Date13 June 2018
Use Events to Strengthen Customer Loyalty
The restaurant is quiet -- a little too quiet. Bored, staff look out over a sea of empty tables, their wages barely being covered by the meagre trickle of customers that come in throughout the working week.
But on the weekend it's a very different story. The high-end, city centre sushi chain is packed with shoppers, couples and theatre-goers, all seeking a unique culinary experience. Staff are rushed off their feet and customers without a booking eagerly wait for a table.
The manager launches a promotion to get people through the door on the low-revenue quiet days -- a set weekday lunch menu that works out 20 per cent cheaper than it would on the weekend.
Footfall increases, but hit rates for the promotion are low, and when it ends, the customers immediately dry up.
So what went wrong? The offer was good value and went out to thousands of subscribers over the restaurant's communications networks -- it should have been a success.
Tap Into your Customers
Most restaurants have a clear idea of what they are trying to achieve when launching an event -- whether it's getting people spending more on high-ticket items or increasing custom at certain times of the week.
However, pushing your event out to your entire mailing list can have negative impacts as customers faced with a deluge of irrelevant comms get used to hitting delete when you appear in their inbox.
Worse still, they'll eventually press the dreaded unsubscribe button.
The sushi restaurant manager has made this mistake. His promotion isn't bad; it just hasn't tapped into the deeper desires of his customers.
Wouldn't it be better if there was a way to consistently target a smaller group with a bespoke offer that precisely fits with their passions and lifestyle and keeps them coming back time and again?
The challenge, of course, is how to understand these desires, analyse them and then precisely target the right people.
Email Still Rules Supreme
In today's fast communication world email can feel a little archaic, but it remains one of the best ways to promote your events. And having a customer's email address on your database has an added benefit -- it allows you to track their behaviour.
Email addresses don't have to relate to the email account alone. They can be linked to social media, Wi-Fi accounts, apps and more.
Once you have a customer's email address, you can potentially see every time they book, what they order, and how much they spend -- no matter what channel they use.
Once you've analysed a customer's behaviour, you can accurately build segments and develop targeted campaigns that precisely meet their needs -- and ultimately gain their loyalty.
However, analysing data has always been a challenge for the sushi restaurant. It operates a myriad of different customer channels, all collecting and storing customer interactions in different ways and different places -- this makes collating the data almost impossible.
However, a small investment in technology such as Event-Stream could allow the sushi restaurant to quickly connect all of these disparate channels and collate the data in one place -- ready to deploy quickly and easily.
The Sake Advocates
Using Event-Stream (more on this at the end of the article), the sushi restaurant can collate customer data from the last three months. It reveals that a certain segment is consistently buying the higher-priced sake. High-ticket items like this are a great way to boost revenue, and so this is chosen as the focus for the first event.
The restaurant arranges to hold a sake experience night on a Thursday in which customers can try several exotic and unusual higher-priced sakes while an expert talks them through each.
An invitation for the event with a uniquely coded coupon is sent to all email addresses in the sake-buying segment. When customers redeem the coupon, Event-Stream will recognise it as being connected with their email address -- conversion rates and customer engagement.
It becomes easy to track the effectiveness of an event.
And this is where the personalisation opportunities get exciting. During the night, the customers are invited to try a glass of each sake brand before getting the chance to buy a bottle of their favourite at a reduced price.
Next week, the manager sends out a new promotion -- he can look at the sake-buying customers and break them down even further by the individual sake brand that they chose. The sushi restaurant can use this information to add a further level of personalisation.
Each customer is sent a new offer -- bring at least two new friends with you to the next sake night, and you'll get a bottle of your favourite free. All the restaurant asks is for you to provide the email addresses of your two guests.
This promotion brings new people into the restaurant, gets existing customers returning, and it gets new addresses onto the mailing list for sake night. More importantly, the restaurant is quickly gaining a reputation as the place to go for sake and brand loyalty amongst this customer segment is steadily increasing.
Of course, there are only so many potential customers out there that can be attracted to a relatively niche product like sake. But that's ok because the opportunities are endless. The sushi restaurant can go back to its customer data, quickly tap into a different segment's passion and launch a new event on a different day.
Veggie Wednesday anyone? Or sashimi Tuesday?
Event-Stream helps hospitality businesses collect customer behaviour from across their customer channels. It is then turned into actionable sales and marketing plans that can be executed through integrations with current providers.
By capturing customer actions as events to be analysed rather than data to be shoehorned into a database, Event-Stream opens up considerable new sales and marketing opportunities.
It connects multiple systems and channels, allowing customer interactions to be stored in a single location as individual events.
Its stream analytics database allows this data to be analysed in real-time and produces a huge range of actionable insights that can be used to help make your events a success and drive customer loyalty.