Customer Relations

This helps them to gather customers feedback by collating the responses and discussing about them during meetings, to see if there is an alternative, or a solution to the problem. However, not all feedbacks can have a solution as there are shortages of certain resources such as manpower, turnover rate and space in shop area. Overall, Food For Thought is a successful organisation despite not having a CRM system. They are able to generate high profits every month due to loyal customers and customers who frequent that area.

Company’s Background Food for Thought is a Food and Beverage Restaurant (F&B) that sells western-styled food. It started out as a cafe in North Bridge Road. After a few years of establishment, the company decided to open another outlet at a nearby location of a larger space and closed down the cafe. Currently, there are 2 outlets (Queen Street and Botanical Gardens). They sell a variety of foods including salads, pastas, pancakes, cakes and desserts. The company has 2 selling points that differentiate them from other restaurants.

First, the ambience provides a good place for customers to relax and hang out with family or friends. The overall layout emits a homely touch. Using recycled items, they decorate the restaurant with 540 jars of emptied pasta sauce. Secondly, they practice societal marketing concept by giving back 10% of their yearly profit to charity organizations. Their 5 missions include ‘Give clean water, ‘Feed good food, ‘Make poverty history ‘, ‘Teach them all’ and ‘Inspire kind acts’. (Refer to appendix A) CRM Planning Process

Through the interview conducted, we found out that Food for Thought have yet to implement CRM system. However, they are considering implementing it after the organization is stable. Food for Thought connects with their customers through the use of Facebook and Twitter by learning customers’ needs and wants. Their target markets are the SMU students and the people working around the area of their location. In order to increase the awareness of their organization, they place their advertisement on the SMU daily newsletter and provide promotions for the students.

Food for Thought staffs focuses on creating customer’s experience in order to build relationship with the customers. The staffs recognize their loyal customers and create a personal friendship with them. Likewise for new customers, the staff will create a customer relationship as they exercise relationship marketing. CRM Implementation Process In our opinion, Food for Thought has the basic foundation for implementing CRM system as they focus on managing customer’s experience. They start out by creating a Facebook page in order to encourage feedbacks from the customers.

The management then analyzes the comments before deciding appropriate measures that should be carried out. Even though Food for Thought doesn’t have a CRM system, they collect their customers’ name card and sent out emails to update them on various promotions and competitions. They initiated the use of smart-phone apps such as chope. com or hungrygowhere. com to provide customers the convenience of making a reservation online. On the other hand, they are able to track their customers’ spending and number of times of reservation made. When queried on why they have yet to implement CRM system, Mr.

Pala stated that the organization will only consider implementing a proper CRM system when the organization faces the situation whereby there is a need to analyze customer’s needs and wants to an extent. Impact of CRM on Sales and Marketing Strategy Food for Thought sales strategy focuses on the need to develop solutions to meet customer’s specific needs. The management team conducts a meeting every two weeks to review on the feedbacks mentioned through email, Facebook and Twitter (as mentioned above) to analyze on the customer’s needs.

They collect verbal feedback from different customers and inform them about their menu recommendations based on customer’s individual needs and preferences. While they are collecting payments from the customers, the staffs will focus on being dialogue-oriented by engaging in small talks with the customer to understand their needs better before stating the feedback of the food to the head chef. The head chef will then make alternative recipe to meet and satisfy the customer’s needs.

Through the use of sales forces, Food For Thought is able to process customer information quicker to meet customers’ need. They focus on sales force automation by using key account management such as the POS system to tabulate monthly and yearly sales. The sales activities allow them to identify the most favorable and least favorable items, via this method; they will up-sell the most favorable item to the customer while considering removing the least favorable items. The use of social media has provided the staffs with information to identify and differentiate their customers.

