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The cost-effective approach to F&B customer engagement management

Seize Digital
Author: Sean Keith

Across Canada, two of the biggest challenges we often hear from food and beverage operators are centered around attracting new customers and influencing current customers to come back for “one more visit.”

To solve for this, operators engage with their customers using a variety of tools and channels: loyalty programs, email marketing, social media, gift cards, coupons, advertising, recommendation sites and native mobile apps.

All of these tools have their own virtues and can be effective in terms of engaging customers and potential customers. But if an F&B operator is using multiple vendors to provide those tools, costs can get out of control quickly. And in an industry with notoriously slim profit margins, this is a less-than-ideal scenario. The good news is, there is a more cost-effective and efficient way for F&B operators to engage with their customers.

The consolidated cost model

Put simply, the consolidated cost model combines several customer-facing digital and mobile channels into a single platform, allowing F&B operators to partner with one vendor and thereby streamline the process of engaging with customers. With one vendor to provide and manage all of these services, the burden on F&B operators is significantly lessened.

The consolidated cost model is not solely about reducing the number of vendors an operator needs to achieve the right level of customer engagement – though that certainly is a key aspect. By taking this approach, additional compound efficiencies are revealed, including:

• Streamlined offers: By creating a single offering across channels, operators can reduce internal marketing labor and time spent
• Consolidated hosting fees: A single platform eliminates the need for separate hosting of a website, app and email server
• Centralized performance analysis and tracking: With a single platform, operators can easily analyze and assess the effectiveness of marketing campaigns, even those serving the same customer via different channels

Single customer view

But perhaps the greatest advantage of a single-platform consolidated cost model is more insights into customer behavior. Lack of a “single customer view” – or a holistic portrait of customer activity across all touchpoints – is one of the most persistent challenges facing F&B operators in terms of customer engagement. A single customer view allows F&B operators to personalize and tailor offers and communications, deploy promotions to the right customer at the right time, avoid clashing or competing offers, and better understand what motivates their customer base. This benefit is invaluable.

Operational vs. accessible single customer view

There is an important distinction to be drawn between business that are able to gather or see the information that makes up this single customer view, and businesses set up to action the information this view enables in real time. The capability to quickly pull-up rich information about customers is useful in applications from front-of-house engagement and clientelling through to supporting ad hoc marketing efforts. The important difference is that an operationalized single customer view allows the F&B operator to define specific actions that can be executed based on the contents of this view, across systems, to enable a relevant, engaging and seamless experience for customers. 

With an operationalized single customer view facilitated by a consolidated cost model approach to customer engagement, F&B operators can avoid putting time and money in the wrong marketing activities. For instance, using part of their advertising budget into traditional flyer promotions when customer data shows email and social-channel offers have a higher conversion rate. These emails can be created at no additional cost to the business, while also driving better revenue opportunities. Now, F&B operators can become more efficient in their marketing efforts overall, supercharging their ability to “test-and-learn”, ultimately selecting those tactics and channels validated by customer data.

Your path to consolidation

Getting the consolidated cost model right requires a technology partner that has the capabilities to implement it effectively, and the Eagle Eye AIR platform has helped food and beverage operators (as well as retailers, grocers, and other consumer-facing businesses) reduce their costs and boost revenue through efficient customer engagement for more than a decade. Our AIR platform helps F&B operators establish real-time connections with customers, deploy contextual offers and promotions, manage loyalty programs, and most importantly, consolidate all customer data to create a single customer view.

To learn how the Eagle Eye AIR platform can solve your F&B operation’s unique challenges, contact us today.