Strategy

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How this Accra Restaurant Uses WhatsApp Marketing to Keep 6,000 Customers Coming Back

By Emmanuel Quartey

Burger & Relish is a popular American diner-style restaurant with two locations in Accra, Ghana — one in Osu (a commercial district), and another in East Legon (a quiet, upscale neighborhood).

In this exclusive article, Sean Burrowes, General Manager of Burger & Relish’s East Legon location, takes us deep into how his restaurant uses WhatsApp to keep his customers coming back.

Think of WhatsApp as a customer service channel for your best clients, *not* a mass advertising medium

WhatsApp is undeniably one of the most dominant forms of communication in the emerging world, and Accra is no different. Everyone uses WhatsApp — it transcends age, gender, and socio-economic status.

Because WhatsApp is so pervasive, marketers have been quick to attempt to use it to push their wares, but Burrowes recommends that a better approach is to think of the app as a direct line to your best existing customers.

“I think people are a bit fatigued with receiving marketing messages via WhatsApp,” says Burrowes. “A year or so ago, few companies were sending WhatsApp messages, but a lot businesses are doing so now, most of them badly, with the result that you’re starting to see less engagement.”

A more effective WhatsApp strategy, Sean suggests, is to think of WhatsApp as a direct line to your best, most engaged existing customers.

“When I send out a WhatsApp broadcast, I often get replies back. Sometimes they want to know if a certain dish is still on a menu, and this is a great opportunity to educate about our offerings and even upsell them on new ones. Other times, they want to flag an important issue they were uncomfortable mentioning in person, and that becomes an opportunity to address a customer service issue and improve our operations. We’ve found WhatsApp to be great as a customer support tool.”

 To get people to opt-in to receiving WhatsApp messages, tap into their FOMO (fear of missing out)

Across both restaurant locations, Burger & Relish has nearly 6000 people signed up to receive WhatsApp messages — about 4000 phone number for their Osu location collected over 2 years, and about 1,500 phone numbers for their East Legon restaurant, collected in about 4 months.

To acquire these phone numbers, Sean and his team first get a sense of whether the guest is clearly enjoying themselves. If so, they mention events that’ll be happening at the restaurant throughout the week, and ask if the guest would like to receive a reminder about future events via WhatsApp.

“We have multiple events at Burger & Relish during the week, so we use that as a hook to pique people’s interest. I train my waitstaff to collect numbers, but there’s only a light script, otherwise the delivery will be too robotic. Each team member is invited to bring their own style to it.”

Waitstaff are held accountable for growing the restaurant’s WhatsApp phone number database.

“Each waiter has a sheet where they list the numbers they’ve collected that day, and I make sure to review it so that my team knows that this is something that is important, and that’s a core part of their responsibility.”

Segment your WhatsApp Broadcast Lists

At the end of each day, the new numbers collected by the team is entered into WhatsApp Broadcast Lists on a company phone.

These lists are very intentionally organized.

“What most other companies do is that they just dump numbers into lists. What we do at Burger & Relish is that we add their number to a variety of named segments. For example, a guest who came with kids will get added to the Families Lists, young adults and college folks get added to Student Lists, etc. This helps us tailor messages to specific target groups in a way ensures that the message resonates.”

Create a distinct brand voice and tone

Every company has a personality that reflects their target audience, and Sean recommends ensuring that the WhatsApp messages are similarly on-brand.

“There’s actually a difference between how the two Burger & Relish restaurants talk to their respective WhatsApp lists. Our Osu location is very popular with expats, whereas most of our clientele in East Legon is a Ghanaian audience that usually comes to our restaurant to celebrate a specific event. This definitely influences my tone when messaging our East Legon customers, all the way down to the kinds of pop-culture references I make.”

The timing of messages is important

Sean recommends thinking carefully about when your target audience is most likely available to engage with your message.

“I send out messages at one of three times during the day: around 7 AM (so that it’s one of the first things people see when they wake up), around noon (so they see it during their lunch break), or somewhere between 5 to 7 PM (when people are deciding where to go eat out). I find that messages sent during times when people are likely to be busy result in fewer responses.”

Train your audience to respond

Businesses get the greatest return on investment when customers think of WhatsApp as a two-way communication channel. To get them there, it’s important to “train” them to respond to messages.

“Occasionally, I’ll do a small giveaway (eg. a free soft drink with any purchase) where people need to reply via WhatsApp to qualify for the deal. I find that this is a great way of getting people to reply for the first time, and after that, they start to think of the Burger & Relish WhatsApp not as mass advertiser, but a direct customer service line to their friends at the restaurant.”

Source: https://theflint.io/how-this-accra-restaurant-uses-whatsapp-marketing-to-keep-6-000-customers-coming-back-9e475a23e574#.fmaut54zx

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4 Ways to Improve Your Strategic Thinking Skills

By Nina Bowman

If you’ve ever received feedback that you “need to be more strategic,” you know how frustrating it can feel. To add insult to injury, the feedback rarely comes with any concrete guidance on what to do about it. One of my coaching clients, Lisa, a vice president of HR, was in this situation and explains, “I was just told to think bigger picture and to be more strategic. It felt like I had been given the definition of a word by using the same word. It just wasn’t helpful.”

