Collecting Customer Data – the Hospitable Way

4 min read
Dec 13, 2021 10:45:22 PM

We’re talking about everyone’s favorite topic: customer data.


More data, more personalization, more money – right? Customer data is essential to the modern economy, and as digital technologies become an increasingly vital part of everyday life, the companies that create them gather massive amounts of personal data that they use to create better products and more personalized experiences. The practice is so prevalent that we now accept it as the norm. We all know that most of the apps and websites we use collect and leverage our personal data to some degree, but we trust that those companies won’t abuse our information.

Thanks to a number of major data breaches in the last few years, consumers have a heightened awareness of how their data is being used. Research shows that 73 percent of consumers said they are more concerned about their data privacy now than they were a few years ago. Another cold hard fact – 64 percent said they feel their data is less secure today than it was a few years ago. 

Due to this increased scrutiny over data, it’s more important than ever for brands to be fully transparent in how they gather customer information. In a world filled with digital technology, your customers’ data is a valuable asset that can give your business a competitive edge, so you need to make sure you collect it responsibly. In this article, we’ll explore why customer data sharing is so important, and how you can incorporate more data transparency into your business model.

The Benefits of Customer Data-Sharing

Customer data collection should not be a one-way transaction –> where a business gathers information purely for profit. The goal should not be solely to achieve higher sales on a customer’s next visit to your restaurant. Instead, you need to build a relationship with your guest in order to understand their preferences and expectations so that you can build a lasting, impactful connection. In short, you have to put the human element in every transaction and customer touchpoint.

Anytime you ask your guest for a favor – let’s say, like sharing critical details of their experience with your brand – you should always be transparent about how that information will be used. In fact, an Edelman survey shows that 81 percent of customers say they will only buy from brands they trust. Therefore, your brand needs to give guests new ownership over their data and clearly show them how data sharing creates value for both parties.

At the end of the day, the customer data you capture will be used to build personalized experiences for your guests that will make interacting with your brand so much easier.

How to Incorporate Data Transparency into Your Strategy

As a consumer dining out, you want to:

  • Get to your destination quickly
  • Have your expectations met
  • Be delighted
  • Learn how to rinse and repeat

And for the consumer, sharing data will help them actually reach their goals. But it’s up to you to capture it and deliver on your brand promise. Let’s begin.

Be Specific with Your Guests

These days, consumers want to know exactly how their data is being used. If your restaurant or hospitality business solicits feedback from a guest, be specific with them about what that entails. Here’s a hint: your guests don’t want to be inundated with marketing emails. When collecting their information, tie a direct line from what you’re asking for to what they’ll get in return — “periodic notifications about deals and promotions” won’t cut it, sorry!

Give Control Back to Your Guests

The best way to entice customers and create return guests is to give them control over how their data is used. If you’re asking a guest to provide feedback on their experience with your brand, you need to clearly communicate that said guest can have their information removed from your database at any time. Nobody likes to opt-out of communications from a brand only to have those communications continue showing up in their inbox.

Get Consent from Your Guests

As data privacy becomes more regulated, brands must be careful about how they ask for guest data. Now more than ever, it’s important to get consent from your guests over how their data is used, and empower them with rights over how they want to control it. Imagine if you were able to get 10% more control over what happens with your business…

In Europe, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) provides very specific guidelines around what consent means: “freely given, specific, informed and unambiguous.” While the United States does not yet have a federal consumer data privacy regulation, it is still important (and beneficial) for brands to give guests the ability to select what they sign up for, with the option to opt-out whenever they want. This is an ongoing relationship between business and consumer, so show your guests that they are part of the process. They are, in fact, who you built your entire business model for.

With a comprehensive, transparent data sharing process you can gain a whole new level of visibility into the factors that matter most to your guests, and provide quality experiences through every micro-moment of the customer journey.

The Secret is in the ‘Why’ Behind Your Sales

Having the ability to quickly identify how team development, menu improvements, and concept-testing impacts your sales will keep you focused on doing the right work in every store, every shift; for every server, every dish. And it all starts with asking the right questions: how happy are my guests, and why?

Visit Smart Actions to learn what matters most to your customers, and what actions you and your team can make to take control of the bad and do more of the good.

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