The Customer Centric Ecosystem

By: Ed Rothenberg

I’ve written three blogs for MICROS in the past few months. The first was on turning a restaurant customer into an invited guest, the second was on the “Imopadlet” … a whimsical perspective on mobile and consumer devices within the restaurant space. The third was on table management solutions for managing the customer experience at the hostess stand. The solutions I like to write and talk about are solutions that help grow guest counts and guest traffic. Many of my fellow bloggers at MICROS feel the same way, and I recommend you check out some of their excellent posts on Smartphone Payments, Social Media, Mobility, Customer Relationship Management, Customer Information Systems, Loyalty Programs. This is something we are passionate about here at MICROS, and all of these blogs are good reads and I recommend you check them out.

 What we at MICROS are writing about is the overall shift in the marketplace towards a “Customer Centric Ecosystem”.  Across all of the industries we serve,Restaurant, Retail and Hospitality, the business focus is shifting from being “Product Centric” to  “Customer Centric”. A Customer Centric Ecosystem is a set of inter-related systems designed to capture data from customer activity, turn that data into a deep understanding of customers, and then into useful information presented to associates allowing them to personalize the customer relationship. This is the key to increasing brand loyalty and business growth even during challenging economic times.

This shift is being driven by the proliferation of information and choices now available to consumers. Before making a purchase decision for a restaurant or hotel reservation, a consumer has, at their fingertips, a tool to research price, capability and value and potentially find a more suitable option. Is this the best price on this new TV? Can I get a better stay experience at a different hotel for the same price? Are there any restaurants with better reviews than the one I am about to make a reservation at? A couple of quick taps on their smartphone, and the consumer has answers to these questions in seconds and that information could drive them away from your business. With a Customer Centric ecosystem, the connection to your business is made personal and relevant, allowing you to deliver an experience tailored specifically for each customer. In addition, the relationship is not only a value add, it becomes the primary reason a customer will do business with you.

“Mr. Jones, you are one of our best customers. Thank you for coming to our establishment 3 times in the past month. We have you’re favorite menu item ready for your enjoyment as well as some appetzier specials we think you will like!” 

The Customer Centric Ecosystem puts the Customer Relationship Management System at its center, and uses business intelligence tools to feed the in store operational systems, the above store planning systems and the consumer engagement solutions. For each of these systems, the right information is available to the right person at the right time to support a superior experience for the customer.

With the customer in the center, each component of the ecosystem is designed to migrate a customer through a 3 stage relationship path from being a customer – to being a guest – to being a friend. The diagram below illustrates this migration.

A retail sales associate, a hotel front desk person or restaurant server at the point of service has access to guest information including history, preferences, contact information and relevant profile information to make the in-store experience exceptional and facilitate upselling and cross selling. Point of Service Systems have client selling tools that facilitate contacting guests and making personal invitations and offers to drive repeat business. Consumer facing mobile and web based systems use the same information to tailor online experiences for each guest, as well as suggest additional products and services at the point of purchase.

Above store planning systems have sophisticated views of trends and item movement to forecast the necessary inventory and labor to meet business needs effectively.

Marketing systems will benefit from data captured from all systems to plan promotions and campaigns that increase new customer acquisition.

All systems will take advantage of mobile, social media and web channels expand reach and relevance.

This shift is moving quickly. Mobile technology is enabling customers to be more informed and keenly aware of their options as a consumer. Merchants can no longer expect consumer loyalty. As a matter of fact, it is quite the opposite. Consumers expect loyalty from the merchant, for the merchant to know them, their likes and dislikes and build an experience specifically for them. When you put the customer in the center of your training, your processes and your technology, you give your associates the tools to turn those ‘customers’ into ‘friends’.

Find out more about what MICROS can do for you! For more information contact us at Phone: 866.287.4736 (US and Canada)

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