In Focus
EXECUTIVE INSIGHTS | Staff Reporter, Australia

How will customer experience look like in a post-COVID world?

Executives from Deloitte, Nando’s, Mad Mex and Adyen offer perspectives on digital’s growing role.

How is COVID-19 changing the industry’s approach to customer experience?

For Deloitte partner Vanessa Matthijsen, it revealed a challenge for the human touch to remain in a growing touchless environment in order to “delight today’s consumer.”

Offering a presentation on consumer behaviours across the Asia-Pacific region and a discussion of the five long-running trends that were accelerated by the ongoing pandemic during QSR Media’s customer experience webinar last 22 September, she said this requires chains to rethink certain aspects of operations such as their approach to data, locations and reliance on third-party delivery companies to improve customer engagement.

Dark or cloud kitchens - formats that only do delivery from a low-cost facility - should not be underestimated, she said. Virtual brands - food offerings made from existing premises - is also an opportunity.

“It’s an interesting way to test innovation,” she said.

For Nando’s ANZ chief marketing officer Helen Reece, the pandemic made them think deeply about customer experience and how to optimise their digital services.

The fast casual restaurant, which recently launched a new white-label delivery service in partnership with Doordash and has revamped their website for improved ordering, also confirmed during the event that they are reviewing their payment options, even including a Afterpay-type service where customers can pay for orders at a later date.

“You can get your cheeky Nando’s anywhere you like. It’s just really important to listen to the consumer,” she said.

For Mad Mex founder & CEO Clovis Young, it highlighted the need of retaining a contrarian mindset with the data points being presented by COVID-19, whilst acknowledging digital’s accelerated growth.

“We’re pivoting, we’re trialling and investing in digital but we’re also not necessarily throwing the baby out of the bathwater because human beings do regress back to the mean over time so I don’t think we’re going to see as big of a change in the five to ten-year (period of) the way we live,” he argued, citing purchasing behaviors seen during the global financial crisis (GFC).

The Mexican chain, which recently promoted its Big Burrito via Menulog, revealed that their app is getting an update, which will allow them to have simpler promotions that are not reliant on points, allowing them to be more personalised. Their app has also integrated the use of QR codes in-store, allowing customers to scan codes at tables to activate menus, place orders and pay.

For Adyen senior vice president of sales Ben Zyl, digital programmes have been brought forward, with delivery and kiosks connected to apps becoming necessities from “nice to haves.”

Coming from a payment platform’s point of view, opportunities in the space include chains being able to determine how new stores are cannibalising existing stores, what ordering channels are more frequented, and gaining more personable data to drive average ticket sales.

For Zyl, it’s valuable for chains to have a range of payment methods at their disposal.

“It’s important to give that choice to shoppers at the end of the day,” he said.

Watch the full webinar on demand below:

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