Restaurants are greatly feeling the toll the coronavirus situation has taken on the world economy, with stay at home orders in place in most countries around the world it has been difficult for business owners to maintain customer relations.
Even during normal times this task can be difficult, especially as businesses begin to grow and gain more customers and expand their reach. Not only simply keeping customer relations intact, but constantly improving them as well, is essential to any business worth its salt. Without customers there would be no business.
Thanks to technology innovations over the past years software has been developed to help companies in regard to the their customer relations, specifically customer relationship management software (CRM).
Restaurants and caterers could benefit from the services provided by this kind of software by increasing their sales, bringing in new customers, and keeping the old ones coming back. Here are 11 of the best practices and top products available to these industries.
Maintaining best practices when choosing and implementing a CRM will help your business make the most out of the software and ensure its success since the technology behind the software can only do so much.
Be clear on your business requirements- to get the most satisfaction out of your CRM experience you will need to be clear on what you expect from the software. Are you more focused on bringing in new guests through marketing or do you want to better serve your current guests through analysis of their data? While some CRMs offer solutions to both these issues, posing questions like these can help guide you during the process of choosing the best one for your restaurant or catering business.
Have a CRM support and maintenance partner– To ensure the successful deployment of a CRM software it is a good practice to have a support and maintenance partner to help your company out. They will aid not only in the initial set up of the software, but also in the long term usage of it. For example helping to adapt it to the changing circumstances you may find your restaurant or catering service in, such as when the 2020 health crisis occurred many restaurants had to quickly pivot to mainly delivery and pickup orders and needed support that could have been provided by the right CRM solution.
Use it to start or help your existing loyalty program- Many restaurants have a loyalty program to encourage customer retention, often for smaller businesses these rely on stamps or other paper ways of tracking the customers. With larger companies they tend to already use a software to track the customers loyalty.
Whichever your situation may be, a CRM can help change it for the better as if you do not use software currently a CRM will help streamline your loyalty program and if you do currently use a loyalty software, a CRM software can provide an alternative with its many other benefits that come along with its usage that may not be possible with your current software. These include allowing new customers to sign up upon new purchases, recording and managing customer points with every purchase they make, and integrating this information with the rest of your sales and customer data for a better view of the inner workings of your business.
Integrate your current technologies with the new CRM- Most businesses already have some sort of technologies helping them in their daily tasks such as payment gateways, to make the best of your CRM you should integrate it with those existing technologies to allow it access to the most data about your business. This will allow the CRM to provide you with the most in depth analysis of your business and what the best actions to take in regards to customer relations are.
Listed are some of the top CRM products available today. This list is not exhaustive and there are many more CRM software’s available on the market, this is a situation where a CRM partner can help you in picking the best one. While searching for a CRM, make sure to choose one with all the previously mentioned best practices in mind for the most informed decision.
Microsoft Dynamics 365
An industry leader with many customizable features that allow it to be specific to your restaurant or catering businesses changing needs. Dynamics 365 provides lots of support through online forums and social media. It has the option of being a cloud-based platform if a company desires, or if not it can remain local. Through this and other features it provides users with flexibility and creativity when implementing its solutions into their businesses. Something which can be of use in the restaurant or catering industries which deal with rapidly changing situations on the regular. It can also aid in event planning and management, something of great importance in many situations when dealing with large complex events or simply trying to manage many events.
Another big player in the CRM world, Salesforce is a cloud-based solution aimed at helping your business balance back end and front end data to result in solutions best fitted for you. This CRM also provides lots of support through comparable means to those of Dynamics 365.
While Toast is a smaller CRM, it is targeted to restaurants needs specifically. It provides the typical solutions of sales automation and customer data analysis of any good CRM, but from the point of view of what is most beneficial to restaurants specifically.