Customer Relationship Management tools (or CRM) are a company-wide business strategy designed to help improve revenue and profitability, as well as reduce costs. Above and beyond anything else however, a CRM system supports a strategy which puts the customer squarely at the center of everything that you do. Such a customer-centric strategy has to be based on clear goals and a precise vision of what you want your customer's experience to look like. While many may associate CRM systems primarily with B2B or B2C sales companies, CRM tools are just as valuable for restaurants. CRM software allows wait staff and other front-line employees to function together seamlessly, by gathering all information on the business in one place, to provide a complete, holistic 360° vision of each and every customer. In turn, this lets restaurants adapt their approach to each diner's likes, dislikes, preferences, and such. An effective CRM system can go a long way to securing customer loyalty and growing a restaurant's bottom line.
Every diner is a potential influencer
Customers are central to any businesses' success. This is especially true of the dining industry. It's a no-brainer really - in order for a restaurant to succeed, diners must enjoy their food and their overall experience. Savvy restaurateurs will go one step further by paying particular attention to the ambiance and decor, as well as other key amenities such as free guest Wi-Fi. But beyond these, tailored and consistent customer service based on each diner's preferences and history has an even greater impact on the on-site experience and can also go a long way to securing customer loyalty. To that end, an effectively deployed and utilized CRM system allows restaurants to see every interaction through their customer's eyes. This then empowers customer-facing employees to tailor future interactions based on collected customer data, to provide targeted and consistent customer service. In turn, satisfied customers will tell their friends about their dining experience, and perhaps even share it on social media. The ultimate win-win strategy.
Gain insights from your CRM to make targeted and informed business decisions
Beyond saving time and money, CRM tools also allow restaurants to collect valuable insights and analytics on their customers and prospects so they can then tailor their marketing, communications, offers and services accordingly. This collected data can greatly inform the business, paving the way towards more effective, targeted business plans and marketing initiatives. Customer insights collected via CRM tools can be especially valuable for restaurants because they give wait staff and other customer-facing employees access to a diner's entire history at the venue, so your employees can then tailor their interaction, with a birthday wish or a favorite drink waiting for them upon arrival, for a highly personalized, optimized and targeted dining experience.
Track customer behavior to better cater to their needs
In today’s highly competitive restaurant landscape, customers are increasingly picky. They also expect a lot beyond great food from their dining experience. A CRM system that is used effectively and consistently puts restaurants ahead of the game by providing a wealth of customer data and actionable market insights that can be deployed into a variety of targeted initiatives. Indeed, CRM technology is an invaluable tool for restaurateurs because it helps them better understand customer needs and wants, and responds to them by improving on recipes, decor, services and any other amenities offered to them. In fact, according to Software Advice, 74% of businesses report that their CRM system has given them improved access to customer data - and allowed them to better respond to their customers' needs.
CRM technology facilitates online marketing initiatives
Effective CRM tools offer a wealth of opportunities for restaurants and can greatly inform their overall marketing strategy. A CRM that is adapted to the business and used consistently by all customer-facing employees can effectively track customer interactions and preferences throughout the relationship lifecycle, which allows for far more effective marketing initiatives that are based on actual customer preferences. CRMs also helps restaurants track how prospects find their venue – via online search, specific marketing campaigns, social networks, or trade shows for instance, and also allows them to engage with their customer base on an ongoing basis. In turn, talented marketing teams can use these precious customer insights and data to deploy a variety of targeted marketing initiatives that yield the biggest return on investment.
There’s no doubt about it – a good CRM system is a must for any growing business. This is especially true for restaurants that are battling for their piece of the pie in an increasingly busy space.