Why Are Multi-Location Brands Ghosting Their Customers?

Why Are Multi-Location Brands Ghosting Their Customers?

Share this:

You may have heard of ghosting in the dating or job application world. It’s when someone communicates with you and then vanishes suddenly and without a trace. Your messages go unanswered. Here today…ghost tomorrow! Multi-location brands (MULO) are ghosting their customers and prospects.

A recent study by SOCI, “The High Cost of Invisibility for Multi-Location Enterprises,” reveals that a whopping 92 percent of locations don’t answer basic questions about open times or product availability. This, along with invisibility and other behaviors, costs multi-location businesses $2.4B annually.

Among the most common gaffes by MULO brands is the failure to respond to reviews.

We often talk about CX these days. The customer experience doesn’t just relate to how many clicks someone needs to go through on your website to find a location. The customer experience in retail and restaurant locations is still a human one.

Humans, not bots, are taking the time to provide feedback (positive and negative) about your brand and its locations.

Every multi-location brand today must:

  • Remove the cloak of invisibility and invest in technologies and communications systems that make interacting with customers and prospects easier.
  • Respond to customers who can help you improve the customer experience at both a local and brand level.
  • Be easily found — at the right times and for the right reasons. Outdated or incorrect information can frustrate your customers and result in a negative perception of your overall brand.
  • Engage your locations in solving the problems. Franchisees, store managers, and regional management must improve local search. When you bring your team together, educate them about the world of local search through the eyes of the customer. Your employees are consumers too, and they all have personal examples of their own searches — positive and negative. Incentivize team members for rapid response time to shopper and diner issues and celebrate locations with consistently positive reviews.

AI may make all these tasks easier, but not without some human management intervention. Local search is no longer just the responsibility of an IT department.

No one likes being ghosted. Responsive, engaged companies will ultimately stand out in search and consumer perception.

And, most important, that $2.4B loss will be what vanishes. Poof!

You can download the full report here.


Nancy A Shenker, senior editor with Street Fight, is a former big brand (Citibank, Mastercard, Reed Exhibitions) marketing strategist and leader. She has been featured in Inc.com, the New York Times and Forbes.