I once went to a restaurant. I frequent the place because I have a loyalty card. After my meal, the waitress gave me a tablet. I am not sure if it's an iPhone.
"Can you answer some survey questions, sir?" she asked.
"Sure," I said.
The questions started with the food I ordered, if I like it; the place, if it's clean and presentable; the staff, if they are prompt in attending to the orders, etc. So far, so good. After five page flips, I realized the survey is getting longer and longer and the questions are becoming personal. The survey asked for my email and contact number. Oh, wait. Isn't my loyalty card suppose to know these things already?
I stopped answering and gave back the tablet to the waitress.
"Sorry, Ma'm. I can't continue with the survey. It's asking for my email address."
I think the survey provider is an external party and not the restaurant itself. With an email address marketers can already send you cold e-mails without giving option for opting out of the mailing list. E-mail is a precious commodity. You don't just give your e-mail away. When websites pop-up messages saying that I can't continue reading the blog post unless I give them my e-mail, I just clicked away.
B. Mine the data from the loyalty cards of your customers
Companies who give out loyalty cards but reliy on survey forms to measure customer feedback are defeating the purpose of loyalty cards. Loyalty cards are for customers who are already sold to the idea of buying from you. They already have made at least one purchase. If they bought from your restaurant 100x a year, that's a lot of data. That's big data.
Here are some metrics that you, the restaurant manager, should be able to distill from your customer data:
- Total cost of purchases per year. You can group your customers into different bins depending on their total cost of purchases per year. You may be surprised that your top 20% of your customers is responsible for 80% of your income.
- Total purchases per product per year. You can combine this data with other customers to make a list of top products by number of items sold, unit price, and total cost of the items sold. This is important for making projections on the volume of demand next year for each item, so that you can plan your purchases for the following year to match the demand. You may also study the seasonal variations of the prices of goods, so that you can order them by bulk in the months when they are cheapest, assuming that you have sufficient adequate storage for these.
- Total purchases per waiter per year. This is an interesting metric. It may surprise you that some waiters can get more purchases per customer than other waiters year after year. Study your best waiters. What are their tricks of the trade? Are they naturally beautiful. Do they like to engage with your customers in short personal conversations? Do they know your customers by name? Reward your best waiters with an extra bonus or better yet make them shine by asking them to teach the new hires on how to handle orders.
C. How to mine the customer data from loyalty cards
Customers usually fill up a form before they can get their loyalty card. The form questions normally include, name, address, email, contact number, etc. These data are then stored in a database and the customer is given an ID number. For every purchase the customer makes, the purchase is logged in his account. A good database manager can then mine such data using standard querying tools, e.g. MS Access, MySQL, etc. If the data is in spreadsheet or text form, you may use macros to analyze your data. Macros are a set of formulas or operations done in sequence, so that when you input your data, it would immediately churn out the table or graph that you need. Usually, many of these back-office functions can already be outsourced to business process outsourcing (BPO) agencies.