<img src="https://secure.leadforensics.com/133892.png" alt="" style="display:none;">

Pressures from production, demand, regulations and more informed consumers are forcing food companies to modernise their business processes.

But in the digital age, it’s not enough to have the latest technology and expect outstanding results. You need to create a great customer experience and be able to effectively communicate what value your business brings. Your employees also need to understand the value of change to buy into what you’re trying to achieve.

Let’s dig a bit deeper…

Focus on improving your customer experience

Digitalising food

The digital age has given consumers access to the world’s businesses at their fingertips, which means they can easily research products/services and companies before they buy. So, to differentiate yourself from the market, you need to focus on keeping up with customer expectations and continuously improving the customer journey.

When you create a great customer experience, you’ll be able to:

Put your customers in control

For example, having chatbots on your website can provide round-the-clock assistance to your customer queries and narrow down the intention of their request.

And if it needs to be passed onto your agents, they can jump straight into the conversation without having to ask questions like “what’s your name”, order number, etc. Self-service offerings like this can help boost customer satisfaction, built trust and improve retention.

Increase customer loyalty

Consumers are fickle with brand loyalty and will quickly move on to a competitor if your customer experience isn’t up to scratch. In fact, 80% of consumers say they would rather do business with a competitor after more than one bad experience. So, to boost customer trust and loyalty, ensure they feel heard, valued and looked after.

Spread good word about your business

92% of consumers will believe a recommendation from friends and family over any other type of advertising. In other words, your biggest marketing asset is your existing customer base. Great experiences can lead to great reviews which attract more customers and the cycle goes on. You’ll also create a community of brand advocates who will promote your business on your behalf.

Boost sales

Customers will come back to your brand if they’re satisfied with the experience. Research from HubSpot found that 93% of customers are likely to make repeat purchases with companies that offer excellent customer service.

Build lasting relationships

65% of consumers don’t trust advertisements and 71% don’t trust sponsored social media ads. These stats highlight why you need to spend time building a relationship with customers before you can gain their trust. One way you can do this is by offering personalised experiences (e.g. product suggestions based on their website activity) that make them feel special and important to your business.

You can read more into why customer experience matters by clicking here.

Explain how you can bring value to your customers…

It’s not enough to produce the perfect product and set a reasonable price for it. Today’s consumers have a wealth of options available to them, so you need to create an effective value proposition that tells the customer what’s in it for them. Without a unique identifier, customers don’t have a reason to do business with you ahead of a competitor.

Your value proposition should meet the following criteria:

  • Be clear and simple – every word used should improve clarity or make your main selling point more appealing. Keep your value prop to three sentences max
  • Appeal to your target audience – use data from the research you did about who they are, what they value and their needs/pain points to create an ideal customer persona. You can then tailor this to your value proposition (e.g. segment customers by their preferred buying channel)
  • Be clear on the benefitsthis value may not be financial but it should clearly define how your potential buyer will benefit from your product/service. Hyperbolic claims like “world’s best” will annoy potential customers as they haven’t got the time or patience to work out what value you can offer them

These are just some of the tips we’re currently implementing into our business. And we hope they can help inspire you too. Click here to read them more in-depth.

…and your stakeholders

Food in the digital age

A stakeholder is anyone who’s affected by the results of your project. For your employees, change usually means the processes they’ve been following for several months/years may be different. They might have to learn new techniques, follow new processes, etc.

So, as you did with your customers, explain to your team what’s in it for them. To make your digital transformation a success (with increased user adoption), you need your employees engaged and bought into your vision.

Communicate this value to your stakeholders by following these steps:

  1. Identify key themes/messages – be prepared to answer the “what’s in it for me?” question from employees. You must also be able to explain what the change is about, how it will impact them and what they’ll have to do when the change is implemented
  2. Adopt the right tone of messaging – use second person (i.e. “you”, “your”) so you’re talking directly to your employees and taking their point of view, rather than the company’s. Also, be specific about what you want them to do and speak their language – this will help them understand the reasons for change
  3. Build a small sample group – look at areas like job role, length of service, seniority level, age and even gender/race to build a sample group that will give you a range of viewpoints
  4. Explain the reasons for change and your aims – once you’ve done this, ask them how it would make a difference to their daily lives. If the answer is “it won’t” find out what would make them care – is there anything that would change their stance?
  5. Create engaging stories that resonate with your employees – use the notes you made from step four (along with real-life examples) to create compelling stories that back up your reasons for change. An example could be if you wanted to automate some processes, show how long those processes are currently taking and explain how technology will cut performance time
You can read more into these steps and what value means by clicking here.

Are you ready to start your innovation journey?

Implementing new technology can help you improve productivity, efficiency and processes. But so can a fresh business model or a different product marketing strategy. And you also need the right culture inside your organisation to support any business changes you make.

In our guide to innovation in the food industry, you’ll learn when innovation is needed, how to set up your business up for innovation and what technology trends to look out for.

Download it below.

The complete guide to innovating your food business

Topics

Discuss this post

Recommended posts

In this episode of ColumbusCast, our Food Consultants Laura Gilbank and Andrew Newton join special guest Rod Addy, Editor from the Food Manufacture. Rod has been working in food for over 21 years, analysing changes in the market caused by consumers and businesses. Here, we’ll be discussing the top trends and everything you can expect going forward for the future of the industry.
The past two years has brought plenty of disruption to the food to go market. But despite the recent economic setbacks, the forecasts remain positive. In this blog, we look at five key trends that are shaping the return of the food to go market: 
On April 1st 2022, a new UK plastic packaging tax came into force. But what does it mean for food businesses? Who will be affected and how is the industry responding? This blog takes a closer look…
To plan for the future of your food business and better adapt to unpredictable changes in the industry, you’ll need to understand how your processes work inside and out, from your production lines to senior management. However, with concerns around the fragmented global supply chain and how it’s impacted sourcing and distribution strategies, it has become apparent that most businesses lack the visibility they require.  
In season 2, episode 11 of ColumbusCast, I’m joined by Andrew Newton and Chris Nichols, our Food Consultants at Columbus, to explore how food businesses and consumers are tackling the ongoing issues around food waste.