Data capture is any process for adapting information into a form that can be controlled by a computer. Businesses, including restaurants, are now shifting away from manual data entry to computerized data capture. Manual data entry is labor intensive, time-consuming, expensive and slow. The ideal choice is automation, since it is accurate, fast, and economical.
If patrons sense that giving out their information will cause them to be flooded with unsolicited calls and emails, or that it will be time consuming, they will be reluctant to do so. It is essential to implement a patron data capture policy in spite of this initial struggle with gathering information, as it provides knowledge, which can help to radically improve the future of your business.
There are several great things you can do with your patrons’ information once you have it. But first you must capture it. There are numerous ways to do this. An online ordering system such as Effortless Order makes it very easy. If you’re already using such a system, take the time to make sure you’re really exploiting all it has to offer.
Below are some of the reasons why it’s important to capture customer information:
It Enhances Your Relationship with your Customers
Use patrons’ data to get a deeper understanding of who they are. The amount of website visitors who provide their information is always affected by the usability of a website. Online ordering systems can be the solution to this. Effortless Order, which integrates with your own website, has a standard lead capture page that customers find easy to navigate. The system also comes with an app, which captures patrons’ information as it is downloaded.
It’s important to consider what info you need from individuals now and what you may want in the future. Assign one person within your business to be responsible for the maintenance of your patron database (if possible). The chief objective of a patron database is to grow your business. Your database will be more effective if you include as many details as possible about your patrons and their ordering habits.
The payoff of a good customer data collection system is well worth the time and commitment. You can increase your per-visit business income, exponentially expand the response rates on your advertising campaigns, deliver valuable info to all of your patrons, and detect and improve your relationship with your best clients.
A good data capture system puts the statistics right in front of you. It also helps you gather customer feedback, which is critical if you want to improve your business. A good data capture strategy will help you isolate clients who currently yield high profitability or have the potential to do so.
Wireless smartphones and tablets are the devices marketers are focusing on these days. This is a rapidly evolving market, and unlike a television set or a newspaper, your customers are carrying their devices wherever they go. Now they can see your marketing messages virtually anywhere, reminding them to order food so they won’t have to skip their next meal.
Email addresses are a high-value data point, which many restaurants neglect to capture. If you’re not getting the email address, how can you re-market to the customer? It’s possible if your restaurant uses an ordering app. Once the customer downloads your app, you can market your goodies and specials using that medium.
You can still go for the email address by offering your patrons a free newsletter. The vast majority of newsletters nowadays are delivered electronically, which requires an email address. It’s relatively easy to entice customers to sign up for your newsletter. Just find a means of showing them teaser content that you know they would enjoy reading.
Repeat business is the mainstay of selling. Apart from providing revenue, it also provides certainty for the business. It’s also important for your restaurant business to develop customer satisfaction and loyalty, without which you could start losing customers. Loyal customers will become advocates for your restaurant, providing you with free word-of-mouth advertising: all you need to do is treat them well.
It Improves Your Customer Experience
The Effortless Order online ordering system requires first-time users to register. This involves filling in forms about the customer’s details, which can be stored on into a database. This is an overt method of capturing customers’ information, and it captures everything, enabling the restaurant to tailor offers and specials just for them.
A good experience can lead to repeat purchases and new customers. Taking patron data correctly will always have a positive impact on the happiness of your consumer. It also means shorter handling times for future orders, since data such as addresses and phone numbers will already be in the system. Ensure that the data is taken correctly, as incorrect details can lead to expensive mistakes, for example the cost of having an order redelivered.
You only need to capture data that is relevant and relative to your business and sales objectives. You also need to make this data capture important to your patrons. You can’t just start asking for volumes of info unless it appears important to them as well. The principle is to only capture information that you can actually USE to generate an advertising campaign or decide about the “next step” within a marketing sequence.
Sometimes it takes something as ingenuous as an offer to encourage patrons to reveal their data. Contests are also a very effective format for pulling in new customer data. Incentives need not be expensive: you can offer vouchers or discounts. Not only will these encourage customers to give you their information, but it will also inspire them to try different dishes that you’re offering.
Many businesses use a four-step approach to capturing customer data:
Identify who the customers are
Collect customer needs
Analyze the collected needs, with a view to making your business more relevant for the customer
Translate the analyzed needs, and turn them into meaningful data.
Some of the data you will need are: customers’ names and their status, i.e. whether they are new or returning customers. Customer details should also include email addresses and phone numbers. Birthday and anniversary dates are also important, because they will allow you to offer discounts and/or specials to encourage patrons to celebrate these milestones at your restaurant.
Profile information such as gender, age, income, profession and hobbies can be harder to obtain, but can prove valuable for more advanced marketing strategy. It can help you build a clearer picture of exactly who your target customer is. It also allows you to better focus your marketing and advertising efforts. The better and more comprehensive image you have of your target consumer, the more you can tailor and develop menus to please them.
The sign-up process is a unique opportunity for securing customer data, but you need to be careful as you can risk scaring customers away if you ask for extensive data. Keep in mind that customer preferences change over time, so you need to find ways to keep your data current. Again a downloadable app seems to be the right choice, where you can gauge customer preferences by paying attention to what they are ordering.
It’s easy to see why it’s important to capture your customers’ information. The Effortless Order system makes it easy to do this, so you can market to the same customers again and again. We also make it easy for your existing customers to share their experience on Facebook.