Understanding Your Customers Starts with Good Data

Jul 4, 2023

At Brightloom we specialize in helping take restaurants from one-size-fits-all marketing to leveraging data to truly understand and engage with customers to drive growth.

Personalizing your marketing might sound out of reach at first, especially for a small business, but the key is good data. For restaurant businesses, it starts with having healthy transactional data from your customers – being able to tie customers across all the transactions they generate with your restaurant, having comprehensive (and correct!) information about each transaction, and having every customer and every transaction represented in your data.

Once you have a handle on transactional data you can augment your understanding of customers with other data sources – marketing, geolocation, demographics, etc. Your transactional data is a treasure trove of information to understand your customer – her preferences, habits, and pet peeves – so that you can engage with her in the way that is most impactful.

“Your transactional data is a treasure trove of information to understand your customer.”

We’ve found that despite the huge shift towards digital ordering over the past few years, at the point when restaurants consider themselves ready to start leveraging their customer data for analytics, many find that it is not as usable as they imagined.

There are many reasons for this. For example, restaurants that use Toast as their point of sale (POS) system may not actually have access to any of their historical data unless they turn on a specific feature to start capturing it. The earlier they turn this feature on – the more data they will have to work with. A restaurant recently came to Brightloom wanting to analyze their customer data and realized that they had no historical record of their customers’ transactions. Don’t wait until you’re “ready” for ML  to start collecting your customer data!

Having good data health is a no-brainer in concept. But what does it mean for your customer data to be healthy, and what can you do about it? The most common issues we see hindering customer data health for our brands are:

  1. Not collecting enough data.
  2. Not being able to contact your most loyal customers.
  3. Having duplicate customer profiles.

Not collecting enough data.

Your POS doesn’t always automatically tie a transaction back to a customer – it’s up to the restaurant to get more identifiable information to help bridge the gap. You can do this by turning on additional features in your POS settings to collect data in person. Other options are to add a loyalty program at checkout to capture an email, phone number, or login, sign customers up to a mailing list with sign-up pages or forms, or simply not let cash or contactless payers skip self-identifying.

Not being able to contact your most loyal customers. 

On average, we find that the top 5% of customers drive over 30% of revenue! If your data is incomplete, then you may be missing out on marketing to your very best and most loyal customers. Driving engagement for this set of customers can be hugely impactful — and losing them is disastrous.

To see if this is an issue for your restaurant, you’ll want to do a quick analysis of your customer directory, filter by number of visits and total spent to view your most loyal and valuable customers (stay tuned for an upcoming post blog post on how to do this easily). See if you have emails or phone numbers for most of these customers. If you don’t, identify opportunities to start collecting contact information for your most loyal customers.

“The top 5% of customers drive over 30% of revenue.”

Having duplicate customer profiles. 

Having duplicate customer profiles may cause you to think you have more customers than you actually do. Many POS’s will create duplicate profiles if they don’t have enough identifiable information on a customer which can skew your data, making personalization less relevant and measuring your business inaccurate. If you suspect this may be an issue, you can use a service to merge duplicate records to get a more accurate understanding of your customer base.

The path to marketing personalization starts with good data. Reach out to us to learn more about how we can help you get a handle on your customer data so you can truly understand and engage with customers to drive growth. Ready for a free data health audit? Sign up here.

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