The New Leader In Town: Building Relationships With Customers

The Quick Service Restaurant (QSR) industry is one of the most competitive and dynamic industries in the world. Consumers have a wide variety of options to choose from when it comes to satisfying their hunger. This is why building relationships with customers is crucial to the success of any QSR business. Creating and maintaining a long-term relationship with your customer ensures your interactions with your audience are meaningful, engaging and consistent. That’s why implementing a relationship marketing strategy with your loyal customers can be meaningful for both involved for the long haul.

What is Relationship Marketing?

Relationship marketing is a marketing strategy that focuses on building long-term relationships with customers, rather than just selling products or services. It involves creating a strong connection between the business and its customers by engaging in ongoing communication, offering personalised experiences, and providing exceptional customer service. Relationship marketing is all about creating a sense of loyalty and trust between the business and its customers.

But relationship marketing is not just one-sided; it requires both parties to give and receive value in order for it to work. This means that business owners can create content that helps the customers solve problems and get answers to questions they have—and then leverage those opportunities down the road. It's also about involving the consumer in the process, and letting them know how much it means to you that they are there.

The goal is simple: create loyal customers who buy from you because they trust your brand and believe in what you stand for.

How To Implement Relationship Marketing?

Relationship marketing is a powerful tool that can help businesses create and maintain long-term relationships with their customers. But to implement relationship marketing successfully, Marigold recommends a strategic approach that focuses on the acquisition and enrichment of customer data, engagement, personalisation, and loyalty and retention.

Step 1 - Acquisition & Enrichment: Acquire contacts and enrich the data you have on them continuously.

In order to implement relationship marketing, you must first acquire contacts and continually enrich your data. This means collecting direct information from your customers—including their preferences, behaviours, and demographics—and maintaining it over time. The more information you have on your customers, the better you can tailor your marketing efforts to their needs. 

You need to create the Value Exchange Economy. Focusing on the customer-marketer relationship, it's simple: customers want more personalised experiences and marketers need personal information to deliver these.

Here are some ways that businesses can acquire and enrich customer data:

  • Incentivise customers to provide data by offering them discounts, free products, or exclusive access to new products.
  • Conduct surveys to gather information about customer preferences and feedback.
  • Monitor social media to get insights into customer interests and behaviours.
  • Gather data on your customers' preferences and behaviours using a customer relationship management (CRM) system.

Step 2 - Engagement: Establish an intelligent messaging strategy.

When you have acquired and enriched customer data, the next step is to establish an intelligent messaging strategy. This entails tailoring your messages so that they are relevant to each individual user's needs and preferences.

With 31% of consumers feeling frustration when they receive messaging that doesn't recognise their shopping history, it's important for brands to establish an intelligent messaging strategy.

To do so, businesses can:

  • Segment customer data to create targeted messaging that is tailored to each customer segment.
  • Use automation tools such as email automation and chatbots to deliver personalised messaging at scale.
  • Engage with customers and prospects on social media, and share news about the company.
  • Ensure that the messaging is consistent across all channels and touchpoints.

Step 3 - Personalisation: Use your data to create truly personalised experiences.

Personalisation is a key component of relationship marketing. By using customer data, businesses can create truly personalised experiences that cater to their customers' unique needs and preferences. A McKinsey report found that 71% of consumers expect companies to deliver personalised interactions, while 76% get frustrated when this doesn’t happen. Additionally, brands who execute a personalisation strategy drive 10 to 15 percent revenue lift.

To put it another way, here are some ways QSR businesses can implement personalisation:

  • Use customer data to tailor promotions and offers.
  • Customise product recommendations based on customer preferences and behaviours.
  • Use personalisation in the messaging, such as addressing customers by name and using their previous purchase history to recommend new products.
  • Use dynamic content on the website to show different content to different customers based on their interests and behaviours.

Step 4 - Loyalty & Retention: Build loyalty with customers through emotion and connection.

The final step in implementing relationship marketing is building loyalty and retention through emotion and connection. QSR businesses must go beyond just providing a product or service and creating a sense of community and belonging for your customers.

Building customer loyalty can help the business grow and thrive over the long term. According to Marigold, increasing retention rates by just 5% can increase profits by up to 95%! To grow profitably, brands must identify their best customers and maintain a valuable relationship with those consumers.

Below are some tips on how to do it:

  • Develop a loyalty program that rewards customers for their repeat business.
  • Offer personalised experiences that create emotional connections with your customers.
  • Provide exceptional customer service by responding promptly to customer inquiries and complaints.
  • Create and foster a sense of community with your customers by engaging them on social media or other channels.

Advantages of Using Relationship Marketing in QSR

Relationship marketing can be used in a variety of industries, but it's especially useful for restaurants. QSRs tend to have high customer turnover, especially in fast food chains—which means that their customers are constantly coming and going. But if they can find ways to create a lasting relationship with customers, they'll see huge benefits.

There are several advantages to using relationship marketing in the QSR industry. These include:

  • Increased customer loyalty: Relationship marketing helps build a strong bond between the business and its customers, leading to increased customer loyalty. Customers are more likely to continue to purchase from a business that they have a positive relationship with.
  • Improved customer retention: By focusing on building long-term relationships with customers, QSR businesses can improve their customer retention rates. This is because customers are less likely to switch to a competitor if they feel valued and appreciated.
  • Increased revenue: Relationship marketing can lead to increased revenue as customers who have a positive relationship with a business are more likely to spend more and refer friends and family to the business.
  • Enhanced brand reputation: Through offering attentive and thoughtful customer service, QSR businesses can build stronger brand reputation. This in turn leads to more trust among their customers—and a greater willingness on the part of these consumers to spend money at that store or restaurant again.

The Impacts of Relationship Marketing

According to Marigold, brands that focus on core value exchange—the basis for Relationship Marketing—when collecting customer data are reaping the rewards.

Internationally, Starbucks saw an average order value 19% higher than the year before, after personalising customers' experiences on their app. Meanwhile, here in Australia, Bakers Delight was able to increase sales by 25% through its Dough Getters loyalty program.

Another great example of well-done Relationship Marketing in Australia is Purebaby. The company captures key information about their customers like who you might be buying for, or what stage of pregnancy you are at, and eventually details about your baby’s birthdate, in order to better market their products through personalised customer experience.

The company used their data to create an extensive trigger-based marketing program, but also extended the information into service offerings for soon-to-be new mothers by promoting educational in-store classes on how to correctly swaddle a newborn, change diapers or give baby baths.

Relationship Marketing with Marigold

Marigold offers a suite of solutions that can help QSRs build an effective relationship marketing strategy by leveraging customer data to provide insights that enable personalised and targeted interactions. The Marigold Engagement Data Platform is designed to provide a foundational data platform for ingestion, data management, analytics, and integration, creating a single view of the customer that accounts for varying touchpoints, identifiers, and insights captured across online and offline sources.

With the Marigold Engagement Data Platform, QSR businesses can gain a deep understanding of their customers, including their preferences, behaviour patterns, and purchase history. This information can be used to develop targeted marketing campaigns that resonate with individual customers, driving customer loyalty and increasing revenue.

The Relationship Marketing platform provided by Marigold covers every stage of the customer journey, from attracting and understanding new customers, to engaging with them, making personalised offers, and fostering customer loyalty to keep them coming back. Unlike other platforms that sync with various other systems, Marigold software brings all the customer information together, so businesses can track their interactions both online and in person. This way, businesses can keep their customers close, no matter where they go.

To learn more about how Marigold can help QSR businesses leverage relationship marketing, contact Sara at [email protected]

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