Technology enhances every corner of our lives, and quick-service restaurants (QSRs) are no exception. We're busy. Time is tight. Value, convenience and a personalized experience are still expected even during a brief interaction that yields something as simple as our lunch. Implementing seamless digital brand alignment, from the point of deciding where to eat to opening that carry-out container, creates a cohesive user experience.
QSR Magazine cautioned that a positive brand experience can easily get lost when upgrading the technology at quick-service restaurants. Customer engagement with your service should be consistent across all points of outreach including in-store, online and via apps. When working with third-party software, user experience (UX) and user interface (UI) must complement one another or brand messaging is lost. Let's learn a few ways to combine customer satisfaction with brand alignment.
Improving the User Experience
It's no secret that many QSR brands are moving away from face-to-face contact and are instead prompting customers to use digital devices to make an order. Deloitte conducted The Restaurant of the Future survey and found:
- Customers tend to visit more often and spend more money at restaurants that use advanced technology to place an order.
- When choosing a restaurant, the ability to customize an order is a deciding factor.
- 84 percent of diners will return to a restaurant if their feedback receives a direct response.
- Loyalty program members expect discounts and rewards.
- Over half of restaurant diners expect payment flexibility.
Below, we'll dig into each of these five key findings and serve up some tips to help you optimize your customer experience.
Order By Phone App
For years, we've been able to get a pizza delivered to our door by making a phone call or visiting a website. Now, hungry restaurant-goers are looking to apps on their mobile devices for speed and convenience. They also want the satisfaction of seeing loyalty points rack up each time they log in.
When you reorder the same flavor of pizza, layers of ingredients on a cold sub sandwich or mix-ins for your morning coffee, it makes sense to have a streamlined ordering option to enhance the user experience. To keep your brand top of mind, use the same "speedy ordering" app icon and wording on digital receipts and carry-out food containers to visually connect the entire digital purchasing experience.
Customize Each Order
Another way to wow customers into choosing your QSR over the competition is a simple, customizable ordering feature. We're used to saying "hold the pickles," but now we want even greater flexibility. Offer a digital touch screen at mobile ordering locations (in-store and on devices) that allows removal or addition of ingredients to each menu item. Include a special notes section for additional requests, such as attaching names to individual items in large group orders to truly personalize the experience.
Every screen should closely mirror the tone and style a customer would experience with your website or television commercials. The use of logos, brand mascots and industry terminology keep the user mentally engaged with your brand as they make their selections.
Respond to Feedback
Use technology to track the buyer's journey on the mobile order interface. Are customers using the back button often? Is the help menu search box populating with the same terms over and over again? Are people walking away from their orders at a specific point in the transaction?
To improve the diner's experience, offer a simple one question survey immediately after accepting a payment. Ask, "Was your ordering experience enjoyable?" and offer Yes/No buttons. If No is selected, trigger a follow-up customer satisfaction survey via email. If Yes, send a follow-up thank you message once for every 10 positive transactions and kindly ask what the brand did to earn the favorable response. Learn from and reply to both the positive and negative feedback.
Launch a Loyalty Program
Freebies, rewards and points all elicit winning feelings from customers. Amplify this happiness by offering a program that creates discounts and complimentary menu items when a customer reaches specific milestones. These could directly relate to amount spent, number of orders placed or type of food purchased.
To keep your brand top of mind, schedule pop-up notifications featuring your business logo or a photo of the loyalty reward item each time it's earned. This is sure to trigger unexpected restaurant visits (with chances to upsell), because who can pass up a free afternoon snack, smoothie or coffee?
Offer Several Payment Options
Finally, customers want flexibility when it comes to parting with their money. In addition to selecting cash payment at pick-up, offer the option to keep a credit or debit card on file or to make a digital withdrawal from a mobile payment service like PayPal or Venmo.
Further customize the payment experience by offering split checks (again, for those popular group orders), and build brand awareness by integrating your business logo on the payment transaction screens, especially if they are hosted by a third party.
As you finesse your quick-service restaurant's marketing strategy, optimize it with digital enhancements and personalized outreach. This will help build trust and recognition among your target shoppers, which is a win-win for business owners and customers. If you need assistance with your QSR's digital revamp, reach out to a marketing professional who can help you create a unique strategy.