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The voice of the consumer is louder and more far-reaching than ever thanks to the proliferation of the Internet and social media. For fast casual operators, customer satisfaction is key. With so many choices, a happy customer can mean the difference between a one-time visit and a loyal brand ambassador. The June 2012 Aberdeen Group Analyst Insight, “Customer Intelligence: A Data Driven Approach to the Customer Experience” (on which Market Force collaborated) examines how retailers are leveraging customer intelligence tools to increase customer satisfaction and, in turn, profits. Here are two key takeaways from that report that restaurant operators should consider.

Listen to the Customer. In order to gather intelligence on your customers’ experiences, you must establish multiple avenues by which those customers can provide insight on their experiences at your restaurant…and listen. Feedback tools such as customer satisfaction surveys, social media and mystery shopping are popular because they’re fairly easy to implement and return valuable information that can’t be attained otherwise. Aberdeen states, “…companies that use feedback tools achieve twice the year-over-year growth in customer conversion rates than those that do not.” That is huge.

Take Action. Once you have gathered all that valuable customer feedback, figure out how to apply it to all aspects of your business – promotions, pricing, store operations, etc. Best-in-class businesses do this very well and businesses that don’t feel the negative effects to their bottom lines.

Gathering and leveraging feedback from your customers is crucial – and it’s much more effective when you provide them with multiple ways to provide their feedback. The easier it is for them to offer that input, the more insight you will collect, and the more opportunity you’ll have to make changes that impact your customers’ experiences in a positive way. And who doesn’t want that?

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Janet Eden-Harris
Janet Eden-Harris is the CMO and SVP of Strategy for Market Force Information. She joined Market Force from J.D. Power and Associates, where she was VP of its Web Intelligence unit.
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