When a restaurant goes above and beyond to provide a personalized experience to its customers, it doesn’t go unnoticed.
According to a study by Salesforce, 52% of customers expect personalized offers, while 66% expect companies to understand their unique needs and expectations. Each interaction with your customer provides an opportunity to create an individual experience that’s catered to them.
Now that we know how important it is to create a personalized restaurant experience for your customers, let’s break down the different ways you can do so.
What Is a Personalized Customer Experience?
A personalized customer experience is more than just satisfying a need. It means making the effort to tailor a service that meets a customer’s specific expectations, giving them more reason to return to your restaurant. It’s more than just catering to their preferences. It’s all about adding value to their experience.
Providing personalized customer service is treating customers as an individual and not a group. This is crucial in staying on top of the competition – and it’s what sets your restaurant apart from others.
How Do You Personalize Customer Experience?
There isn’t a perfect formula that works for all restaurants. Each restaurant personalizes experience differently based on its customer base, the items offered, and the brand identity. How you personalize your customer experience can stem from these steps, but it’s how you utilize them that matters.
1. Regularly Gather Feedback
What better way to learn about a customer’s expectations than directly from them? Customers appreciate that their opinions are valued and used to improve their restaurant experience. Always ask your customers what they enjoyed the most and least about their dining experience, and how else you can improve.
Customers use review websites like Yelp and social media to share their experiences with brands and businesses, making it the perfect channel to gather genuine feedback. Restaurants with a strong social media presence openly communicate with their customers about menus and promotions, and are always receptive to feedback, whether it’s negative or positive.
As you communicate with your customer base through these platforms, you can use the feedback provided to better personalize their experience the next time they visit your establishment. Keeping them happy and making them feel special will lead to returning customers.
2. Create Loyalty Programs
Loyalty and rewards programs are great tools for consistent customer engagement. These programs don’t just reward your customers for visiting your restaurant but provide an avenue for data collection.
Customers enrolling in the program will be able to enter their preferences, save a favorite order list, and keep up with changes or specials. This allows you to collect valuable data that can be used for future offers, promotions, and free gifts.
Providing a way to include their family and friends will also help increase your revenue and promote your business. For example, a customer is more likely to return to your restaurant if you offer a free meal for two after several visits.
3. Guest Management System
Customers appreciate when you treat them like a friend rather than a business transaction. Apply a guest management system where staff will note special occasions, meal preferences, and dietary requirements for returning customers to provide a more personalized experience for each visit.
For example, the front of the house staff should note a regular customer’s dietary requirements and communicate that to the kitchen every time the customer visits your restaurant. If someone makes an order and mentions it’s for a birthday celebration, have your staff include a small dessert as a birthday gift.
The more details you learn about your customers, the more you can further improve their restaurant experience and keep them coming back.
4. Personalized Mobile App Profiles
Mobile apps are effective data collection tools. When a customer creates a profile on your restaurant’s mobile app, details like frequent orders, notes, and preferences are collected. The app can use these details to create personalized push notifications specific to each customer.
For example, if a customer includes a strawberry milkshake with every order, that preference is saved into the mobile app under that customer’s profile. When your restaurant has a promotion on half-priced milkshakes, the mobile app can send a push notification to that customer to let them know about the discount the next time they order. The app can include a reminder at the checkout page to make sure the customer doesn’t miss out on the promotion.
Technology is transforming the restaurant industry. All of this data will help you tailor a personalized experience for each customer.
5. Train Staff to Be Customer-Facing
While you can rely on technology to collect data about your customer, you shouldn’t forget about the people interacting with your customers. Train your staff to remember details about regular customers and to think outside the box to provide a memorable experience.
Train your staff to also notice details about the customer during their visit. For example, if a customer barely touched their plate, your staff should try to find out if there was something wrong with the order. If the customer just didn’t like what they ordered, try asking what they’d prefer and suggest something different that they might like better.
6. Provide Choices to Customers
In our inter-connected world, customers expect to access services and products through channels and platforms that are most convenient for them, not you. Customers will consider all the different channels available and search for your restaurant on a specific platform. So, whether it’s via social media or phone, or face-to-face, customers expect your business and service to be there for them when they need you.
If you’re not providing access to your business through multiple channels, your customers will simply move to a business that does. Making sure your service is easily accessible to differently-abled customers will also provide a sense of inclusion for a customer base that is often ignored.
When restaurants demonstrate a genuine interest in their customers’ needs, they’re not just meeting an expectation but providing a reason for customers to return. Going above and beyond to provide a personalized customer experience will promote more than just loyalty. It’ll help in increasing your restaurant’s reputation and revenue.
If you need help personalizing your customers’ experience, contact us to find out how we can help you and your business.