Transforming the Restaurant Experience With Contactless Messaging

Since the advent of COVID-19, many restaurants have felt the impact of quarantine and social distancing on their bottom line. In Canada, 53% of restaurants closed down their entire operation temporarily and 18% said their business would close down permanently in less than a month. For the restaurant industry as a whole, the ramifications have been devastating. 

However, with this devastation has come a new way of operating. Since the pandemic, restaurants have given birth to a new wave of innovative thinking that includes increased health and safety measures. Contactless messaging, specifically, has taken rise and proven to meet customer safety demands while streamlining restaurant operations.

In this article we will be taking a look at contactless messaging, a highly adopted communication tactic, it’s importance within the restaurant industry, and how you can leverage it to transform the dining experience to drive more direct business. 

The Importance of Contactless Messaging for Restaurants 

It goes without saying that the pandemic has significantly shifted the way restaurants operate and how customers interact. Where it was once commonplace to walk into an establishment and request a table, today there is a surge of health and safety measures that must be considered before accommodating a single customer. From maximum occupancy to table sanitation, and temperature checks, it’s important that restaurants are utilizing tools necessary to streamline the dining experience. 

Contactless messaging then becomes an efficient way to converse with the customer and set any expectations, without being in close proximity. Helping restaurants build relationships with customers, it allows the customer to send in questions, comments, and requests – where restaurants can then provide greater transparency from a distance. Further, if you are offering more then one channel, communication becomes convenient and much easier for the customer. With the Loop Experience Platform, the omni-channel approach is simplified with a smart inbox to centralize all your customer conversations. 

Contactless messaging also aids in streamlined operations. With effective communication, customers can book reservations with ease, while restaurants can follow up to confirm the reservation or cancel. This ensures occupancy requirements are met and that if a cancellation is made, restaurants are making the most of the space. 

Lastly, incorporating contactless messaging is the future of business operations. Today’s consumer leverages a handful of channels including SMS, Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp, so it has become critical to be readily available on the customer’s channel of choice for maximum adoption of your customer experience solution. In fact, many businesses have already started to incorporate these into everyday practices in order to follow the digital transformation. 

How Restaurants Can Leverage Contactless Messaging Throughout The Customer Journey

Throughout the customer journey, there are a number of touchpoints where a restaurant can leverage contactless messaging to strengthen customer relationships and streamline operations. Here we outline the top touchpoints and how to converse with the customer in a way that drives loyalty and keeps safety top of mind.   

Reservation Booking 

Reduce your call time and deter line-ups in-location by enabling reservation bookings via contactless messaging. Prompt customers to book reservations via live chat on your website, or direct customers to your reservations page during a text conversation. By providing the option of reservation booking in-conversation, you increase the chance of your customer visiting your restaurant and ensure a seamless booking experience.  

With that, we suggest pairing your reservations booking page with a web chat option. This prompts the customer to ask questions during their booking process, in case they wish to inquire about COVID procedures, dining rules, menu options and so on. By utilizing Chatbots, you can automate simple engagements to increase efficiencies in your workflow and maximize the touchpoint during the guest experience. 

“Hello Rachel, 

Thanks so much for showing interest in The Grand Restaurant. We’d be delighted to have you for a night of fine dining. 

To book your reservation, click here. 

Once your booking has been processed we’ll send you a follow up text message. 

We look forward to seeing you soon.”

 

Dine-In and Take-Out Reminders

If a customer has made a reservation or simply placed a take-out order, sending a reminder is a great way to ensure you’re maximizing your restaurant’s space and informing them of any procedures to take before showing up. By setting up automation rules, you can follow-up with these guests easily without interrupting the workers’ daily functions.

When sending your reminder, elevate the experience by personalizing their message and communicating on their channel of choice. Not only does this elevate service but it also ensures your operations run smoothly by confirming the customer will actually show up to their reservation or provide notice if they are unable to make it.

“Hello Molly, 

Thanks so much for booking your reservation with The Grand Restaurant, we’re looking forward to seeing you at 1:00PM, Tuesday October 3rd, 2020. If you have any questions regarding your booking feel free to respond to this text message or give us a call at (111)-111-1111. Further, if you would like to cancel your reservation click here. 

Your safety is a priority to us. To learn more about our COVID-19 procedures and the steps we’re taking to ensure your health and safety, please visit our website here: www.thegrandrestaurant.com.

