3 Ways to Optimize the Omnichannel Experience for Diners

A seemingly endless array of communication channels provides restaurants with the ability to interact with guests no matter where they may be. From social media feeds and push notifications to emails and irreplaceable face-to-face interactions, reaching diners has never been easier.

But while technology may have solved the problem of grabbing customer’s fickle attentions, new issues arise in a world where diners jump from mobile device to brick-and-mortar restaurant to laptop screen and back again. Namely, are you providing a consistent experience for your diners across all channels? That’s where omnichannel engagement comes in.

In the restaurant world, omnichannel engagement refers to providing a cohesive experience when it comes to branding, ordering, and payment. A customer ordering online and picking up in store shouldn’t experience any hiccups caused by miscommunication between an ordering app and a restaurant, for example. It’s your job to make the entire experience seamless.

According to the research, providing a seamless customer experience pays off. Aspect Software found that businesses adopting omnichannel strategies achieve 91% greater year-over-year retention compared to businesses that don’t.

It’s not just retention rates that should have you singing omnichannel’s praises, though; it’s customer expectations. Eighty-seven percent of customers think brands need to work harder to create a seamless experience, according to Zendesk, and if there’s one thing the service industry has taught us, it’s that the customer is always right.

Ready to implement an omnichannel strategy for your restaurant? Here are three ways to ensure a consistent experience across channels, enabling you to meet customer expectations and your business goals:

  1. Get Personal

A seamless experience should be a given when it comes to omnichannel engagement, but that experience becomes all the more powerful when it’s personalized. A loyalty program that is well integrated across all your channels — allowing customers to earn and use points and rewards in store and via your app and website — gives you a chance to collect valuable personal data about customers and to engage with them in a relevant way. This data can be used to target marketing campaigns to deliver the right message at the right time and to similarly personalize face-to-face encounters for increased customer satisfaction and retainment. Luxury retailer Burberry, for instance, has reported a 50% increase in repeat customers thanks to this type of personalized customer experience.

  1. Offer Convenience

Today’s diners have hectic lives, and they expect a quick and convenient way to order and pay, seeking out options to order ahead, skip the line, and make payments via mobile wallet to save a few precious moments. One of the top reasons consumers are using new technologies like mobile apps is to order, pay, and have their food waiting for them when they arrive, according to the NPD Group. Moreover, fifty percent of consumers expect that they will be able to purchase an item online and pick it up in store or restaurant. The leader in convenience is Starbucks, which is now taking in 30% of transactions via mobile payment thanks to its mobile ordering platform that allows customers to order and pay ahead of time to skip the line. Affording your customers these types of conveniences through omnichannel engagement is a surefire way to get them coming back time and again.

  1. Go Mobile

Speaking of mobile, you simply can’t underestimate the power of mobile today. Business Insider Intelligence projects that mobile ordering will be a $38 billion industry by 2020, so if you haven’t optimized your mobile app for engaging customers, now is the time. Update your app to include brick and mortar location info and menus, and allow your diners to pay through the app and to access their loyalty rewards. Much of the success of Starbucks’ mobile app and payment system has come thanks to its linkage to its loyalty program, with rewards members representing approximately 18% of customers and driving 36% of sales.

It’s clear that addressing your customers across all channels is a valuable tool for getting their attention, but unless you’re integrating across channels, you’re simply working with a multichannel approach. A true omnichannel strategy requires you to provide a seamless experience through integrated communication, and you can optimize this approach by offering personalization, convenience, and mobile accessibility. The payoff comes in the form of more satisfied customers and, ultimately, higher customer retention rates, making omnichannel engagement a winning strategy for the restaurant industry.

Ready to make omnichannel engagement a reality for your business? Contact us to learn more about how Como Sense can work for you.