Customer Engagement Analysis

2023 NACo Achievement Award Winner

Montgomery County, Md., MD

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About the Program

Category: Community and Economic Development (Best in Category)

Year: 2023

Montgomery County (Maryland) Alcohol Beverage Services undertook a customer engagement analysis and outreach program based on one-on-one conversations with 125 license holders and facility managers in their own establishments. ABS recognizes that the hospitality industry has been hit especially hard by the pandemic and continues to struggle with supply chain disruptions, a labor shortage, inflation, and changed customer expectations for dining and entertainment. Because of this, ABS met license holders and facility managers where they were, both physically and conceptually, to assess evolving trends and needs as well as to provide information to the licensed establishments. Notably, many license holders responded that the personal visit was a big and important step in bolstering communications, even when they did not have particular concerns to report. Using a conversational approach with a trusted interviewer, ABS was able to extract meaningful data that would not be accessible through online surveys or public focus groups. The in-person visits helped to identify and update alcohol policy, trainings, and resources for licensees and their staff, and they confirmed that many of ABS’s health, safety, and compliance programs are working. ABS recognizes that a robust control system is the healthiest and safest model for communities and sees improvements to all aspects of its business model as a way of safeguarding the health and welfare of the community. In general, ABS learned from the customer engagement and outreach program that license holders make good use of the department’s two main teaching tools: the annual wall calendar and the twice-monthly regulatory training class. In addition, license holders are looking for enhanced customer service at the ABS retail stores and find their delivery drivers to be a key resource.