We look forward to seeing you.”

 

Coordinate Curb-side Pick-Up’s

According to Adobe Analytics, curbside orders have increased 208% during the pandemic, and 59% of customers say they are more likely to continue to use curbside pickup after the pandemic. Posing as a fast and efficient means to offer food services without compromising social distancing, curb-side pickup is a great way to build a good report with your customers now and well after the pandemic. Offer curb-side pick-up options on your website via a pop-up webchat or bring up the option during a text conversation, however you chose to introduce the topic having the option will benefit you in the long run. 

In addition to ensuring your business is up and running again, curb-side pickup is a great long-term option that can help you maximize your business for the future. Social distancing and health standards aren’t going anywhere anytime soon. With curb-side pick-up you ensure that all audiences can access your dining services.  

Provide Contactless Payment

Today, businesses across the nation have started to reject cash payment and opt for a safer form of settlement. For customers who are looking for an entire contactless experience, offering contactless payment is a great start. In the form of in-dining tap card payment or take-out and delivery advanced payment online, having this option is a great way to show your priority to customer safety.

For those who are ordering take-out or delivery, it’s as simple as linking your online menu within the customer message. 

“Hello Chris, 

It’s great to hear that you are interested in ordering for curb-side pick-up. 

Click here to place your order.

We look forward to serving you”

Follow-Up Surveys 

Get to know your customers’ preferences while understanding the level of service you’re providing. With a simple follow up message you can prompt customers to fill out a survey or ask them to provide their feedback in the form of a comment. You can encourage a greater number of responses by sending the message on the channel of their choice, and personalize the message using their name. With a follow up message and survey it’s easy to gather actionable insight such as NPS, CSAT  and CES information using the Loop Experience Platform.

“Hello Michael, 

Thanks so much for choosing The Grand Restaurant for your anniversary dinner. Congratulations, we hope you enjoyed your meal! We’d greatly appreciate it if you could take a moment to rate your experience and provide any feedback you might have:

To fill out the survey, click here. 

If you have any comments regarding your experience with us or any questions regarding our COVID-19 procedures, feel free to reach out. 

We hope to see you again!”

 

Post-Dining Promotional Messages

For the customers who have opted-in for promotional or marketing messages, this is a great way to constantly stay in contact and prompt repeat visits. Most customers will appreciate discounted meals or information regarding updated menu items, so utilize your contact list to its full advantage by sending timely broadcast messages on the channel of their choice. 

“Hello Alyssa, 

We hope you’re enjoying your weekend! In honour of celebrating the holidays with our loved ones, The Grand Restaurant is offering a complimentary starter from November 1st to December 30th with the purchase of any entree.

Alyssa, to redeem your voucher, click here. 

For further details on redemption or to check out our safety measures in place for COVID-19, you can visit our website here:

We look forward to seeing you soon!”

 

Streamlining Contactless Messaging with a Modern Communication Platform

Leveraging contactless messaging clearly comes with its set of benefits. However, if you’re considering adopting channels such as Facebook Messenger, Text, or WhatsApp, navigating these new channels in addition to the ones you currently have can be daunting. If you’re thinking of broadening your channel’s scope, we recommend leveraging a modern customer experience platform, such as Loop. With a sophisticated solution, you can effortlessly manage a range of channels from a single smart inbox. Regardless if a customer decides to email you or send in a text inquiry, your employees can have a single view of all conversations and respond in real-time. What’s more, if the conversation is pressing, your employees have the ability to flag and escalate messages to senior management – providing the opportunity to de-escalate situations and recover customers. 

Adopting a modern customer experience platform is also essential to understanding trends and analytics of current and prospective customers. With a sophisticated solution, you’ll be able to see customer sentiment in real-time to better your service or offerings. In addition, you can witness trending topics and pivotal points during conversation. This can help in a myriad of ways, from tailoring your menu to better cater to customers, to adjusting service in order to enhance the overall customer experience. With a customer experience solution, you can obtain essential insight to propel your business in a way that customers favour. 

As new measures continue to arise it becomes critical that restaurants adapt and find ways to enhance their dining experience. Today, customers need peace of mind, in addition to superb service. With contactless messaging, you can provide both while improving your operations for the long-term.  

Get Started by learning more about the Loop Experience Platform. Contact one of our specialists today to see it in action!

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