So what specific steps can you take to be more strategic in your current role?

Start by changing your mindset. If you believe that strategic thinking is only for senior executives, think again. It can, and must, happen at every level of the organization; it’s one of those unwritten parts of all job descriptions. Ignore this fact and you risk getting passed over for a promotion, or having your budget cut because your department’s strategic contribution is unclear.

Once you’ve accepted that it’s part of your job, focus on developing four key abilities that demonstrate your strategic prowess.

Know: Observe and Seek Trends

Lisa wasn’t seeing the big picture. Because of the amount of work she had and the pace at which she needed to get it done, she often took a “heads down” approach to her job and failed to “lift up” and observe both internal and external trends. She was missing key information that could help her focus, prioritize, and be proactive in addressing talent issues for her fast-growing company. Because Lisa approached her job in a transactional manner, simply getting the next hire, she didn’t recognize that she needed a completely new approach to recruitment and retention.

In order to be strategic, you need a solid understanding of the industry context, trends, and business drivers. An intellectual appreciation of the importance of bringing in current data and seeking trends isn’t enough. You also have to:

  • Make it a routine exercise to explore and synthesize the internal trends in your day-to-day work. For example, pay attention to the issues that get raised over and over in your organization and synthesize the common obstacles your colleagues face.
  • Be proactive about connecting with peers both in your organization and in your industry to understand their observations of the marketplace. Then, share your findings across your network.
  • Understand the unique information and perspective that your function provides and define its impact on the corporate level strategy.

Think: Ask the Tough Questions

With a fresh understanding of trends and issues, you can practice using strategic thinking by asking yourself, “How do I broaden what I consider?” Questions are the language of strategy. Lisa came to appreciate that her life and prior experience gave her a unique, yet myopic, strategic lens. So she pushed herself to ramp up her perspective-taking and inquiry skills. By becoming more curious, and looking at information from different points of view, she was able to reduce her myopia and see different possibilities, different approaches, and different potential outcomes.

For example, when working on an employee retention project she asked herself, “What does success look like in Year 1?”  “What does it look like in Year 3?” “What could impact the outcome in a negative way?” “What are the early signs of success/failure?” “What do business partners need to understand to ensure its success?” and “Do the outcomes support the broader goals of the organization?” By asking these tough questions first, she recognized that she could better engage with colleagues and senior executives early on in ways that would benefit the project — and would help shape the perception that she was thoughtful and strategic.

Speak: Sound Strategic

Strategic thinkers also know how to speak the language. They prioritize and sequence their thoughts. They structure their verbal and written communication in a way that helps their audience focus on their core message. They challenge the status quo and get people talking about underlying assumptions. Those that are really skilled walk people through the process of identifying issues, shaping common understanding, and framing strategic choices.

If this sounds complex, that’s because it is. But there are ways you can start honing these skills:

  • Add more structure to your written and verbal communication. Group and logically order your main points, and keep things as succinct as possible.
  • Prime your audience by giving them a heads up on the overarching topics you want to address so they are prepared to engage in a higher level conversation, not just the tactical details.
  • Practice giving the answer first, instead of building up to your main point.

Lisa didn’t realize that the way she spoke created the perception that she was not strategic. She set about changing that. First by focusing her one-on-ones with her CHRO on higher level discussions and leaving tactical issues to email. She chose one or two strategic areas to focus on.  and made sure to frame issues in the context of the CHRO’s and the CEO’s top priorities.

Act: Make Time for Thinking and Embrace Conflict

In the early phase of our work together, Lisa kept a jam-packed schedule, running from meeting to meeting. She found it difficult to contribute strategically without the time to reflect on the issues and to ponder options. Recognizing that she was not bringing her full value to the table, she started to evaluate her tasks based on urgency and importance as outlined in Stephen Covey’s 2 x 2 matrix. She stopped going to meetings she didn’t need to be at. She blocked out thinking time on her calendar and honored it, just as she would for other meetings. And she fought back the initial guilt of “Am I doing real work when I’m just sitting at my desk thinking?”

Lisa also practiced other key skills. She learned to embrace debate and to invite challenge, without letting it get personal so that she could ask tough questions. To do this, she focused on issues, not people, and used neutral peers to challenge her thinking. To manage the inevitable ambiguity that arises when you ask more questions, Lisa also learned to clarify her decision-making criteria, allowing her to better act in the face of imperfect information.

The quest to build your strategic skills can be uncomfortable. At first, you might feel like you’re kicking up sand in the ocean. Your vision will be blurred as you manage through the unsettling feelings that come with challenging your own assumptions and gaining comfort with conflict and curiosity. Once the dust settles, however, and you’re able to contribute at a higher level, you’ll be glad you took the risk.

Source: https://hbr.org/2016/12/4-ways-to-improve-your-strategic-thinking-skills

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