Restaurant Company Builds a CX Culture That Pays off During Tough Times
Edley’s Restaurant Group is a growing hospitality industry company whose customer experience (CX) obsession has paid off during the Covid-19 pandemic. Located in the metro-Nashville, Tennessee area with seven locations and 400 team members, Edley’s is anticipating 50% growth in the next 12 months. Rapid growth, indeed.
The restaurant industry has been faced with many challenges beyond its control since the start of the Covid-19 crisis, its resulting economic conditions, and – as revealed by customer feedback – frequent bad customer experiences. Roughly 90,000 restaurants have temporarily or permanently closed, according to estimates from the National Restaurant Association, down from 110,000 at the peak of the pandemic.
Despite this bleak outlook in the industry, Edley’s CX focus allowed the company to guide consumer engagement and achieve the following results:
-Sales increased by 35% over the 2021 year-to-date
-Guest NPS (overall brand satisfaction/customer loyalty) is 85 for “likely to recommend”
-Profit increase of 6% in 2021
-Team member turnover of 58% in an industry with a triple-digit turnover
-Manager turnover of 14% in an industry with 40%
-Zero voluntary GM turnover in 3 years
VP of Operations Chris Beckler said it best, “We were not broken. We had a strong presence and following in our space. Some very loyal guests. However, internally we recognized that our service, and training, did not match the quality of our food and vibe.”
An Ocean City, New Jersey native with years of work experience in its beach and bar scene, Beckler brings high energy, expertise, and a joyful spirit to the Nashville-based brand. He and his team made a commitment to creating a world-class customer and employee experience for Edley’s BBQ. They believed that if they could offer such outstanding service that the first thing people thought of was emotional connections (how great it made them feel), the company could become one that would make their customers’ world a better place.
Beckler added, “Growth without strategy was our biggest issue. We had great people, but we lacked consistency and a codified way to deliver the experience we wanted. We were good, but nothing special in terms of service.” He knew Edley’s wasn’t delivering the best service ever and that it needed a customer-centric approach, consistently offering seamless experiences across the entire customer journey. Sometimes all it takes is one bad experience to lose a customer. To positively influence consumer behavior, both retaining its loyal customers and building its customer base, this approach must include customers feeling appreciated as well as innovative solutions.
These solutions need to cover everything from traditional dining to an enhanced digital experience including online ordering and multiple modes for pickup/delivery. This necessarily includes solid relationships with delivery service providers who are bringing either a bad or a good experience with every food order. And personalized services such as geo-targeted messaging can be additional relationship builders and powerful tools in meeting and even exceeding customer expectations. According to research by PricewaterhouseCoopers, 63% of U.S. consumers would be more willing to share personal data, such as location and preferences, with a company offering what they considered true value.
Edley’s utilized The DiJulius Group’s X Commandment methodology and created a Customer Experience Action Statement with supporting Pillars, Never & Always standards, and implemented a Customer Experience Cycle.
Among the X Commandments is Commandment V: Training to Providing a World-Class Customer Experience, a customer service training method for all new and even existing employees. This soft skills training increased the service aptitude of Edley’s employees, equipping them with the knowledge and tools to consistently provide a world-class experience for their customers. Not only is consistency good for company culture, but improved future performance will also lead to a higher customer satisfaction score, enhanced consumer demand, and continued growth as a customer service leader.
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