As the ancient Greek philosopher Heraclitus once noted, “the only constant in life is change”. For businesses that have endured over a year of constantly changing social distancing regulations, this 2,500-year-old observation must seem more relevant than ever.
Dealing with uncertainty
Hopefully, the government’s roadmap for lifting lockdown will stay on track, and life will get ever closer to ‘normality’ – with pubs, restaurants, hotels and guesthouses able to welcome customers back with minimal restrictions. But, even if the roadmap goes as planned, it is very difficult to predict how public behaviour will have changed since lockdown. Will there be a rush to enjoy the pleasures of a city break, or to dine out and drink with friends? Or will people be cautious about mixing indoors, or have we got into the habit of drinking at home? Many will have spent lockdown upgrading their indoor and outdoor spaces and may want to make use of their investment, rather than spend more to go out for entertainment.
Making the most of what you have
As we don’t have data from a similar previous situation, all we can do for the moment is wait and see. But if you’re looking to entice your customers back once they are ready, you can still make the most of what information you do have, and ensure you’re delivering the best possible offering. What is the data you have already got telling you? Did some types of offer or promotion work better at different times of year? Did particular changes to your services or menu lead to greater spend per-head, increase the likelihood of repeat business, or improve the success of your member-get-member scheme?
If you have data on customer behaviour already, you can analyse it and turn it into information that will help you create offers, and deliver services, that your customers will love. If you are not already collecting, organising and storing data, now is the time to start.
Business Intelligence in action
change ++ has worked with a number of clients to help them collect and analyse data to maximise their customer offering. We helped the Motorway Services provider, Welcome Break, analyse and visualise the data from its electronic point of sale (EPOS) and Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT) systems. We built easily accessible dashboards that could be viewed from a tablet or desktop, computer, enabling its Unit Business Managers (UBIs) to access, view and interrogate the data themselves. The dashboards are fed by live data – giving UBIs the ability to spot trends, quickly see the results of any changes to services or pricing and react to changing conditions in real time.
We put a similar solution in place for another client, Bistrot Pierre. The UK-wide restaurant chain now uses dashboards, powered by Microsoft Power BI, to test the effectiveness of promotions, loyalty schemes, pricing strategies, menu changes and more. The beauty of this cloud-based system is that Bistrot Pierre’s managers can take advantage of Power BI’s sophisticated analytical capabilities without requiring any specialised knowledge – it can drill down and filter the data it wants through a simple, intuitive interface.
Preparing for the future
The future may be uncertain – but that doesn’t mean we can’t prepare for it. By collecting and analysing data on your products and services, and how they are received by customers, you can ensure that you are in the best possible place to succeed.
A great place to start is with a BI Health Check.