Winning Greater Share of Stomach Through Human Connection

Winning Greater Share of Stomach Through Human Connection

PostFunnel, in partnership with Hathway, is presenting you with this insight on five ways QSRs are combining tech and creativity. Hathway is a digital growth agency helping brands drive measurable business impact through data-driven strategies, disruptive digital experiences and modern marketing practices. Born mobile and rooted in software design, Hathway thrives at the intersection of data, human behavior and technology.

Heading to the mall (or strip mall) for a new outfit or to select a gift for a loved one can be a pleasant experience. Generally it’s not quite about the experience, but the joy of finding just the right items at a price you feel is worthwhile. So it’s probably no surprise that these days, shopping from the comfort of your own home is nearly as satisfying, and in some cases better, than the in-store experience.

That’s not always the case for restaurant dining. When you dine out, you not only enjoy delicious food, but also the richness of the decor, friendliness of the staff, cleanliness of the environment and even the music playing. All of these things create an experience that’s both inherently physical and innately emotional. Ordering for take out or delivery, however, hardly compares.

That’s why the challenge for businesses in the food industry this past year has been extraordinarily complex. Though you may be able to deliver food that travels well and tastes great, how do you replicate the emotional experience and connection?

The following QSR brands are leading the way to deliver the emotional experience and connect digitally which has separated themselves from the competition.

Personalized Contactless Delivery

The challenge here is creating an emotional connection between your brand and customers without physical interaction. Making a contactless exchange feel personal and human is a great step in program personalization.

Chick-fil-A recently mastered this by combining personalization with delivery. A photo and name of the guest’s local operator fronts the personal email letter communication that a Chick-fil-A delivery will be handled by one of their own team members.

Celebration of Tenure

What makes customers loyal? According to a study done by Motista, customers with an emotional connection to a brand have a 306% higher lifetime value. The key is not in sales and discounts but in customer satisfaction and long term engagement. Brands “playing the long game” will see greater customer loyalty and engagement with guests.

While some restaurants send out monthly activity statements, Peet’s Coffee sends out an annual “Year in Review” email to drive engagement with their customers. Their Peetnik Rewards members are able to see the number of drinks they’ve ordered, length of time in the program, their favorite store location, and even their most commonly ordered drink over the past year.

Recognition of Loyalty

Feeling appreciated not only strengthens the bond between people, it can also strengthen the bond between customers and their beloved brands. According to data collected by the U.S. Small Business Administration, 68% of customers will leave a  business if they feel the business doesn’t care for them. A simple message of thanks costs nothing and can pay off in spades.

Dairy Queen shows loyal fans they care with an end-of-year message of thanks and a look forward to the relationship in the coming year.

Connect with Family & Friends

Nothing builds a stronger connection than being able to interact with loved ones. It started with social platforms like Facebook and Instagram but the ability to connect and share with family and friends is also playing out in loyalty and CRM strategies.

Chick-fil-A did an amazing job this past holiday season with their Spark of Hope campaign, launching with a short, animated video of hope and encouragement. They followed the video message with a personalized note to share the Spark of Hope.

Taco Bell took giving to a new level last year with the Taco Gifter, wherein members can send a taco to their loved ones. Customers select a gif, enter the recipient’s name, add a personal message, checkout and then send the unique URL to their friend to alert them of their gift.

Highlight Corporate Social Responsibility Efforts

CSR is a growing area of focus for brands and is top-of-mind for many consumers. Studies have shown that CSR is an effective marketing strategy to earn customer loyalty. Today’s consumer has so many variables influencing where they will make their next purchase, that’s why it’s more important than ever to use a loyalty program to make the emotional connection that is vital to earning long term loyalty. We predict brands that align with social causes and/or charitable organizations will grow their loyalty, increase acquisition and retention and improve the general perception of their brand by highlighting corporate citizenship.

Chipotle recently launched a sustainability campaign focused on locally sourced ingredients and reducing energy costs.

Summary

Tech, the four letter word which we once thought would de-personalize us, in the past year, has worked to bring us together more than we could ever have imagined. In a year that turned so many aspects of our lives upside down, technology capabilities became the primary — if not the only — thing that’s allowed us to stay together.

Tech, in the hands of creative and caring marketers can work to foster meaningful relationships and customer connections. The more companies bring to life the digital-human connection, the more fondly customers will continue to gravitate to these means post-pandemic and beyond.

I don’t know about you, but I see myself buying more time to leisurely stroll my favorite stores or have fun with loved ones because I know my pre-ordered meal will be waiting, steaming hot, for me when I arrive.

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