Sponsored by Coates Group
The customer experience as we know it has changed forever.
COVID-19 forced us to change the way we live our lives – from the way we interact with one another, to the way we shop, and of course, the way we eat. This impact has had a profound effect on the way customers interact with brands in a post-COVID world – shifting focus away from traditional restaurant and retail formats as the adoption of contactless, off-premises and delivery options have driven the need for brands to evolve the way they engage and drive value to their customers in the future.
As we begin to return to reality in a post-COVID world, some effects of the pandemic – like the acceleration of digital transformation, both on and off premises – are here to stay. As restaurants navigate what this means for their future strategy, it’s important they first understand their customers and what they (‘we’ really, because we’re all consumers) will expect.
Tomorrow’s consumers will expect interactions to be seamlessly tailored to their needs, powered by unlimited information and available on-demand, anytime and anywhere. How consumers will expect to interact with brands is influenced by the way they expect their smartphones to understand where, when and what they want to see in today’s digitally-enabled world.
Increased digital dexterity and heightened expectations around personalization have highlighted the urgent need for brands to onboard convenient, frictionless, and integrated omnichannel experiences - alleviating concerns around safety while driving engagement through these digital interactions to and from your brand.
Let’s dissect 3 key areas in which brands must evolve the ways they are operating in order to meet the fast-moving evolution of customer expectation:
First and foremost, customers now expect their digital interactions to be effortlessly convenient. Relevant information should be instantly accessible and tailored to our needs, wants and preferences in real-time, whether that be our calendars keeping track of where, when and what we’re doing; relevant information pushed to us in real-time, such as weather at an upcoming destination; or providing traffic conditions to help us arrive to that destination on time.
From a brand perspective, convenience is the most cited reason that customers choose to visit a restaurant – and the ways brands evolve to accommodate this appetite for convenience will extend to both on and off-premises experiences.
Coming off a year where frictionless and contactless interactions were mandated rather than encouraged, it’s only natural that the desire for these effortless experiences will continue to drive the expectations of your customers, using devices as a portal to blend physical and digital worlds.
We can watch our packages move in real-time; we are delivered personalized content based on our preferences and order history to help eliminate purchasing barriers; and information is given to us by voice assistance in real time without having to lift a finger. We’ve become accustomed to an experience that translates across all mediums, allowing information to be handed over between virtual and physical in real-time, with no effort required to facilitate the experience or procure information.
Finally, we expect experiences that are seamlessly integrated and connected – with our past and present behavior, with personalized loyalty or rewards programs and with bank accounts, credit cards and other payment methods.
Consumers desire an organic, intuitive journey that is unique to them – one that drives effortlessness and creates experiences that will ultimately forge deeper connections between them and their favorite brands.
The way in which our devices foster convenient, frictionless, and integrated experiences is now reflected in the way consumers will want to engage with brands in the future – restaurants included.
Understanding these expectations will help create the foundation upon which brands can build a strong, dynamic and results-driven customer experience of tomorrow. Restaurants of varying sizes, with varying offerings, goals and demographics will ultimately need to create unique customer journeys based on their brand vision, so the omnichannel solution isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach.
This digital strategy and the technology that enables that digital strategy must be tailored and refined to suit your customers – not all customers. One restaurant might discover the need to redefine their restaurant space – perhaps to better onboard a more tech-enhanced restaurant design; another might prioritize an overhaul of operations to accommodate a shift in their customers’ dining preferences; while another restaurant might lead with data-driven initiatives like AI or machine learning to identify customers or automate back-of-house operations.
The possibilities and potential are endless. Having the right partner can help brands determine the most impactful technology strategy to meet their evolving customer expectations. Coates Group has developed industry-leading expertise working with some of the world’s most notable brands to create dynamic and immersive experiences powered by innovative digital hardware, an intuitive content management system and more. To learn more, visit CoatesGroup.com.