Collecting customer knowledge is a tedious but effective task all restaurants should spend time accomplishing. It gives you the opportunity to make your customers more satisfied and in turn, can help increase your restaurant’s revenues. Ultimately, it benefits both the business and the customer. To help you easily manage your customer data, you should begin using some readily-available tools:

Social Media

Social media is a quick and easy way to begin collecting customer data. Studies show that people, specifically millenials, are on social media an average of 5.5 hours a day. This information confirms that the best and first place to gather data is where they are spending most of their time. To properly collect their data, outside of using Facebook and Instagram insights, is to use a tool or platform that aggregates and integrates your user data across all platforms.

SproutSocial is a great place to start. This free tool provides real-time analysis of your social media channels. It organizes social media mentions of your restaurant’s brand into a single stream which includes hashtags, top keywords, and sites, making it easy for you to log-in and quickly see how effective your online campaigns, deals, and engagements are with your customers.

Google Analytics

Google Analytics is the most popular analytics software. It tracks the traffic to your website along with the performance of various web pages. By using Google Analytics, you can begin seeing where your customers are coming from, demographic information, and how often/how much time they are spending on your site. Because your site contains specific links (especially if you have online ordering!), you can see which links are being clicked the most. Of course, if you are interested in doing online ordering, you should use a third party service that provides and easily reports this information for you. Google Analytics allows you to determine the purchase process of your customers and how many are completing the process. This is important information because it helps you to see which items are successful versus unsuccessful on your menu. Having this information will help you adjust and change your strategies to ensure the buying experience is quicker and easier and most importantly, you are giving your customers what they want! If you don’t have any experience with Google Analytics, consider taking an online course. TechSoup Course: Gotta Get Google Analytics is a four-course, on-demand learning track will give you a solid start with Google Analytics.

Online Surveys

Don’t be afraid to go the “old school” route of collecting information. Create a survey that is designed to specifically obtain the information you want and need. Surveys can help you gather data in a more controlled manner, and the anonymity of surveys allows people to feel more candid with their responses. While it might seem like an obvious responsibility to pursue, many restaurants don’t pay attention to customer data, purchasing and activity as much as they should. Creating a survey (with an incentive, reward, or discount upon completion) can direct you to your next new menu creation, if prices are too high, if a customer is looking for a better deal, and more. To understand your customers better, you have to get greater insight into what they want. You can specify which data you want to collect from age, geography, gender, email address, to ensure that it’s relevant to the information you are looking to collect.

Natalie MacNeil, author of She Takes on the World, writes: “When I need to collect data, send out a questionnaire, or do a quick survey I still love using Google Forms, even though there are more advanced systems out there now. I export it to Excel to create graphs and charts if I need to but usually accessing the info on Google Drive is enough.”

By collecting this information, you can start tweaking your messaging to appeal to your customers. As you continue to build your customer database, use your new analytic tools to guide you.

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