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Executive Insight Q&A: Online Ordering Can Unlock a Personalized Customer Experience

Charles Gray from Paytronix
Charles Gray, Chief Revenue Officer, Paytronix Systems, Inc.

What are some critical considerations for restaurants seeking an easy-to-use interface for ordering?

Customer experience is everything, which means when it comes to digital ordering, ease-of-use is just one issue. Mobile interfaces also must be inviting and personalized so that people have the same guest experience online as they do on-site. Guests must quickly find their favorite items and then be able to order with a simple click. They need photos that make food look delicious, descriptions that help make decisions simple, and options that allow them to customize easily. Then they need to be able to checkout quickly and get an accurate prediction as to when their food will be ready. In short, the same attention a restaurant pays to the on-premises experience must be paid to the off-premises version.

Restaurants today are fully in the ecommerce space, and the same issues that face ecommerce companies, like navigation, cart abandonment, and the online shopping experience, are now central to the restaurant business model.

Can you speak to the benefits of having a single provider coordinating all channels?

Every part of the tech stack needs to work together, from the time that the customer opens the app to the point at which they open the takeout container at home. Working with a single provider means that the technology just works. A customer wants to earn and redeem loyalty rewards, regardless of if they’re in the store or on a mobile app. That customer also wants to know that the items they’re ordering are in stock, and that the time they’re given for when the food will be ready is accurate.

The mobile app must also work seamlessly with the digital ordering software ensuring that the customer receives an accurate understanding of their order status, whether that’s the fact that a particular item may be out of stock, or even just an accurate understanding of when their order will be ready.

HT research with restaurant operators and customers suggests that “data is king.” What opportunities are there for collecting and analyzing data for predictive purposes and the customer relationship?

Loyalty data is the biggest differentiator here. By understanding details of people who have opted in to a loyalty program, you can create the types of engaging offers that keep them coming back. This kind of data not only tells you what they purchase, but it can also help understand what drives their engagement, when is the right time to reach them, and most importantly, their lifetime value. Understanding customer lifetime value enables marketers to create truly profitable and impactful programs that drive sales.

Can you speak to the integration of guest insights into CRM and loyalty platforms?

If your brand isn’t data-driven today, you’re already behind, and no data is more important than that of our guests. They tell what’s working and what’s not even if they never write a review. Reading and understanding this data, however, takes expertise and guidance, so having the proper guest insights team is hugely important. They can not only create promotions that will drive revenue, but they can also spot trends that could lead to new products and even entirely new extensions of the brand. The competitive environment demands this kind of understanding.

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