What Today’s Consumers Want: Personable, Human Experiences and a Reason to Give Loyalty

Technology can have a wonderfully effective application in the restaurant industry. In fact, we explored a few such applications in a recent post. However, before we get too excited about installing all the latest tech advances, it’s important to keep in mind that technology can also create an experience that is rather cold and impersonal for the consumer, which can actually end up inhibiting your relationship rather than building it.

People Want Personable Experiences, Not Cold Transactions

In fact, according to the Futures Company, 81% of today’s consumers say that companies are becoming too inhuman and impersonal when it comes to connecting with their customers. If you think for a moment about your standard interactions in the checkout line of any given store, you’ll see an obvious example of this in action. How often do you even make eye contact with your clerk, let alone make any personable conversation? Most of us are so busy answering the numerous questions we get from the credit or debit card machine in front of us that we barely even notice the person facilitating the exchange.

The important thing to recognize is that even though people appreciate the conveniences technology has to offer, they still want to make a human connection with the businesses they interact with.

Don’t Let Your Restaurant Fall Prey to ‘Transactional Coldness’

While the restaurant industry has some inherent guards against this phenomenon of ‘transactional coldness’ due to the fact that at least some level of personal interaction is generally required to take orders and deliver food, this effect can still creep in if you’re not on guard. Watch out for over-stressed or under-engaged staff slipping into robotic scripts, even on greetings and goodbyes.

Guests are also getting quite sensitive to being given a ‘sales pitch’ which can feel like you’re just trying to get more money out of them. Instead, upselling is best done only as a result to understanding the needs and expectations of the guest.

This need for a personal connection extends to employees as well. Staff wants to connect with supervisors on a personal level as well, and facilitating this connection drastically improves an employee’s sentiment about the business – which, in turn, facilitates the consumer experience at your establishment.

Technology and Good Old Fashioned Hospitality Should Co-Exist in the Restaurant

While technology can be useful on the levels of gathering better data about your consumers and staying connected with them when they aren’t physically in your establishment, it’s not a substitute for truly listening and learning about the people who are supporting your business. That goal can only be achieved by good old fashioned hospitality techniques such as knowing your customers by name, greeting them with eye contact, a warm handshake, and sincerely trying to make a personal connection with them.

The bottom line is that it is the quality of your interaction with your customer that makes or breaks your relationship with them. The ideal is to have a successful marriage between the conveniences of technology and the personable feeling of warm hospitality. Businesses that can make this marriage successful are then able to leverage the advantages of both worlds.

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