I’m constantly looking for resources that help me understand the industries that Vibes works with, and recently I came across this podcast, “Why You Need to Ask What’s Next.” In it, Sherif Mityas, Chief Experience Officer at TGI Fridays, discussed why the products of a brand—particularly a restaurant—matter far less than the customer experience it delivers.
Mobile Creates a Winning Customer Experience
I completely agree with that, and I’ve seen firsthand how today’s technology (particularly mobile) can enhance the customer experience for restaurant brands. In the podcast, Mityas said that mobile is a key part of TGI Friday’s strategy: "everyone has a mobile device, everyone is connected."
Given the fact that 98% of diners or shoppers have their phones in the restaurant or store, it seems obvious that this is a great platform to connect with consumers where they are.
Mobile allows you to be a part of the conversation with consumers before, during, and after the dining experience. And with so many channels, you’re spoiled for choice to create that positive customer experience. SMS and MMS are great for driving customers to redeem special offers or for sending surveys. Mobile Wallet is a wonderful platform for your loyalty program and to communicate with diners.
You’ve Already Got the Data to Boost that Experience
Mityas said, "knowing our guests at an individual level is really powerful," and technology allows TGI Fridays to do this at scale.
You have a billion insights at your fingertips about when your customer orders, how they order, what they like to order, et cetera. Use this to your advantage. It’s easy to get caught up in collecting data, thanks to all the analytics and insights tools we have access to today, but the key is actually assessing that information and acting on it.
Use these data insights to drive personalization and give customers what they want and crave from your brand. Knowing, for example, that one customer always orders a vegetarian dish, you can send her a coupon via text for $5 off any meatless dish. She’s much more likely to respond to that offer than a text announcing your new rib dish that you send to everyone.
Personalization makes the consumer feel like you care and know them. This doesn’t mean you have to spend 20 minutes analyzing each diner’s behavior. The tools exist to parse the data you’ve collected to create offers that may seem like they’re unique for every customer, but in fact, may be sent to hundreds of others who have similar purchase patterns.
Constantly Strive to Elevate That Customer Experience
Creating a great customer experience isn’t a one-and-done effort. It requires constant innovation and strategy. Mityas says you must always ask yourself: “how can we boost the customer experience?”
You’ll come across new “shiny objects” to try out to engage your customers, but he says you need to ask yourself the following questions before latching onto any of them:
Is this going to improve the guest experience?
Can we execute it/do it consistently?
Can we make money/does it have ROI?
As you move forward in your marketing, consider what the total package you are bringing to the table for your customers is. What is the overall journey you want them to have? What experience do you want them to walk away with? Mityas says that aligning your organization around customer experience and removing silos to ensure that everyone in your company is working toward the same goal is key for success.
I found this podcast incredibly insightful, and not just for the restaurant industry. I believe that customer experience is the foundation for long-term customer relationships for any brand, and these insights can be applied by any company.
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