5 Important F&B Customer Experience Strategies You Need to Know
Customer Experience continues to be one of the deciding factors for customers when choosing who they will spend their time, effort, and money with. For businesses in the F&B industry, where competition is fierce and new innovations are frequent, keeping your customers happy, aware of your brand, recommending you to others – and returning themselves, is crucial for success.
Here are 5 Customer Experience trends that should inform your strategic developments:
Offering a Personalised Interaction with Your Customers
Your audience wants to know you are listening to them, understand them, are responding to their expectations – and evolving to cater to their needs.
Advertising and marketing no longer has the same impact when conducted through traditional channels, and a one-size-fits-all approach is rarely appropriate.
80% of consumers are more likely to purchase from a brand that provides personalised experiences, and 63% would stop buying from one that utilises poor personalization tactics.
Customers want to be enlightened, educated, and entertained – by speaking directly to them on a personal one-to-one basis and offering them content, promotions, and offers that aligns with their values, individual requirements – be it dietary, ethical, accessibility, or something else, and purchasing decisions – your brand is more relevant, remembered and recommended.
Creating an Emotional Connection between Your Customers and Your Business
With recommendations and researchable content available at their fingertips, consumers are empowered to make their decisions. By creating an emotional connection with your audience, you build a rapport that generates trust and familiarity.
Customers are more likely to return to and recommend venues that have made them feel an emotional connection. Whether you’re operating a loyalty program or offering an exceptional customer experience with the behaviours and knowledge base of your staff – it is vital that an emotional and empathic connection is nurtured, and your audience are understood and their needs addressed.
With so much choice available in the F&B Industry, your brand needs to stand apart from the competition; your business may not be a person, but it needs to have its own voice and personality, and these need to align with your customers’ expectations and interests.
By developing this brand identity, you’re making it easier for people to understand who you are, what you care about, what you’re focused on, and how you act.
Presenting a brand consistently across all platforms can increase revenue by 23%
A Customer Experience (CX) strategy looks at every interaction a customer has with your business – pre and post-sale. The strategy defines actionable plans that you put in place to deliver high-quality and value, meaningful interactions across all of these touchpoints, and do so in a way that is consistent in quality, tone and standards.
By operating CX strategy that is consistent and caring, your audience will feel more connected, be more forgiving of issues or mistakes (as they’ve identified with you and feel that they know who you are), and be more inclined to not only trust you; but look to your brand first as an established leader in the market.
Promoting Closer Alignment of Brand Values and Promises
Consumers want to engage with businesses that deliver on their promises and operate on the moral and ethical standards their brand promotes.
They don’t want to find a disconnect between what your brand says and what it actually does.
If your brand is championing a cause or aligning its values with a belief – then everything you do and create, from social media posts to menus, should reflect this, for example: If your brand message states that you only use 100% recyclable goods, that you only work with like-minded companies, and that you’re committed to reducing the waste produced by your business, then you would need to be careful about who’s social posts or articles you were sharing, because supporting companies or other brands who don’t utilise recycled goods or have had negative media attention due to their Corporate Social Responsibilities (CSR) would be seen as against what you stand for, and a betrayal of your own values.
In this digital age, it is extremely easy to find out which brands are lying or misleading their customers – and the fallout can be long lasting and expensive to fix, if it’s even possible to fix in the first place.
Making Strategic Use of Feedback and Metrics
Understanding your customer’s wants and needs is important for any F&B business – you need to know what new trends will affect your development, preparation, and new product releases, as well as customer satisfaction, availability, and CSR.
By using metrics and collating data directly from the customers, you put yourself in a position to know everything you could ever want to know about the people who frequent your social media pages and website.
But collecting data for the sake of data isn’t helping anyone – if you don’t have a system in place to sort and analyse the information, and apply it to the relevant parts of your business – then all you are doing is wasting time, effort, and money.
When talking about metrics in marketing, we’re talking about measurable values that can be used to demonstrate the effectiveness of a campaign or strategy across the different marketing channels.
There are different types of metrics – Vanity Metrics and Actionable Metrics.
These are values that can make you feel that your strategy is successful, but don’t necessarily reflect how your business is actually performing, these include:
- Page Views
- Social Media Likes
- Email Subscribers
- Leads into the Sales Funnel
- Marketing Spend
- Total Customers Acquired
- Monthly Revenue Per Customer
This doesn’t mean that this information isn’t useful and shouldn’t be collected – it should. However, it needs to be linked to an Actionable Metric to become useful.
These are values that are directly linked to the success of your business and the behaviour of your customers. These metrics include:
- Conversion Rate
- Social Media Engagement / Referrals
- Email Opt-In Conversion Rate
- Analysis of the Sales Funnel and Further Movement
- Return on Investment (ROI) of Marketing Spend
- Customer Acquisition Cost
- Customer Lifetime ValueBy linking Vanity and Actionable Metrics together, you can identify how well your strategies are performing.
Examples of Linked Metrics:
- Page Views and Conversion Rates
- Social Media Likes and Engagement / Referral Rate
- Email Subscribers and Opt-In Conversion Rate
- Leads into the Sales Funnel and Further Movement
- Marketing Spend and the ROI
- Total Customers Acquired and Acquisition Cost
- Monthly Revenue Per Customer and Life-Time Value
It’s important to have a strategy in place before you begin. Look at your business goals, and what you want to achieve with your advertising, marketing, and social media strategies. Once you have decided the areas you need to focus on, you can decide which streams of data to collect, analyse and apply.
Conduct Pre-emptive Problem Solving
By taking a proactive approach to problem-solving, your business is better positioned to limit crises and issues that could negatively impact your brand.
Social Listening and monitoring (a system where you can see who is talking about your brand, using specific hashtags, etc) can allow you to detect issues and resolve them quickly and efficiently. By having clear strategies and clear lines of communication, staff are able to escalate any potential problems quickly, which can lead to problems being avoided before they happen.
By reviewing the position of your brand in the market and evaluating consumer sentiment you gain a clear indication of how you are performing. By comparing this information to your strategies and goals, you can identify which areas are performing well, which could do better – and any that need immediate attention. This allows your business to be flexible and identify hotspots before they can be pointed out by an unhappy customer and shared with the world.
The trends impacting the Food & Beverage industry are largely pointing towards a more customer-centric and personalised approach to business. Aided by technology, customers are more able to engage with businesses than ever before and expect to be interacted with across all platforms.
For your business to get ahead of the competition, it is vital that you have a well-defined yet flexible strategy in place to deal with customer expectations and engagement.