By using this method, the staff will then be able to create a different marketing strategy to interact and customize various offerings to suit the needs of individual customers. For example, premium seating (bar table) are provided to their loyal customers, this allows the customers to not only observe the chef’s method of cooking but also engage in small talks with the staffs. Food For Thought focuses in building relationship. They believe in gaining true loyal customers by creating strong relationships through exchanging information while engaging in dialogues with the customer. Through this method, customer knowledge will increase and therefore strengthening the relationship with the customer. Most of the loyal customers are under the undivided loyalty. They come from the workplace located nearby and only dine at Food for Thought. Loyal customers are more profitable as they help to spread positive word-of-mouth about the organization. Food For Thought implements retention strategies to the customers. One of which would be by rewarding loyal customers – for example, SMU students are entitled to 5% discount.

This develops effective acquisition strategies to encourage word-of-mouth referrals for the customers. Loyal customers are entitled to preferential treatment as the organization treat loyal customers like family and refer to them by their name. Outcome of CRM implementation With limited resources, Food For Thought has to identify their desirable customers. Without CRM system, it is difficult to analyze customer from the restaurant. Food For Thought is currently in the stage of developing comprehensive CRM; therefore they do not have a fixed answer of the success or failure in implementing CRM in this restaurant.

The current CRM implementation process has help gain customer knowledge, customer satisfaction and help building up the relationship with the customers. As Food For Thought is a developing business, there are rooms for improvement in the CRM implementation. They measure the effectiveness of CRM program through customer feedback. Using the feedbacks provided, the management is able to know the satisfaction of customers regarding the service or food of the restaurant. Unlike other restaurant that focuses on being profit-orientated, Food For Thought is customer-orientated.

This implies that customer’s experience is more important than the profit gained. Moreover, customer interaction provides a measurement for the effectiveness of program. This shows that restaurant should improve on their service to retain existing customers. The increase in customer touch point will lead to an increase in opportunity in gaining customer’s knowledge thereby creating a learning relationship between the organization and the customers. Conclusion and future plans of company’s CRM strategy We have concluded that Food for Thought is a successful organization, where they focus on building customer relationship rather than being profit-oriented. When there is a relationship built with the customers, trust will be built, and because Food for Thought believes in being customer-oriented, they never fail to recognize their loyal customers, which in turn would make the customers feel recognized and good, therefore bringing returned business. Not only do they build and strengthen the relationship with their external customers, Food for Thought has also built and strengthened the relationship with their internal customers, namely their co-workers.

Food for Thought has also place customer satisfaction as their upmost priority, which is also another factor whereby they are successful in retaining their existing customers or acquiring new customers. Food for Thought currently has no plans to implement CRM yet as it is still a small organization. However, according to Mr. Pala, he has claimed that when the time comes when the organization faces the situation whereby there is a need to analyze customer’s needs and wants to an extent, it is then they will implement CRM, for now, they want to focus more on relationship building with their customers.

Lesson Learnt Food for Thought and many other organizations faces the same problem which is the lack of manpower. Such situations are unavoidable and the turnover rate is usually higher in the F&B business as most locals prefer other lines of job than F&B. One way to overcome this problem is to have some employees, mainly the supervisor, to be on standby. Another method to overcome this problem would be to implement self-service in the outlet. However, Mr. Pala has claimed that this method may hinder the process of building relationship with the customers.

Being customer-oriented, they value their loyal customers by treating them as a part of their family. Through this strategy, Food for Thought is able to build customer relationship and strengthen the bond between the organization and the customers. They gain customer’s trust by providing service beyond expectation by getting close to the customers and engaging small talks with the customer, proving that they value the relationship with each individual customer. “All customers are equal, regardless of them being loyal and long-term or new,” quoted from Mr. Pala. They practice building customer relationship through breaking the ice by engaging in small dialogues with the customers either when they order food or upon settling the bill. When queried on how each and every staff managed to practice building customer relationship, Mr. Pala replied with the answer indicating that practice comes from the inner heart. They believe that by strengthening the bonds with every staff and treating them like a family will naturally bring out the courage in each and every staff to build a relationship with the customers.