provide an offer to that customer, in a way that delivers the best results.

When you have a complete view of the customer, customer insights help you choose the next best action. 

How GoGoGuest Helps: The GoGoGuest platform provides your restaurant with targeted customer insights, like a recommendation engine of next best actions to engage with your customers and drive your customer relationships forward. 

For example, depending on the data, your next best action might be: 

  • Your next marketing message
  • What product bundle would be most effective
  • What time should you send the message
  • Which channel should you use to reach out – email, mobile, text, mail, etc. 

We identify which customer personas/groups/segments would be the best fit for specific campaigns and messaging. For example, is the customer a candidate for online ordering? Is he local? Do they often order for large groups or for one?

Step 4: Choose Your Next Best Action

  • Next best action is not just about choosing “email” or “social media.” It’s about a more comprehensive understanding and precise recommendations for how to engage with customers in a targeted, personalized way to drive profits. 

Learn more about your customers, what they like to buy, and how they like to be reached. Then engage them with precise, personalized, targeted communications and special offers. This is what next best action means, and how it can supercharge customer engagement for restaurants. 

How GoGoGuest Helps: To make these recommendations for your next best action, GoGoGuest uses our Market Basket Analysis, driven by machine learning AI and logic.  

We correlate and refine purchase data and WiFi data (for in-store customer insights) to help you understand which customers are most likely to respond to which actions. We help you choose the channels (such as apps, email, Facebook, Google Ads, Instagram, and TikTok) that are most engaging to connect with customers and which can help the restaurant’s bottom line.

GoGoGuest Helps Recommend: 

  • Which product combinations are most profitable for the restaurant
  • Which product bundles would have the best engagement by customer group/persona
  • How to design offers and rewards that are more enticing based on historical data

 

Step 5: Refine and prioritize

Customer engagement for restaurants is an ongoing process of learning, growing, and getting better. If you can keep learning from your customer insights and keep refining the ways you reach out to customers in ways that are more relevant and useful to them, you can build a customer engagement loop that gets smarter over time. 

Insight driven customer engagement adds value by removing the costly guesswork.

What if you really knew which customers were most likely to buy, most likely to respond to an ad or special offer, and more likely to become loyal, repeat customers?

How GoGoGuest Helps: 

GoGoGuest helps operators get smarter customer engagement for restaurants with marketing segmentation and automation (email and SMS) to refine customers’ journeys. Market basket analysis continues to be a big part of the equation. This allows restaurants to focus on their best, most engaged customers. 

Along with putting more focus on your most-engaged and enthusiastic customers, GoGoGuest can help you avoid wasting time on unengaged and ghost customers. Our research shows that 22% of your email lists go into decay every year.

This is why it is important to build these customer profiles early on and keep learning from fresh customer insights. The more you know about who your best customers are, and which customers are less engaged or less valuable for your business, the more efficient you can be with your marketing efforts.Customer engagement for restaurants is an ongoing process of learning, growing, and getting better. If you can keep learning from your customer insights and keep refining the ways you reach out to customers in ways that are more relevant and useful to them, you can build a customer engagement loop that gets smarter over time. 

Next Steps

Don’t take our word for it. We encourage you to dive in and dig deeper. Have you read The Customer Engagement Playbook? Produced by the GoGoGuest team, it offers actionable next steps and best practices on how to implement these actionable full cycle marketing tips from creating awareness, customer engagement to growing customer loyalty that drive value.

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