Customer touchpoints are the points of contact that your customers have with your brand throughout their purchasing experience.
This goes from first learning about your restaurant all the way through to their return. Successfully controlling your touchpoints will not only help you reach new potential diners but also improve customer experience and re-engage customers to encourage repeat visits.
Digital touchpoints are especially important due to the connected nature of modern society. People who have either a great meal or a bad one are likely to share and start a conversation around your brand. Being in control and managing this conversation through your touchpoints can make a whole world of difference to your overall customer satisfaction.
In this article, we take a look at some of the more common touchpoints that restaurants need to be aware of yet often overlook.
Customer Touchpoints Before Purchase
Your website is your online shop window and more often than not the very first experience someone will have of your brand. Because of this, it’s important to make a good first impression with a modern up to date website where customers can access your menu and learn a little bit more about what differentiates you makes your brand tick.
We are increasingly reliant on social media channels. In fact, in a study in 2019, it was discovered that people spend an average of 144 minutes a day on social media. Creating an active social media presence will enable you to engage with current and future customers.
Testimonials and Reviews
Before trying a new restaurant for the first time customers like to check out review sites to gain confidence in the restaurant quality. Review sites like Tripadvisor and Yelp then are powerful touchpoints that restaurants need to monitor and control.
77% of diners check the restaurant menu before they dine-in. Having an easy to read up to date menu that properly showcases what your restaurant is about is absolutely vital if you want to convert any of that 77% into paying customers.
Advertising and Marketing
Advertising allows you to put together an image of your brand and reach new potential customers. With Google Ads and Facebook Ads your marketing budget doesn’t need to be huge and can be incredibly targeted for a high conversion rate.
This is a difficult thing to control or be a part of. However, word of mouth is one very persuasive way in which to build a loyal customer base. One way restaurants are able to maintain some control over word of mouth is by incentivising it. This could be through a loyalty program or reward scheme, for example.
Customer Touchpoints During Purchase
Having your own restaurant mobile app has a few big benefits. One of these key benefits is improving the ease of ordering during the purchasing process. Users can simply open the app and within a few clicks pay and have their order whizzing their way.
When it comes to managing your online touchpoints you have to ensure that, should a customer order takeout that the entire experience is perfect. This means branded recyclable containers, fast delivery, and good communication. A feature many restaurants have now to complement their delivery services, for example, is a ‘track my order’ function which allows customers to get live updates on their foods arrival time.
Loyalty Program or Other Promotions
Promotions and loyalty programs are great ways to build a loyal customer base that will come back time and again. When managing your takeaway service, for example, slip a couple of coupons in with the order encouraging them to download your app. Doing this will encourage a second visit and enable you to control follow-up communications.
Online Ordering System
When customers come to order from you you need a slick and easy to use online ordering system. Something that’s overly convoluted and doesn’t allow for customization is likely to see the customer head elsewhere and never return.
Your online ordering system needs to make it easy, you should have fantastic photography alongside your menu items, and customers should be able to tailor their order to their tastes just as they would if they were dining in.
Customer Touchpoints After Service
Gathering data will allow you to reach out and manage follow-up customer communications. Managing this touchpoint well will help increase repeat eaters. There are several ways to collect data for this purpose. One, you can collect email addresses, this can be done through things like loyalty programs. Secondly, you could manage communications through your own mobile app. This allows you to easily and non-invasively communicate special offers and control brand perception.
Respond to Feedback
As we mentioned earlier in the article, people research a restaurant before they visit. This could be through your website, through social media, or through review sites. One touchpoint that restaurants often either overlook or get wrong is their responses to feedback and reviews. Good reviews are powerful and are only made more so when the restaurant responds. Bad reviews though can be ruining. Responding to reviews can encourage even unhappy customers to give you a second chance.
Social Media Engagement
Reengaging with customers who talk about your restaurant and brand on social media will help you increase your online reach and build a sense of community around your brand which is likely to turn that customer (and some of their friends) into repeat eaters.
Managing Customer Touchpoints
There are numerous touchpoints spread throughout a customer’s lifecycle. We have focused solely on digital and online touchpoints in this article, but of course, every engagement with your brand from staff uniforms to signage should be thought of as an opportunity to create a great customer experience that will keep people coming back for more.
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