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Customer Service as a Strategy with Chief Growth Officer Dean Thompson

Authored by: Dean Thompson (Chief Growth Officer)


Customer service is at the heart of the restaurant industry—and at the heart of HungerRush. Just like restaurant owners want customers to have a great experience and keep coming back, we practice what we preach with our own community and customers. 

We stay a step ahead when it comes to emerging diner behaviors and trends so that we can provide solutions that align with our restaurant customer’s values and business goals.

That’s why we sat down with Dean Thompson, Chief Customer and Growth Officer of HungerRush, to hear how effective sales and service all comes down to personalizing the customer experience.

We got into everything from:

  • Tailoring communication and services for customer needs
  • Measuring restaurant customer health and success 
  • And adapting businesses for rapidly changing expectations

Interested in bettering your customer experience and improving sales? Read on. 

Prefer audio? Listen to the interview right here.

Customers Want to Achieve An Outcome and An Experience

It’s tempting for food tech providers like us to get caught up talking to restaurateurs about metrics like upsells, cross-sells, and average order value. But as Dean put it—that’s not really what restaurant owners care about. 

You care about whether we can understand your specific needs and high-level goals (like increasing profitability or customer loyalty) and map those to clear and relevant solutions. 

It’s the exact same for restaurants and your guests, too. Your guests don’t arrive for a set of ingredients put together—they come for a feeling, an experience, an outcome. That’s what you’re selling!

 “A (restaurant owner) is held to something that means something to them. Are we helping them get more people in the door? More orders or increasing ticket sizes? Are we suggesting other ways to get (the) product out? Be it different delivery options or ways to order. At the end of the day, we have to be thinking, what do we do that’s beneficial to them?

Source: Canva

At HungerRush, we take the time to build a relationship with our customers that makes it easier to tailor services specifically to their restaurant. 

And the same goes for restauranteurs when they’re building relationships with their customers—the more you personalize your guest experience so that they feel understood and welcome, the better results you’ll see.

Keep Your Finger On the Customer’s Pulse

Happy customers spend more money. That’s why one of the most important things for a restauranteur to do is provide a great customer experience. And the same goes for us at HungerRush.

We are building a customer success organization to frequently check in to see how restaurant owners are feeling about products, new ventures, and challenges. Are they upset because of a printer issue? Happy because they’re opening a new restaurant? All of this factors into the ways we support and interact with them.

“Ultimately, a happy customer buys 35% more than a regular customer. It’s so important to take care of those customers.”

Dean broke down the strategies we will be using to stay in sync with our customers.

  • Product Adoption: When trying to help a restaurant owner, we first take stock of the situation. How many products and restaurants do they have? And are those products being leveraged effectively across all channels? For restaurants, this can work the same way: how frequently do customers use different sales channels, and where do they have the best experiences?
  • Assess and Educate: Within each of our products, we then ask where are the ways we can add value that our customers aren’t taking advantage of yet? We then educate our customers about those gaps and how other restaurants leverage those product capabilities to drive sales. For restaurant guests, the gaps may be they don’t understand how to access exclusive offers via the mobile app, or there’s a lack of understanding around how reward points work. Filling these experience gaps rounds out the customer experience.
  • Customer Health Score: The last piece is making sure we combine all of these things to get a customer health score that’s meaningful from our customer’s point of view. We look into our sales force to see each restaurant’s score–are they green, yellow, red? Then we drill down and figure out what we can do to optimize that score.

And we’d encourage restaurant owners to take the same analytical approach to their own customers. Your customers aren’t just after food, they’re after an outcome. An experience. And matching what you offer to those deeper needs is how both restaurants and we at HungerRush create raving fans.

Next up the conversation turned to Dean’s restaurant industry predictions for 2022.

Source: Canva

Why Convenience Will Be King in 2022

2022 is going to be a year of change—but also a year where some trends will continue. Here are Dean’s three predictions for 2022.

  • The labor shortage isn’t going anywhere. Finding the right people will continue to be tough and automation is only going to grow. Automating labor intensive tasks and building an online presence will remain important for businesses.
  • Effective employee training is crucial. Getting your staff up to speed is the most efficient thing you can do to maximize labor efficiency and staff retention. This can be done in a number of ways: automated lessons, courseware, and through online products that we offer. 
  • Convenience will dominate. Covid-19 has changed the service industry forever. People love the convenience of curbside delivery and online ordering–they want it to stay. Dean told us that if you want to be a successful restaurateur, you have to accept this reality and provide these online services and delivery options and think about how you package your food to all of these experiences. 

Source: Canva

Learn more: Short On Labor? How Restaurant Technology Can Reduce Labor By 21%

Innovate or Fall Behind to Smarter, Smoother Experiences

The competition is fierce and customers demand more every year. Some diners expect human interaction when ordering—others prefer apps. Restaurants need to cater to both, and sometimes businesses struggle to keep up.

Dean shared a story about his son-in-law’s experience picking up pizza that really highlights the importance of this.

“It was a Friday night, the phones are just going off the hook. And the manager is saying—unplug the phones, we can’t do this anymore. I’ve got two people answering phones, I need them making pizzas. That’s a perfect example of somewhere we could help them to automate the ability to do all of that ordering.”

That’s an example of lost business. Our OrderAI solution could have taken those calls with zero bottleneck, freeing up staff to work on food prep. There’s a misconception that AI-powered tools are too costly, but with the 25% increase in average ticket size, OrderAI pays for itself.

Our ability to gather what we learned from other restaurants and help businesses develop best practices is an asset to many owners looking to become better restaurateurs. 

Ready For a Personalized Customer Experience?

Good service sells and happy customers are repeat customers. But keeping up with customer preferences in a fast-changing digital landscape can be… challenging, to say the least.

That’s why we’re here to help. The HungerRush 360 system comes with innovative tools and advanced data analysis to supercharge your strategy. Our cloud-based POS can handle everything from the most complex orders and cross-site inventories to customer data tracking and loyalty programs—all from any one screen.

Try HungerRush today!

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