For restaurants and grocery businesses, the theme is always consistent—delivering a better, more personalized experience for the customer. But what does that theme actually imply for business owners?
Sure, customers want—and expect—highly customized and personalized experiences. But amid all this “mobile madness” where business operators chase a seemingly never-ending red herring of personalization systems, no one ever talks about the business owners’ desired personal experience. In short, has the world of technology vendors been so short-sighted that it somehow forgot about its own customers?
Allow me to elaborate here a bit.
Restauranteurs and grocers both deal with people, service and—of course—food. But they are very, very different businesses. Drill down deeper and you’ll see that a chain of family restaurants is very different than a chain of burger joints, which is different from a chain of upscale bistros. Different needs, different desires, and different experiences. The same goes for grocers. A large chain of grocery stores that span a country has very different needs than a chain of bodegas that span across a city. Certainly, each business sells food. But the experience each restaurant or grocery business requires is unique.
So how does a business even begin to seek out their own personalized experience—far before delivering one to their customers? It starts with the right partner.
Unfortunately, most vendors who tout personalization solutions tend to fall short. Many rely on a basic mobile app-only approach—which looks good upfront, but does little to actually address the personalization challenge. Then there are the ones that push a “marketing automation” solution that looks great on the front end, but five minutes under the proverbial hood will show you a “solution” that sends the modern equivalent to a generic email. Yikes.
These point solutions are just that—single points of a requirement that never connect or result in real value. And so, this is where the right partner comes into play.
Rather than offering a one-size-fits-all solution, any vendor worth their salt will first work to understand every aspect of their customers’ ecosystem and desired end-customer outcomes. Instead, the partner will first make sure that business intelligence is the primary key factor. Knowing how your company operates, what you need to measure, and most importantly what you wish you could measure is the first crucial step in establishing the perfect, customized ecosystem for your business.
Next comes the automation piece of the equation. This must be established in such a way that the vendor addresses your exact needs and desires, and your customers’ own end-user customers. While everyone talks a great game around personalization, few ever customize the back-end systems to exact business requirements. If this isn’t done, how could any restaurant or grocery business ever successfully deliver a personalized experience—when they’ve never had one themselves?
Lastly, there is the end-user experience. This is where the right mobile app can be configured to truly deliver the personalized experiences established in the first two phases mentioned above. But is the app configured to first meet the desired outcomes of the business? (I know that seems like an odd question to make, but don’t get me started on how many of our competitors skip every single one of these steps.)
Your customers are your most important asset. Without them, your business doesn’t exist. But if you don’t first take care of yourself, your business needs, and your own personalized experience in choosing and creating the right ecosystem, you’ll never in turn be able to deliver a seamless experience to them.
Want to know what a personalized experience can look like for you? Call me—I‘ll show you a world of personalized possibilities that you never thought possible.
Chief Customer Officer
Andrew Armstrong is the Chief Customer Officer at omNovos – working globally with customers to design world-class customer engagement programs. He’s a prolific writer and speaker on topics including customer loyalty, personalization, and retail marketing technologies. Connect with him on LinkedIn or Twitter - his open approach to all topics usually leads to a fun discussion and a few laughs.