In March 2022, our research team surveyed leaders from some of the largest QSRs in the US to learn more about how they are incorporating technology into their businesses.
The findings of our QSR survey with NewtonX show that leaders across the industry recognize the importance of providing great digital customer experiences. Here's what we know about curating a digital experience for potential customers.
The transformation of the digital customer experience
QSRs are battling customer demands from every angle. A positive experience means good quality food at a reasonable price without having to wait – but that tall order is only getting taller as competition grows.
At the foundation of the industry, however, is customer service that keeps your customers hungry for more. What we've confirmed is that overall brand satisfaction is still heavily reliant on the quality of service.
In fact, customers are four times more likely to turn to a competitor company after receiving bad service than they would be after receiving a disappointing product or meal. The number one cause of reported “bad experiences”, according to restaurant customers, is a negative interaction with staff.
Customer trends are dramatically changing every day – and demands for faster, better, mind-reading-level service are hard to keep up with. Moving forward towards digital experiences and online tools is the solution to optimized product and food delivery, while also managing the human side of the business – because it takes the challenges of the personalized experience and puts it in the hands of powerful, data-led decision-making technology.
The critical effects of Covid-19
In the last two years, the QSR industry has seen tremendous growth due to consumers' increased demand for takeout and food delivery.
Our survey confirmed that digital solutions across all company services have been a game changer in keeping up with a shifting market. According to industry leaders, a strong web-mobile-app or online experience has been the most important digital element in the past year to stay ahead.
The pandemic has permanently altered the hospitality landscape, where a brand’s digital presence is becoming the first (and sometimes only) customer-facing storefront.
In the past six months, 80% of top QSRs in the US experienced a significant increase in digital traffic. With more and more reliance on exploring, connecting, and purchasing through smartphones, it’s no wonder that the hospitality industry is focusing more on improving the digital customer experience and less on the physical store.
Personalization across multiple digital channels
Building an emotional connection with your customers is the best way to keep their business coming your way. When guests feel that their relationship with a brand is personal, they are more likely to recommend their services to a friend – and their lifetime value increases by as much as 306%.
Strong emotional connection also increases per purchase spending, with research showing that consumers are far more likely to buy more when they feel seen and understood.
Building an emotional connection through a digital experience may seem like a hurdle. However, a digital customer experience actually lends itself far better to personalized customer attention than any in-store interaction could. Meeting expectations is more straightforward with a highly consistent experience across all physical and digital platforms.
The key to building a meaningful and lucrative relationship is to use customer data to curate a digital customer journey specific to their tastes and history. Being remembered doesn’t just feel good for customers – it streamlines their ordering process, saving them time and hassle.
Data-based personalization is the foundation of a digital customer experience that not only makes customer journeys more comfortable but leads to long-term brand retention.
Creating a digital customer experience strategy
Customers today expect to hand some of their personal information over to companies. In a data-saturated environment, it’s no longer a question of whether brands are collecting data, but rather a question of how they use that information to improve their service and digital experiences.
Using data effectively starts by mapping out the entire customer journey. It requires getting to know your guests better than they even know themselves. Seeking customer feedback is a step many brands miss. It's estimated that only 42% of companies actively seek customer feedback to improve their digital interactions.
Raw data can tell many different stories – from what time of day people crave coffee to what images are most effective on social media channels. Incorporating AI to connect and collate your data can help transform your numbers into valuable answers about how to provide a great digital customer experience.
Retention and loyalty
Just a 5% jump in customer retention can increase a retailer's profitability by 75%. Building brand loyalty and continually improving to suit the changing needs of your customer base can make all the difference when it comes to big-picture revenue.
Meeting customer expectations requires brands to make their digital customer experience as convenient and seamless as possible. The answer, according to our research, is all focused on digitizing loyalty programs and making in-person visits smoother through integrated technology.
Improving digital customer experiences starts by considering both negative feedback and positive feedback. Reassess your digital technology, and look for ways to ignite customer engagement based on what you know your audience loves. Customer loyalty is built over time, through operational excellence, consistency across multiple channels, and positive customer service interactions.
Who’s doing digital customer experience management right?
According to our survey, the brands leading the way forward by building a great digital customer experience journey include:
These are shining examples of a holistic approach to digital integration. These brands have formulated best digital practices to boost their loyalty program, created a streamlined online ordering experience through mobile apps, and incorporated technology into their physical spaces for ultimate digitization.
Customizing an outstanding digital customer experience starts with POS technology that integrates every touchpoint. To learn more about QSRs' moves to seamless experiences and integrated digital cx, read our research article – and speak to our expert team at TASK to help you curate an incredible customer experience that'll keep customers engaged with your business.