Low prices may not woo new foodservice customers

Posted by AFN Staff Writers on 12th June 2013

New research from an Australian business review website shows that Australians may no longer be won over by a bargain or a freebie.

The results of survey of more than 1,800 Australians by the Word of Mouth Online (WOMO) website showed that Australian consumers are now more concerned with premium quality of service and a higher value of product.

WOMO asked survey respondents to prioritise influential factors that would make them use a business again. The survey covered three key service categories: food service (cafes, bars and restaurants), personal care (hairdressers, beauticians and massage therapists), and tradespeople.

In food service, 93 per cent of Australians rated “good quality” food and beverages as the most important factor in influencing them to return, while only 29 per cent rated low prices and promotions as the biggest factor. Attentive and courteous staff (79 per cent) and fast service (54 per cent) were also rated highly as ‘very important’ in encouraging a customer to return. General atmosphere (44 per cent) and convenient location (40 per cent) were also important.

“It’s apparent from these results that the consumer-business relationship is changing,” said Fiona Adler, founder of WOMO. “People now seek a high-quality product or service first, and consider cost a lesser priority,” she said.

“This means businesses should be investing in staff training and using premium materials rather than cheap gimmicks and promotions. Consumers are also more vocal now than ever before, by telling businesses how they feel online. By tapping into this feedback, businesses should be able to create a successful model to build a more loyal customer base,” Ms Adler said.

When asked what would make them return following bad service from a business, only 2 per cent of survey respondents said they would be most persuaded by promotions and sales. The most likely response to persuade a return visit was significant compensation (47 per cent). New management was also important, with 20 per cent saying it was an influencing factor for returning. Other significant influences on the likelihood of repeat business after bad service were a small gift or apology (18 per cent) and feedback from other customers (11 per cent).