How technology can be used to capture customer data - PKF Francis Clark
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How technology can be used to capture customer data

In a previous article, we highlighted how key employees are. They are also your eyes and ears when dealing with your customers; often they are the window into your business from a customer’s perspective.

With technology and social media, there is an additional wealth of knowledge that can be used to grow your business. Understanding your customers and their behaviour alongside analysing and monetarising the data you hold can help you increase your turnover. However, be aware of potential issues with UK GDPR.

One of the most frequent questions asked is in relation to end to end Restaurant Management Systems and whether such systems exist. There are several EPOS systems with add-ons or multiple systems which may or may not communicate with each other. There are some new systems which are working with other professional system providers to deliver an integrated system that fully communicates and provides essential information. My research does favour multiple systems that integrate, rather than one system, which if it goes down means you are not able to perform any of the restaurant functions.

With the right system in place, you can take your business to a whole new level. This data capture from electronic systems alongside the right staff together provides for a targeted marketing campaign and gives your customer a more tailored experience. You will identify who your most important customers are and those who provide the most valuable return. Often 80% of sales comes from 20% of customers.

The data you can capture from wi-fi log in and pay at table with loyalty systems can give you a wealth of captured information, which can be tailored to target your audience. If you know that a customer always eats non-dairy, staff can engage with the customer on this basis and add to the experience. Data gathered from Proof of Presence is often more valuable than that obtained from Vanity marketing across social media. Many systems are intuitive on what they capture and will share this with your staff as they focus on providing hospitality with lasting memories.

In time you may even have a system that will use face recognition to capture whether your customers leave with a smile on their face or a frown, and follow up contact from knowing this might be vital as to whether they return.

Technology across the food and drink sector is believed to be 25 years behind retail, but now is the time to catch up. Many of the Millennials who were the experience seekers are now approaching, or in, their 40s and Gen Z, the Netflix generation, are part of the future for the sector. Netflix quietly captures every behaviour of those who watch; they know when and what you watch; when you start and stop watching and how long it takes you to view a program or series. This helps them understand your behaviour and what to send through to you. Importantly, they know when you might be at risk of leaving and will take steps to stop this. All of this is very much personalisation, often without you being aware.

Supermarkets are equally good in capturing information and using it. Since the introduction of self-scanning around the store they can monitor not only your buying patterns, but your route around the store, your ‘dwell time’ at various shelves and then map out your aspirations and dreams.

Technology allows you to know your customers and your employees can add to their experience, creating both a virtual and physical acquisition strategy. Many strategists talk about marginal gains to improve your business and to get a significant overall improvement. As we look for those marginal gains, maybe they are right there with your employees and the way you use the data that has been captured on your customers. Together they will add to the overall experience, bringing your customers back again and again and increasing their spend.

If you have any queries on the contents of this article, please do not hesitate to get in touch.

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It’s all about employees – retain your staff and know your customers

FEATURING: Steve Ashworth
Before joining the Bristol office of PKF Francis Clark in July 2019, Steve started his career at HMRC over 30 years ago and then spent… read more
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