It’s never been more important than now for Quick-Serve Restaurant (QSR) brands to deliver a consistently great customer experience, whether that’s online or in the restaurant itself. It’s an objective their marketers virtually never stop thinking about. With so much competition and so many recognizable brands, the restaurants that get the customer experience right are going to ultimately come out on top when it comes to revenue.
Cross-channel messaging can play a significant role in ensuring customers continue to come back to your restaurants over and over again when meal time comes around. Here are some tactics that we’ve seen can be very effective at keeping your brand front of mind while making people happy to be your customers.
Time push prompts smartly
Recently, a MessageGears colleague got a mobile push notification from a major QSR brand’s app, reminding him to get his lunch order in for the day. The problem? He received it at 4:49 p.m. There aren’t many people who put in their lunch order at almost 5.
It’s important to time these sorts of prompts smartly so that a) it’s actually likely to elicit the behavior you’re looking for; and b) customers feel like you know what you’re doing. Customers have high expectations for large brands, and it’s damaging to the experience when you fail the test. When they see other brands hitting them with lunch prompts at 11 a.m. and reminders for making dinner plans around 5 or 6, they know it’s possible to do it right.
This can also be where Send-Time Designation comes into play, a feature that allows you to have a campaign send at the same time regardless of the customer’s time zone, based upon the data you have for them. For getting the timing right, partnering with a customer engagement platform that allows you to do this is crucial.
Send offers based upon loyalty status
Most major QSRs have gotten on the loyalty program bandwagon by now, recognizing the value that comes from incentivizing customers to continue coming back to earn points and eventual rewards. And, certainly, featuring those reward levels in messages and teasing customers with the next reward they can earn can be a great way of bringing them back.
But consider running occasional campaigns that surprise customers above a certain loyalty level with a free item “just because.” This should be a simple campaign to run every quarter or so with the data you have on hand, and it’s a great way to connect with your customers by giving them what they ultimately want: your food. And any time you can give them a reason to put another order in, it’s worth trying.
Give paths to loyalty beyond the app
There’s no question that getting customers to download your mobile app is a great goal. Not only does it embed your brand in their ever-present phone and give you the potential to send them mobile push notifications, but it allows them to order directly from you, saving you those third-party ordering fees.
But consider that not every good customer will download your app — they may not be very tech-savvy, be low on hard drive space, or just not particularly want to. And that doesn’t mean their dollars are any less valuable to you. This is where lower-friction channels like SMS and mobile wallet come into play. You can give customers a way to provide their phone number at checkout and earn rewards that way; meanwhile, you can still reach out to them and deliver rewards while keeping engagement levels high.
Tailor offers based upon the data you have
We know major QSR chains have an enormous amount of data at their fingertips, and that gives you a lot of options for how to engage with your customers. With a little internal research, that data can tell you a lot about customer behavior. If a customer regularly orders burgers, are they likely to respond to an offer for a shake? If they love your pizza, what might happen if you offered them a discounted order of cheese sticks?
It’s important to know the answers to these sorts of questions to make quality predictions of behavior, which can inform the types of offers you send out via email or mobile channels. And — most importantly — who you send them to. Put all your data to use by tailoring campaigns toward the customers most likely to respond positively to them. Not only will you get better results from the campaigns you run, but your customers will be glad to receive more relevant offers as you do.
There are so many ways for QSRs to use cross-channel marketing campaigns to deliver great experiences that inspire long-term customer loyalty. You have the data to get more personalized than ever before, so be sure to put it to great use, and we expect you’ll see the benefits for years to come.